What could be better than trading in the view of a cubicle wall and artificial ficus plant for a white sandy beach and blue skies? This is why so many professionals are choosing to forgo the office life in order to work remotely from around the world. And can we blame them?
But it’s not all roses (or palm trees). While you may leave the fluorescent lights and office gossip behind you, working remotely abroad can come with its own set of challenges — which is why it’s best to do some research in advance so you don’t run into any unexpected problems.
If you’re considering working remotely abroad or you’ve already jetted off, we’ve compiled this list of 15 tips to help you succeed.
1. Get permission from your employer
Unless you’re a freelancer or you work for yourself, one of the first steps to working abroad (and ensuring you keep your job) is to get permission from your employer. Just because your current role is home-based, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have permission from your employer to work in other countries, so make sure to always check this before making any plans.
2. Research destinations
Choosing where to work remotely is not like choosing a destination to travel. There are other aspects that you’ll need to consider, like safety, cost of living and whether there are adequate facilities where you can work. If you’re working remotely abroad for the first time, you may want to look into digital nomad hubs, which are destinations around the world that that are particularly well-suited to remote workers.
3. Understand local visas and taxes
Although visas and taxes aren’t the most exciting topics when you’re planning to work remotely around the world, they are some of the most important. The last thing you want are any legal issues for not complying with local visa or tax laws. Therefore, before embarking, it’s a good idea to speak to your HR and legal departments to ensure you have the appropriate visa (if required) and that you understand local taxes.
4. Stick to a routine
Even though you’re in a different location, it’s important to stick to a routine. This will help you stay productive, manage your time and reduce stress. By waking up, exercising, eating and working at the same time each day, you form good habits and ensure you use your time effectively.
5. Ensure you have a stable internet connection
When it comes to working remotely, a stable and reliable internet connection is one of the most essential components. And while this may be a given when you’re working from home, it may be harder to come by when in different locations around the world. Therefore, before booking accommodation, ensure there is reliable internet. You can even request they show you an internet speed test to be sure it meets the bandwidth requirements that you need for your job.
6. Learn the local customs
Just like when traveling, it’s important to learn the local languages and customs of the country you’ll be working in. Even if you’re only planning to be there for a couple months, learning a few phrases in the local language so you’re able to hold a basic conversation will make a good impression on the locals — and help you integrate and feel more comfortable.
7. Stay connected with colleagues
Even if you’re physically apart from your colleagues, staying connected and communicating with them is still vital for effective collaboration and teamwork. So, when working in a different time zone, try to ensure an overlap of at least 1–2 working hours with your colleagues in order to have synchronous communication. Even if you aren’t working on a project together, scheduling a virtual coffee meet-up can help you feel more connected to the wider organization and stay in the loop.
8. Consider a coworking space
A coworking space is a shared office space for digital nomads, remote workers, soloprenueurs or small teams. Many remote workers abroad find them beneficial for various reasons. Not only can you rely on coworking spaces to have a stable internet connection and a desk to work from, but it’s also an opportunity to meet other workers in similar situations.
9. Create a budget
For some, working remotely around the world means their expenses will be higher; for others, it they may be lower. It really depends on the individual and the location. However, while you may choose a destination where the cost of living is lower, additional expenses such as flights, experiences and weekend trips, can quickly add up. Therefore, it is important to create a budget in advance so that you don’t lose track of your finances.
10. Connect with others
Although working remotely around the world can be exciting, traveling alone can also run the risk of loneliness and isolation. But the internet offers plenty of opportunities to meet expats and locals alike. Websites, such as Facebook Groups or Meetup, provide a chance for anyone new to an area to attend events and meet others.
11. Don’t rush to different locations
It can be tempting to want to see as many different countries as you can. However, it’s advisable to stay at least a month in each location. Since you’re also working, it’s important to maintain some stability. And it could quickly become tiresome if you’re so frequently having to adjust to a new city or country.
12. Consider insurance
When traveling abroad, things can happen. Belongings can get lost or stolen. And in the worst case, people can get sick or injured. This is why it’s a good idea to be prepared for anything and just have that little peace of mind while working abroad. Ensure that your healthcare is covered while abroad, either through your current plan or an additional health insurance provider. There are also insurance plans specific for digital nomads, such as SafetyWing and World Nomads, that may be more suitable depending on your individual situation.
13. Stay healthy
It’s easy to have your typical fitness, diet and sleep routines thrown off. However, working abroad doesn’t mean you should neglect your health — particularly if you don’t want to risk illness impeding on your travel plans. Sleeping 7–8 hours a night, working out throughout the week and preparing your own healthy meals will go a long way. Even if you don’t have a gym membership, doing home workouts or jogging outside are easy ways to get in some exercise throughout the day.
14. Remember that it’s not vacation
It’s often the case that people move abroad to work remotely and quickly realize they spend all their time working and don’t have enough time to travel. It’s important to remember from the get-go that working abroad is not a vacation, and you’ll still have to schedule time off for leisure. Therefore, if you’re looking to spend more time traveling, perhaps working a part-time schedule or even taking a sabbatical or extended leave is a better option.
15. Set boundaries
You may think that working in a different time zone than the rest of your team means that you need to be online and available at all times. However, this is a surefire way to get burned out. We all need boundaries between work and leisure, and time to unplug. So, speak to your boss in advance and arrange working hours that work for everyone so you can maintain a healthy work-life balance.
With the rise in remote work and technology that enables workers to get their jobs done from anywhere, many workers are wondering why they’re limiting themselves to the confines of their home. As opposed to using up their vacation days to visit other places, they want to be able to do it while on the clock.
So, if you’re considering working remotely around the world, it can be an exciting and one-of-a-kind experience. However, it shouldn’t be decided on a whim and will take some planning.
The most important things to remember when planning to work remotely abroad are:
- Research visa laws, taxes, and insurance in advance.
- Stick to a daily routine to maintain productivity and healthy habits.
- Make an effort to stay connected to others.
With the 15 steps above, you’re well on your way to ensuring you have your ducks in a row when making plans to work remotely around the world. Now, bon voyage!
Got a question, or want to share your own tried-and-tested tips for working remotely when traveling? Let us know in the comments section below.