OK, so you’ve got permission to work from anywhere and you’re ready to buy a ticket to somewhere but what do you really need to know to make a success of this?
We’ve got some essential tips on how to work remote from another country that will ensure that you’re happy, your boss is happy and so are your colleagues.
For the purposes of this article, we are assuming that you’re working as a “digital nomad” and that means you’re only passing through a place for a few days, weeks or months rather than moving there full-time.
Set, Communicate And Stick To A Schedule
This is the number one thing to get right. We’ve highlighted communication as the number one challenge facing remote workers and this is going to be doubly true if you’re in another country.
Get out in front of this and make sure to own the basics from day one.
Make sure the whole team knows and understands when you will be available and when you won’t and how they can contact you.
And make sure you stick to this, we know how tempting it is to cut off early and go for beers at a local watering hole or visit the museum that you really want to see but if you start doing this – your team will notice and they will start to resent you.
Over-Communicate With Colleagues
Seriously, we won’t harp on about communication all the way through this article but, it really does matter.
The more you get out in front of this and communicate more than you would face-to-face and earlier than you would face-to-face, the easier it is for everybody to be on the same page.
It’s really frustrating for other people to want to be able to help and support you but they don’t know what you need. Make it simple for them and for yourself.
Pack For Success
You must ensure that you take the tools of your trade with you (that’s a laptop, mouse, keyboard, stand, etc.) and that you know where you can buy replacements if they get lost, damaged, etc.
You are responsible for being ready for work and while your colleagues may have sympathy if you get mugged at an airport, they will be less sympathetic if it takes you 3 weeks to replace your lost equipment.
Be Prepared To Minimize Distractions
You probably can’t make your home office soundproof when you don’t own the place but you can ensure that you’ve packed a solid pair of noise-cancelling headphones.
You can also make sure that wherever you’re renting either has somewhere that you can work without being interrupted or is close enough to a coworking space that you can go there and get things done.
Learn To Make Time Zones Work For You
Wherever possible, you want to think about how you need to work with your team and be in a timezone that makes this easy.
For example, here in the Philippines (where your author is right now), it’s easy to work with Europe because their working day is a little after mine and Australia which is a little before mine.
However, it’s more challenging to work with North America because their working day is basically my night. (It can be done but if you have to work the same hours as the office – working overnight is really, really draining in the long-term).
Choose destinations that make life easier, not harder.
Set Hard Boundaries On Your Working Day
You don’t head to another country to spend 24 hours a day in front of your laptop.
By setting hard boundaries on the end of your working day, you make sure you get time to enjoy the benefits of being elsewhere.
But make sure to agree these boundaries with your boss and your team – don’t just make a unilateral decision.
Remember That Remote Work Doesn’t Mean “Less Work”
Working by the pool in Thailand can be awesome but if you spend all day in the pool and none at your “virtual” desk?
You’re asking to be fired. Remote work is the flexibility to work from anywhere, it is not an invite to become lazy.
In fact, if you’re smart, you want to produce a little bit more than you would in an office, because that’s the incentive for your company to let you continue with remote working.
Research Wi-Fi Before You Go Somewhere
Want to know what sucks about the Philippines? Internet connections and power. They drop out regularly here.
As a writer, that’s not the end of the world, you work offline and then send everything through when you get back online – as long as you meet deadlines, nobody cares.
But if you work as a virtual call center agent? This won’t do at all.
Make sure you know what the Wi-Fi’s like and that it’s fast enough and reliable enough for you to keep your job.
Do Enjoy Your New Country But Don’t Overshare About The Joys Of Being Overseas
Yes, being overseas is amazing and your team is going to want to know a bit about your new place and the new country.
But they are not going to want to hear an endless litany of how everything is “so cheap here” and how you “wish you’d done this 10 years ago.”
Remember not everyone is likely to be as lucky as you, so do share and be enthusiastic but don’t go overboard.
Understand The Real Costs Of Living Before You Go
Do not, under any circumstances, think that watching a YouTube video of a backpacker is going to prepare you for the real costs of living somewhere.
Get on Facebook and ask around in expat forums about the costs of living a decent lifestyle, use Numbeo as a rough gauge to cost of living too, and then make sure you can afford it.
As much as I’d like to work in Geneva for the rest of my life, Switzerland’s cost of living is bonkers and I’d have nothing left for fun or savings after paying my bills each month.
If you want somewhere super cheap, at least once Covid restrictions are over, then Vietnam’s a good place to start for many people and yes, it has reliable internet.
Opt For Safe Destinations With Fallback Options
You should also look to choose a destination with a reputation for safety as your first foray into working remotely.
It’s much safer on the beach in Phuket than in the middle of the city in Johannesburg, for example.
That’s not to say that you should never get off the beaten track, but if you want to succeed in remote work – make it easy for yourself and pick a safe place to work from to start with.
And make sure that if things do go wrong, that place offers fallback working options such as coworking spaces and hotels with their own power generation facilities.
Final Thoughts On Working Remotely From Overseas
Working overseas doesn’t have to be a huge deal, in fact, it can be done as easily as working from home – you just have to ensure you make the right adjustments to succeed.
The tips above should help you get started working remotely from overseas without any issues.
If after reading this, you want to ask your boss if you can work remotely – you’ll want to read this article that explains how to ask so that they say “yes”.