As 2020 showed us, way more jobs can be done remotely. It turned out that we continued on the 9-5 office grind just because it was considered the norm. While flexible hours are still being discussed (even though there are loads of benefits of flexible hours for both employer and employee), the move to telecommuting, remote-officing, working from home, or however you want to put it is real and it’s happening already. We just needed a little (or big) push to kickstart the transition to remote working.
While perhaps remote working isn’t suitable for every company, it is most likely that a continued increase in remote working and digital nomadism will happen. And in fact, the transition to remote working zeitgeist has already been in motion. New start-ups and smaller ventures are already going office-free. People are also increasingly leveraging their skills on the freelance market and thus making the transition to remote working from home or becoming a digital nomad.
Whether you have had a taste of remote working and you want more, or you have been confined to an office and you are dying to break free, perhaps it’s time that you take the dive. Here is how to transition to remote working, some of the benefits of remote working, and also how to make the change to becoming a full-fledged digital nomad.
Benefits of Remote Working
For some time people have been touting why it’s so great for both the employer and employee to work remotely but let’s check out what some of the reasons are that back these claims.
1. Increase Focus & Productivity
Working in an office can help to keep you accountable by preventing you from running personal errands, calling your friends and family, playing games on your phone, etc. but it can also provide extra distractions. These can include chats or even emails that turn into long conversations that may or mot not be work-related. A Stanford study even found a 13% increase in productivity of those working remotely!
2. Save Time & Money
Both employers and employees can save a lot of cash by working remotely. By removing the office, a big chunk of money spent on rent and utilities is freed up. And for employees, taking away the commute allows for more time to spend with friends and family and less money spent on gas or the commute in general, or the need to live in an expensive city for the job.
Everyone loves naps. If anyone doesn’t love naps they have obviously not had one. Okay, while they may not be for everyone, naps also have shown that they are good for our mind, body, and soul. Naps can improve cognitive performance, make you feel more rested, and put you in a better mood.
4. Expanded Job Market
If you work in a field that allows for remote working, there are not only more places where you can work, but also where you can apply for jobs as you are not tied to a physical location.
5. Improves Employee Retention
More and more employees are desiring an increased level of freedom. Employers can bring in top talent by giving them more autonomy and flexibility in where they work.
These are just a few of the benefits of remote working. So now if you feel that it could be for you, and you’re tired of the 9-5 office grind, let’s see how you can make it happen.
How to make the career switch to working as a digital nomad
Becoming a full-fledged digital nomad can seem like it’s more difficult than it actually is. For many, the thought of becoming a digital nomad seems exciting. Who wouldn’t want to call a bungalow in Chiang Mai or Bali their office? But it seems like it can only be an option for another lifetime. But that doesn’t have to be the case. While the path to switch to working as a digital nomad is different for each person, we will go through the general steps to follow. You may notice that you already accomplished a step or two, which is great! This means fewer things for you to deal with when making the switch.
First, there are some questions that you should ask yourself before you start the process of becoming a digital nomad. Which can help you to in the process when making the switch.
● Can I work remotely with my current job?
This may be a question you have already asked yourself, especially if you have yearned for a work life outside of the open office or cubicle. But if you haven’t it’s a great place to start. If there isn’t anything that keeps you in the office like certain tools that are required or the types of job that you have, then it could be easy for you to take your job on the road. The difficult part is discussing the transition with the company. You can find some templates and examples on how to ask your employer just that, here.
● What skills do I have or that I need that can translate to remote work?
If you already have the skills of the most popular remote jobs, great! But if you don’t, don’t fret! There are a wide variety of opportunities that you may find a matching skill, or you can learn the skills that are necessary. You can even learn while you are a digital nomad. Remote learning has never been more popular than now.
● Where do I want to go? What do I need to go there?
This is one of the most important questions that can set the roadmap for your future as a digital nomad. Before you set off you need to research the place or places that you would like to work and see the requirements to live and work there. These things can include vaccinations, taxes, visas, flights, availability of long-term accommodation, etc. And websites like Nomad List can help you understand how nomad-friendly certain places are. This leads us to the next question.
● What kind of lifestyle do I want to live?
