Recently, I tried this remote work thing, spending one week in Split, Croatia. I like the country very much and Germany is not very appealing to me during winter, so I tried a shortcut. I was very curious about the experience. While travelling, I’m always looking for new ways to be productive on the road without taking days off but also experiencing the place I’m staying at. Here are my personal take-aways from one week of remote work.
1. Get your wifi shit together, in advance
A working internet connection is of course key to be able work and communicate with your team back home. Check in advance how good the wifi connection is at the place you’re staying. Don’t assume that it will be fine to work from there most of the time. I made that mistake for the airbnb rental and I couldn’t participate at an important meeting via Skype the first day as the internet provider had a network-wide failure. Murphy’s law you might say but unfortunately, there were several periods over the whole week where the internet didn’t work. I escaped to coffee shops for a bit and maximised the time the wifi worked by being as productive as possible. So, check in advance how good and stable the wifi connection will be. Otherwise, check alternatives, e.g. coworking spaces or nice coffee shops in advance or be prepared to work less than planned.
2. Don’t let go of your routines
This is relevant for your working routine (get up at the same time as you would normally do at home) but also for sports, meal habits and recreational activities. By following (most) of your routines you have at home, you have a stable schedule while working remotely. This helps you to minimize distractions from work and to settle in at the new place quickly. I went running several times during that week (and got a great motivation boost by the amazing seaside runs) and mostly prepared home-cooked meals. Other than that, I used the time to read a lot, to think about new ideas and channel some inspiration.
3. Leave enough opportunity to explore and experience
While working a regular schedule, don’t miss out on the opportunity to explore the place you’re currently based at. It would be a total waste to bury yourself in work while staying in an interesting city with historic sites and cultural events as well as nature to explore. Make room for those activities, e.g. by extending your lunch break to two hours to take a big midday walk in the city or go for a swim if you’re near the seaside. I used my midday break to explore the historic sites of Split (including the Diocletian palace) and going for a walk or running at the various seaside promenades.
4. Take time to connect to other people
Besides your friends and family back home, you should make room to connect with other people and to get to know the culture and life in the country. This also includes checking out local coworking spaces to meet freelancers and startups there on a professional level and network. I didn’t exactly follow this advice as I was pretty exhausted from the whirlwind of events and no real opportunities to rest during the past months.
In summary, this week of remote work was a good test to get to know the nitty-gritty stuff which you should have in mind when planning to work and travel at the same time or working remotely from a new place. I liked it a lot, especially to get new inspiration and ideas.
What’s your experience with remote work? Are you planning or already working remotely? If yes, from where and in what position?