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Tips for remote working overseas

Whether you’re a digital nomad, a perpetual traveller or a long-time expat, it’s likely that you work remotely. At least some of the time.

Remote working has loads of great benefits – flexible lifestyle, relaxed environment, and no time or money wasted on commuting. In fact, 86 per cent of remoters find that that working alone allows them to hit their max productivity1.

That said, not having an office or colleagues to work alongside can bring its own challenges. