You might be dreaming of being in a Zoom meeting while looking out over a sun-kissed beach and an azure tropical sea; or answering emails from the comfort of a hammock. But while technology has made working while travelling possible, it isn’t always easy earning a living while discovering the world. Many people have now become digital nomads, but while it sounds glamorous, if you wish to join them, you’ll need to prepare. Here are 5 top tips for remote working while travelling.
Take the right hardware
You can’t just take your clothes, money and your passport, you’ll need to take the things that make working possible. Get a laptop that is lightweight with a slim sleeve to protect it – nothing kills the buzz of travelling more than paying excess baggage charges. Keep the sleeve simple to avoid the attention of thieves. A universal power adaptor is a must, no point taking a laptop abroad if you can’t power it; take a portable power bank too for when there is no access to a power source. Top up the charge often and you should have plenty of juice for your device. Invest in a pair of noise-cancelling headphones, perfect for video meetings and for working in places where the noise level is loud! Carry a tiny, foldable laptop stand to elevate your screen and stop you needing to visit a chiropractor. Lastly, don’t go anywhere without a notebook and pen. There will be times when you just cannot get on the internet or your laptop decides to take a holiday. Pen and notepad will let you write down thoughts and ideas and remind you of tasks you need to complete.
Use the right software
Having all the right hardware is a great start, but remember you need to get great-performing software too. You’ll need software that will maximise your productivity with a secure and reliable system, helping you perform to the best of your ability. Remember, finding good tech support can be difficult in some parts of the world. VPN (virtual private network) software is advisable, it will add a layer of security, lessen the threats posed by hackers and can also encrypt your internet use. You’ll need to communicate and collaborate with your co-workers at home, so make sure you have suitable apps. For video communication, Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Skype for business are great apps, and Zoom offers an impressive free version, albeit with a time limit. There are also plenty of apps to meet your collaboration needs – Google Drive for file management and Trello for project management for example. It’s vital you use cloud-based software so you can safely store your files and documents when you need them, at any time and in any place. You can find the right software for your business and compare different apps here https://www.saasgenius.com/.
Understand and use the time difference wisely
Make sure you are always aware of the time differences between where you and your work are. If you’ve just had a brilliant idea you want to share with your colleagues or want to make an elevator pitch to a client, calling them at 3 a.m. their time is not a good strategy for success! You can download a simple app on your smartphone to keep track or best of all, let a tool like World Time Buddy take the strain – this is a clock, a time zone converter and an online meeting scheduler all in one. Once you get your head around time differences, you can strategize them to your advantage. If you want to spend your days out, then work from a country where your company’s working hours fall early in the morning or in the evening in your time zone.
Plan ahead for internet connectivity
If you can’t sort reliable and high-speed internet connection where you are going then you can forget about remote working. Avoid disappointment (and getting fired!) by researching the internet facilities where you are heading to and be aware that while they might be good in one part of that country they may be lousy elsewhere. WiFi speeds will dictate how quickly you can send files, download documents and get emails, and if the Zoom meeting you have called cuts out because it has started raining, it won’t go down well with your co-workers or your clients. Try and get a hotel with free WiFi and look for locations with coworking spaces in advance of travelling. There will be times when you definitely won’t have any internet connection, for example when you are actually travelling, so work smart. Pre-write emails, reports and notes and save them on your lap top when on the move, then when you arrive and get back online, send them on!
Make a work schedule and stick to it
Remember why you are doing this. You are looking to experience different countries and enjoy yourself; if you are glued to your screen 24/7, you might as well stay at home and watch some documentaries on Netflix or National Geographic! So, unless you’ve got a deadline that can’t be missed, set your work hours rigidly and stick to them. Be honest with your co-workers, agree deadlines and make sure you deliver on what you promise. Respect their working hours and they’ll respect yours too. Work hard; but enjoy your surroundings and make sure you look after your health and stay safe.