Oftentimes, we’re so focused on getting a job that we forget about the other important logistics that are needed to work remotely. We wish it was as easy as finding a job, booking a flight, and hitting the ground running. But there’s a bit more preparation that is needed. As two surfing nomads who have run the gauntlet, we’ve put together a few tips to help you prepare to work remotely.
The world has developed to allow for remote work – almost overnight. This means that a little bit of thought can go a long way in preparing the situation. Even before you’ve chosen your destination, it’s important to iron out the kinks and enable yourself to be remote.
Feel like you’ve missed a few steps? Catch up on previous blogs here:
- How to convert your job to working remotely
- Make money and travel with these digital nomad professions
- Tips to apply for a remote job
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Applications to Help with Remote Work
When you’re working remotely, technology can be your best friend. Especially if you’re working with a team that you need to consolidate, communicate and collaborate with. Here are a few applications that we downloaded to help streamline our remote capabilities. Some of them only work if you’re connected with your teammates, others work wonders on their own.
The beauty of Skype is that you can get an international number and make calls without the extravagant fees. You simply buy an international number and use it as a telephone. Although, the most conventional use of Skype, and the one that you may be more familiar with, is to have video calls and instant message team members.
Depending on how many members of your team work remotely, Slack could be a good investment for the business. There’s a free version as well which allows for different channels where you can group topics of interest. Instant messaging is also available and the application works as a great alternative to water-cooler conversation. It can also be downloaded on mobile and desktop.
Microsoft Teams is another useful tool if more than one member of the team works remotely. Instant messaging, video calls, and document sharing are all available on this platform, plus they have a cloud storage facility. As with the other communication applications, this can be downloaded to desktop or mobile.
This is fantastic for project management when people are working across different time zones, collating all tasks and updates in a single place, with the option to assign to teammates. Asana is useful in providing a holistic overview of the status of a project.
This is essential if working with a team that falls into another time zone. I usually set my Apple watch to show the local time as well as the home time of where my team is based. Knowing the time of your colleagues will prevent any annoying messages after work hours, and will help you lean into the most productive times at a glance.
Nomad Travel Tools
This is a very useful tool built and executed by our very own Ollie. Nomad Travel Tools tells you everything that you need to know before moving to a city to work. Some of the key features include:
- Overview of city comparison
- Detailed city view
- Time Zone overlap and difference
- Internet speeds
- Cost of living
- Currency converter
- Peer reviews
- Vis information
- Coworking spaces
- Accommodation options
A VPN is very useful when traveling and working for a number of reasons. It allows you to work securely, keep your connection private, gain access to geo-blocked websites and change your IP address when needed.
We use and recommend ExpressVPN. It offers access to 3,000 + servers in 94 countries and 160 locations, allowing up to five simultaneous connections.
Whether you’re working for another company or as a freelancer with a client base, communication is going to be your number one priority. It’s important to make sure that you’ve set up to maintain communications while you’re working remotely.
There are several ways to do this. You can suggest a messaging app and keep all communication on one platform, or you can keep your WhatsApp number and blur the boundaries between online and offline communications.
Getting a global number will be especially useful if you need to make calls. As mentioned earlier, we suggest getting a Skype number that allows international calls to be made. We’d also recommend that you get a local SIM card when you arrive at your new destination – but more on that later.
If you already know where you’ll be going, then you can begin planning for any time zone difference. This is important as the overlap is essential if you’re working as a team. This needs to be communicated with your team. You may need to make compromises along the way so that you can maintain contact.
Invest In the Necessary Gadgets
When you work in an office, you have everything that you need at your fingertips. Laptop, monitor, mouse, coffee, WiFi…
If you’re lucky, your company will provide some of these essentials for you. However, in most instances, venturing off on your own will require a bit of an investment in order to maintain the same high level of productivity.
We recommend investing in the following gadgets as essential for productive work.
- Mobile hotspot for maintained internet connectivity
- Noise-canceling earphones for the many hours spent in bustling coffee shops and coworking spaces
- Travel backpack to keep all your work essentials in one place when moving from point A to point B
- VPN subscription to secure connectivity and bypass geographic restrictions
- Power bank to ensure your phone is continuously charged and ready
- Portable laptop stand to help with the ergonomic factor of working at different desks and tables
- Portable monitor which is a GAME CHANGER in productivity
- Hard drive to serve as your remote server and backup
Of course, each area of occupation will have different needs so the above list may need to be tweaked or added to depending on what your output expectations are for your job.
Have Final Update Meetings With Your Employer
This is an easy step to overlook or play badly. If your employer is letting you work remotely in an overseas location then you’ll need to make sure that you run all updates with them. This includes choosing a destination, adjusting work hours, determining platforms for communication, and how your work will be executed.
Before you leave, you’ll need to have a final consolidation meeting with your employer to serve as a handover of sorts. Rather overshare than lead them to think you’re taking liberties.
Prepare for Remote Work Without a Hitch
These are just a few considerations to help you to prepare for remote work. These steps can be taken in a different order, but each should be considered before taking the trip.