If you’ve ever caught yourself gazing out of your grimy office window dreaming of working somewhere, anywhere, else… preferably under a palm tree on a beach, or surrounded by snowy pistes and peaks in your favorite ski resort, read on.
Not so long ago, the idea of mixing work with travel seemed ludicrous to the majority of office-based workers. It was a pipe dream.
Then along came the technological revolution.
Over the past 10-15 years, the world of work and study has been transformed. Aided by smartphones, mobile devices, WiFi, productivity apps, and the ability to tether from 3G and 4G connections, working remotely is no longer a distant dream.
It’s real. And it’s happening.
The number of remote workers in the US increased from 39% to 43% between 2012 and 2016, according to Gallup.
And a 2017 report by FlexJobs found that 3.9 million U.S. employees, or 2.9% of the total U.S. workforce, work remotely at least half of the time. This is up from 1.8 million in 2005 and represents a 115% increase over 12 years.
In its 2018 update, FlexJobs found that:
- 100% telecommuting is the most in-demand type of flexible work arrangement (80%), followed by flexible schedules (71%).
- Of those who telecommuted in 2017, 22% telecommuted more this year than last year.
- 97% are interested in being a flexible worker in the long term.
Working from home is one thing, but flexible workers are now choosing to take this trend several steps further by blending work with their love of travel.
Digital Nomads are on the Rise
It was once the path less traveled. But now the digital nomad lifestyle is on the rise.
Digital nomads work, earn and even grow a business on the move. They take full advantage of mobile technology and wireless connectivity to work from virtually anywhere, combining flexible work with travel and the opportunity to explore while continuing to make a living.
Millions of working people now refer to themselves as digital nomads. In the 2018 MBO Partners State of Independence Research Brief, 4.8 million Americans identified as a digital nomad — and that trend is expected to continue rising.
Why? Because not only has technology transformed the way people work, and made it possible for people to enjoy greater flexibility and work/life balance, there is also growing acceptance for this style of working.
What’s more, there is now a vast array of tools, apps, products and services that help people work more flexibly and make it easier to run a business while on the move.
Tips and Tools for Remote Workers
Collaboration tools like Asana and Trello for project management, Slack for team chat, Skype and Zoom for video calls, Google Drive for file sharing, and Dropbox for online storage, make it a breeze to stay connected with clients and coworkers while working remotely.
For small business owners looking to set the right impression while working from anywhere, a virtual office helps your company stay ‘grounded’. That means you can maintain a business address in the location of your choice, which can be used as part of your business setup and licensing, and it can also be used as a place to receive and handle mail.
Some virtual office centers now offer digital mail scanning services too. This is handy for remote workers and digital nomads who need to know what mail they’re getting, without having to collect it in person.
Live receptionist services are also a boon for travel-hungry entrepreneurs. This means that regardless of your time zone, your clients and callers will still receive a good level of customer service thanks to your virtual receptionist. Typically these services include live call answering, taking messages, dealing with basic inquiries, capturing leads, and scheduling appointments.
Now you know some insider secrets to help you work productively, here’s a rundown of some of the top resources you’ll need while you’re out and about.
- Destination Guides: Top of the list is an information-packed site called Nomad List. It’s an excellent resource that offers detailed insights on local cost of living, places to eat and stay, safety, and much more. Also check out The Web Work Travel Guide, Wiki Voyage, Travelfish, and Bridges & Balloons.
- Cost of Living: Numbeo is the best number-cruncher for cost of living, while Expatistan is another great resource that compares the cost of living between two cities.
- Travel and Transport: For flights, online flight comparison tools like Kayak, Sky Scanner, and Google can help you find low-cost flights faster. For general advice on getting around, Rome 2 Rio is a handy resource that covers everything from flights to local taxi companies.
- Accommodation: Agoda, Airbnb, Roomorama, Tripping.com, Hotel By Month, and Nomad House all offer rooms for short or long stays. Hostel World and All The Rooms offer a room search service, scanning all major travel websites worldwide. Be sure to check out what others think of your accommodation choices on Trip Advisor.
- Jobs and Gigs: Check out freelancing sites like People Per Hour, Upwork, Freelancer and Guru. There are also specialist sites like Toptal, which focus on highly skilled individuals with a specific level of experience in their field.
If you’re looking for inspiration, or even a change of pace from your current employment, here are some of the most common remote jobs that can be carried out virtually anywhere:
- Virtual assistant
- Programmer / Developer
- Freelance writer / Editor
- Graphic designer
- Customer support
- SEO specialist
- Business analyst
- Social media manager
- Web designer
- Online teacher or tutor
- Data entry
- Quality assurance
- Travel agent
We have technology to thank for our ability to simultaneously work and wander. Whether you want to explore to your heart’s content by day and earn revenue by night, or retreat to a WiFi-enabled beauty spot to catch up on some much-needed R&R while keeping your business ticking over, the choice is yours, and you can now carry on ‘business as usual’ from just about anywhere.