Setting Your Expectations To Work Remotely Around The World
Heather Markel, Full Time Travel and Business Coach, Speaker, Traveler
Being a digital nomad or working remotely sounds like a dream. You plan to bring your laptop and make the world your office. Today, perhaps the beach, tomorrow a trendy cafe, and perhaps a terrace with a beautiful view later this week. Sounds amazing. But, there are a few things you should prepare for. The laptop lifestyle comes with it’s challenges. Here are a few things to prepare for if you’re planning to embark soon.
1. Work Life Balance Is Still A Struggle
While you may dream of seeing lots of sites, it’s very easy to experience weeks go by where you spent so much time working you didn’t get to enjoy your environment. The thing you want to avoid is traveling the world and only seeing the walls of your accommodation or workspace because you didn’t create the space to get out of it.
If you’re working remotely then it’s essential that you speak with your employer before you go. They rely on you to deliver results, and you expect to have an important life experience. The key is to see if you can reach an agreement that works for both of you.
One part of the discussion may be potential legal and tax issues that your company has to mitigate with you working in different countries. This could, potentially, limit the countries you can work from.
2. Time May Get On Your Nerves
One of the biggest challenges you may face, depending where you travel, is a different time zone. If your employer expects you to make a daily call at 9am, and that becomes 3am for you, are you willing to shift your awake hours to make the call? If not, you’ll have to reconsider where you travel to so you stay within a specific time zone.
3. WiFi Is A Bleeping Pain In The A$$
Connectivity is the bane of any remote worker/digital nomad’s daily life. Remember that wonderful cafe you planned to work in? The bandwidth of their WiFi may be slow and low and when shared with all the other folks using their phone you’ll be lucky if you can log on to a company website, and there’s little chance you can make a videoconference.
Thinking of tethering through your phone? It’s unlikely you’ll find 5G/LTE service in many places in the world, and if you’re in a remote town, your signal strength may give you an experience akin to dial-up.
As a blogger, I have, at times, spent upwards of 30 minutes uploading images, even when they are compressed.
If you need good connectivity you’ll want to either research accommodation by WiFi availability, call the property owner to confirm if it’s an individual connection, or consider proximity to a co-working space to make sure you can get your work done.
4. You May Feel Judged
If you’re working remotely for a company, you may, possibly, receive judgment from coworkers who remain in the office, or in their home. They may presume that since you’re globetrotting and they see photos of you having a blast at various tourist destinations, you aren’t getting any work done. You may have to either work hard to prove how much value you bring to your team, or develop a thicker skin to some of the comments. Or, potentially, encourage your teammates to join you for the adventure!
5. You May Feel Lonely
This will hit you more if you’re traveling solo, but can impact couples as well. Especially if you have a core set of friends, and end up in a place where you know no one. If you’re indoors, alone, a lot of the time, you may find dinner is the only time you get out, and have to contend with dining alone. I suggest that you do it. I’ve met more new friends by eating out alone than many other activities. Also, get out on weekends, and try to do a local activity or tour to meet other people.
Ironically, if you do go out, you’re likely to find it’s hard to stay alone. Around the world, I’ve been invited to join people at their table when they realize I’m on my own. I’m still in touch with many of the wonderful people I’ve met this way. I wrote a collaborative article about some of the magic experiences women, especially, have had while dining alone and traveling.
Make sure you don’t spend all your free time on video chats with people back home. Especially if you’ve been couped up in the pandemic, getting out and meeting people locally and seeing them in person is essential to your experience.
Making the world your office is extremely rewarding, as long as you plan it out well, and work for a company willing and able to support your desired lifestyle. Got questions? Let’s chat!