remote working

  • How to become a digital nomad

    The 2020 pandemic-that-shall-not-be-named forced businesses all around the world to take their teams remote where they could, and while some countries tentatively step back into some kind of normal, the success that many businesses have found with remote working may mean it’s here to stay. Indeed, companies like Microsoft, Facebook and Shopify have already made the change permanent.

    This presents a great opportunity for aspiring digital nomads to take the bull by the horns (or, say, the camper van by the steering wheel), and work on the road. Sure, international borders aren’t all open yet, but many countries around the world, including the UAE, Estonia, Croatia and Dominica are prepping for the uptake in remote workers with tantalising visa options.

    While working from anywhere in the world sounds like a dream, digital nomad life takes *SO* much discipline – namely sticking to a working routine that allows for regular income and ensures you maintain the work-mode/holiday-mode balance. What happens when you want to take the leap of faith, but also want to keep the job you love? Given the increased willingness managers have to let their staff work remotely, there’s a chance you may be able to get the best of both worlds. Here are some tips to help you with the buy-in.

    Step 1: Is your career even suited to nomad life?

    Sure, you could work remotely for the better part of last year, but is it sustainable for the job you’re in? If your job is in sales, for example, can you build and maintain trusted relationships with clients on the road, or is there more success to be had in face-to-face interactions?

    A good way to work this out is to start with a list. Write down your key roles and responsibilities. Next to each, state whether you’d have the resources to still complete these tasks if you worked remotely – be it at home or on the other side of the world. Do you have access to company emails? Do you have all the software needed to do your job? Are clients comfortable with video call consultations?

    Step 2: Negotiate remote working

    It’s far easier to switch to the digital nomad life if you could keep the job you have, so before you have The Talk with your manager, there’s a few things to think about. Firstly, step into your boss’ shoes. What concerns, if any, would they have about you being able to do your job? Anticipate what your manager might worry about and be ready with solutions for those challenges. For example, if you want to move to a different time zone, have a plan of how you intend to work the same working hours, if it’s necessary to do so. Planning solutions also demonstrates how carefully you’re considering the shift and how much you’d like to stay with the company (retention is always a win).

    Also, don’t be afraid to cite your performance (which is awesome, obvs) as an argument in your favour. It’s *SO* much easier to negotiate if you can demonstrate that you’re damn good at what you do. The sooner you have this convo with your boss, the better, so you have plenty of time to sit and plan together.

    Step 3: Ace your base

    Once you’ve mapped out what your role will look like in a full-time remote situation, it’s time to consider the place/s you’d like to work from. Whether you’re looking to move to another place for an extended time or be on the move more regularly, make sure that wherever you end up has good phone and internet connection.

    It may help to seek out co-working spaces in places you’re looking at, or at least research the internet//phone connectivity so that you are confident you can do your job while on the road.

    Step 4: Test it out

    If you/your manager needs further convincing that working remotely will actually work, see if you can arrange a trial run first. Try working remotely for a month or two to test out your nomad plan and iron out any other bumps that you might not have thought of at the start. Most importantly, a trial run will help you work out if you’re fully committed to the digital nomad life.

    Photo by Alizée Baudez on Unsplash

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