Tips for remote working

Want to live, work & play around the world like a digital nomad?

As a traveling writer and Digital Nomad, I had over 15 years of experience with working remotely before Covid broke out. Now that almost anyone can work from home, a cafe, a co-working space, or a hammock in a tropical country, I’d like to share my tips so that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel.

Look at the world through somebody else's filter - Inspiration Shot

Why work remotely?

This way of location independent working is not just for when you are temporarily unable or not allowed to go to the office! It is also a way of focused working, gaining new inspiration, and optimizing your work-life balance. I have been living and working like this for almost 30 years, and I am grateful that Corona has given more and more people the opportunity to discover whether this lifesyle suits them.

Remote working is not a holiday

Many people think that renting a house in Spain for a month to work remotely, that is a kind of holiday: dining out every day, going for drinks, sightseeing and going out. I am sure this means having a great time, but it is difficult to combine with being productive during the day. So the challenge is to find a balance that can be maintained. If you find that, remote working can become a lifestyle rather than a ‘vacation in disguise’.

Choose a quiet place

It seems so much fun: working from a beach or next to the pool… But in reality, this is impossible: the sun will shine in your eyes and will reflect on your screen, you’ll find sand in your keyboard (and lots of other places…), there is too much light, noise, and distraction to be productive. So make sure you alternate – either work or relax – and don’t try to do it all at the same time. Personally, I am most productive in a working environment: a desk in my Airbnb, a cafe or co-working space, preferably with air conditioning when it’s hot. After a few hours of work, I alternate with relaxing in the city, on the beach, or in nature. That way I can enjoy both activities more.

Always check the internet speed!

When you ask an Airbnb host if the internet is fast enough, they often proudly say “we have the fastest internet in the country!” However, other countries often have different infrastructures. It happened to me often enough that “the fastest internet in the country” wasn’t enough to make a video call. So it’s smart to get a concrete answer: ask the host to do a speed test and send you the results in a screenshot. This way you know for sure whether you will be able to make your Zoom calls from that location.

Ensure a good ‘office’ setup

A laptop may be called a laptop, but working with that thing on your lap for more than half an hour is not good for your neck and back. Even on a table or desk, this does not promote good posture. It is important that you sit upright and that your screen is at eye level. That’s why I always have a platform for my laptop and an external keyboard and trackpad with me. In this way, I ensure a good work setup and posture wherever I am. It’s a nice feeling to have my entire ‘office’ in my backpack. My ‘platform’ is super light, easy to install, and it’s beautiful too. I get so many questions about the Nexstand, here is a link, so you can check it out and  purchase it at a discount if you think it could help you, too.

Tips for remote working

Meet inspiring people

When you go to a co-working space, you usually meet interesting new people. Who knows, you might even help each other! Most spontaneous encounters happen around the coffee machine or during lunch. Many co-working spaces facilitate these meetings even further by organizing drinks or other activities.

It can also be an idea to work from the office or location of a partner, customer, or supplier. This way, you’ll learn about the market, the culture, and working methods, which will benefit you in your collaboration.

Co-living / co-working

There are various concepts that combine travel and work. There are co-working retreats, for example for surfers, co-living locations, such as Outsite and Roam. You can also rent a place with a group of people and work from there. For a specific project, such as writing a book, a focus week or writing retreat is a great option to combine work and an exotic environment. My writing retreats are always in special locations, everything is taken care of, so that there are no distractions and the participants can focus completely on their book. It gives energy and motivation to spend time with like-minded people who are all doing the same thing.

Is remote right for you?

Remote working may now be ‘the new normal’ and have become extremely popular, but this lifestyle is not for everyone. You have to organize a lot of things you normally take for granted (such as good internet, a work setup, groceries, where to do your laundry etc), you have to constantly adapt, and be prepared for surprises. For some, that is too restless. To compensate, there is, of course, a lot of inspiration.

Check with yourself what makes you happy. Do you prefer to work in a fixed place? Don’t like having to arrange the basics again and again? Do you miss your regular colleagues and regular office routines? That’s fine too. Maybe life as a ‘digital nomad’ is not for you. Then just go on holiday every now and then and continue to work as you are used to.

But if you like variety, are a self-starter, and like to combine your work with new adventures, then location-independent work may be for you. Forever?

In short: do what you feel most comfortable with.

Want to become a digital nomad?

Do you see yourself live, work & play around the world as a location-independent entrepreneur?

  • Still have questions?
  • don’t know where to start?
  • want to meet like-minded people?

If you don’t want to reinvent the wheel, then these options may be for you:

  • In my Digital Nomads book you’ll find inspiring stories and tips from other nomads. It also contains lots of practical tips & information about the mindset, registration, setting up an international company, taxes, entrepreneurship, and much more.
  • Once every few months I organize an online Digital Nomad workshop. In advance, you will receive a couple of videos in which I discuss the most important topics (where to register and set up your company, what insurance to get, where to pay taxes, etc.). During the workshop you can ask all your remaining questions, we talk about your plans and you hear the experiences of other nomads.
  • I am also setting up a ‘One Year To Freedom’ program, where I help you step by step through this entire process, on the way to more freedom. Send me an email if you want to know more.
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