Another important question is understanding how you want to live. Do you want to live lavishly in a beachside villa in Antigua, or do you want to rent a small apartment in Croatia? Will you work from “home”? Or will you pay for a coworking space? What is your budget? All these sorts of questions can help you understand which lifestyle you want to live as a digital nomad.
● Am I ready to become a digital nomad?
Most importantly, are you ready? This is a hard question. You might feel like you are ready to take on the world. But you also might have some serious doubts. But one thing is for sure, you will only know after you give it a try.
After taking some time to ask yourself questions and determining if transitioning to a digital nomad lifestyle is for you, it’s time to take action. Let’s check out the steps you need to take.
1. Join a digital nomad community
This is a great place to start. By joining a community (or multiple communities even!) you can ask any specific questions you may have. These may be about a certain location or topic or just to see if anyone wants to meet up! When you join a community, you are no longer alone. There is a wealth of advice that is available from people with loads of experience to help you.
2. Become a freelancer
If you’re not able to take your previous job with you on the road then it’s time to get started as a freelancer. By being a freelancer, it gives you the flexibility and freedom to work where you want, how you want, and when you want. After you have identified your skills, it’s time to put them into action. There are a few different ways to become a freelancer. You can leverage previous contacts that you made in your previous job and offer your skills, or you can use one of the many online platforms that are available. These include websites that offer individual jobs or long-term collaboration like Upwork and Fiverr. There are also job search websites like remoteOK that only post remote-only jobs.
3. Build your business
If you decide to start taking individual jobs then you will need to grow. This will come quite naturally as long as you are taking your work seriously. By successfully completing jobs and continuing to improve your skills, you can continue to grow your business. And you don’t have to be perfect either. You will make mistakes. It’s important that you learn from them. This is also when it can be a good time to be a part of a community that can help you out along the way.
4. Make a plan and stick to it
An important thing to remember is that while you may be traveling to beautiful locations, you will still need to work! As a digital nomad, you should set goals and make sure to stick to them. Depending on the work you do, you may have little or no oversight. So make a to-do list, and make sure to do it all! Additionally, you need to be clear to yourself on what you want, how you want to do it, where you want to go, etc. While “nomad” may entail a wandering sort, it’s much better to have a clear idea in your head of your short-term goals both with respect to your career and lifestyle.
5. Take the plunge!
It’s hard to know everything before you go. And while becoming a digital nomad may be easier than you think, it still requires significant work. But you too can become a digital nomad if you start working towards that goal with these tips in mind.
How to Smoothly Transition to Remote Working
Whether you will be working from home or working as a digital nomad, here are some things that you should do to smoothly transition to remote working.
1. Mentally prepare yourself
It’s going to be different, much different. It’s not the same as the office, but it’s not a vacation either. You may consider starting to work remotely only part-time and set your expectations accordingly.
2. Set your work schedule (and breaks)
As you don’t have the same level of accountability that you do in the office, it’s necessary that you make your schedule and keep to it. Keep a structured day and don’t forget your breaks.
3. Avoid cabin fever
It can be too easy to not ever leave your home when working remotely. Go take a walk or even make a fake commute. Your body will definitely thank you.
4. Learn about the tools you will need and use them effectively
There are loads of tools that help productivity and communication in the workplace like Slack, Toggl, Salesforce, Zoom, etc. Understand these tools, it will make your life much easier.
5. Communicate well with your team
Don’t keep to yourself. Clear communication is more important than ever when working remotely. This is where the aforementioned tools can play a key role.
6. Maintain a work-life balance.
It can be easy to not fully ever leave the office if the office is your home. After work hours, separate yourself from the job. Turn off notifications, and let your team know that you aren’t available 24/7. But also, avoid the temptations that lurk at home during work hours: Netflix, a cozy bed, or your family in the next room.
Whether it’s the benefits of working remotely either from home or as a digital nomad, or just the desire to work somewhere else besides an office, making the transition to remote working (successfully) is more than just not showing up to the office anymore. You should try to make it clear to yourself what you expect and what you hope to achieve. The goals for working at home or as a digital nomad can vary greatly. But either way, you should make a plan, set your goals, and then follow through.