Even as many offices start to reopen, remote work isn’t going anywhere as companies like Spotify, Twitter and Salesforce have told employees they can work remotely forever, if they choose.
54% of people said they want to work from home after the pandemic ends, according to a Pew Research survey conducted at the end of 2020 , while over half of employees surveyed by PwC at the start of this year, said they want to be remote at least three times a week once Covid-19 concerns ease.
These long-term trends seem likely to inspire a surge of so-called digital nomads, or those who travel while working remotely. For some millennials, this lifestyle has been their routine for years before the pandemic upended many of our work routines.
Here are 7 lessons from experienced digital nomads for adapting to this new lifestyle.
Spend at least one month in each location
While it sounds exciting to cross off all the destinations you’ve ever wanted to visit, don’t fall into the trap of rushing from place to place. Staying at least one month in each destination will add stability to your routine and allow you to experience a place beyond a tourist’s perspective.
“I find it the easiest to work when I’m in flow and have stability,” said Ashleigh Ramshaw, an online mindset and business coach for coaches. The U.K. national spends as much as six months in a place before she moves onto a new location. She’s spent time living and working from Bali, Costa Rica and is currently in Mexico.
“While it’s amazing I can travel wherever I want with my work, it’s important to have somewhere to call home for just a little while before you move on to the next place,” she said.
Join a co-working space
Even if you’re an introvert by nature, a co-working space can provide many benefits, including fast internet connections, a physical workspace and a community of other individuals who are also working.
Being a digital nomad can feel isolating at times, particularly if you’re surrounded by tourists.
“Just because you don’t have to get out of bed is not a reason to work from bed,” says Lindsay Maisel, an American freelance industrial designer who has worked from France, Thailand and Costa Rica. “The commute may be gone, but mentally (and physically) you need to go somewhere else to work.”
Maisel often sets aside $200 to $400 per month in her budget to pay for a co-working space. While many coworking spaces closed at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, Maisel noted she’s now seen many reopen with safety measures in place.
Use apps to meet new people
It’s never been easier to find like-minded people in any location around the world because of social media platforms.
Facebook hosts groups of communities of people living or working in different cities. In some of these groups, people often post about housing options and social meetups. These groups can be helpful to understand daily life in a new place.
Glenn Emery, an American financial analyst for Exploding Kittens, an LA-based entertainment company, said he used Facebook groups wherever he travels. “I met people and we ended up carpooling to hiking trails and talked the whole ride,” he said. “I still keep in touch with the group through Instagram and Facebook.”
Emery, who has worked remotely in Southeast Asia, Mexico and Hawaii, is also an avid user of the apps Tinder and Bumble to meet people for dating and friendship. “I ask people out to coffee or for a hike and it generally turns into a friendship,” he said.
“It’s great to learn more about a culture or place from people actually living there.”
Sign up for ‘Nomad Insurance’
Being stuck with a large medical bill in a foreign country can cause emotional and financial stress, which is why William Griffin, a sales coach for coaches, advocates people get ‘nomad insurance’ which typically covers people while traveling outside of their home country.
Griffin, who’s worked from the U.S., India and Europe said his insurance provider of choice is SafetyWing, where he pays $40 per month and is covered for up to $250,000.
Other insurance providers geared at long-term travelers include WorldNomads and IntegraGlobal.
Set boundaries with your boss or clients
What will you do when you get a calendar invite for 3 a.m. in your time zone?
“There’s something really important about closing down your computer and walking away from the job at the end of the work day,” said Maisel, the freelance industrial designer.
She advised setting boundaries with clients or managers to establish expectations.
“Time zone differences can be crippling to your lifestyle and create restless nights,” she said. “Let your clients or managers know what hours you are reasonably willing to take calls or meetings.”
“At the same time, it can be a compromise you have to be willing to make so you can effectively manage your work while also getting to travel,” she added.
Get multiple debit and credit cards
Griffin remembers too many times he’s forgotten to take his debit card out of an ATM while travelling. “Nothing is worse than losing your bank card when abroad,” he said. “I had to learn this the hard way.”
In some countries where cash is prevalent and credit card options not often available, this can cause a lot of stress.
Griffin now carries at least three different cards to avoid the stress of needing to call banks with hopes that they can ship internationally.
Commit to mental and physical daily routines
While travelling and experiencing a new place often draws a lot of initial excitement, being away from your usual routine and community can be challenging, too.
“Managing your own business or answering to your boss whilst not having one actual place to call home can actually be very isolating,” Ramshaw, the mindset and business coach, said. “I personally stay committed to my morning routine, which includes a workout and daily meditation, to keep my vibe and energy up.”
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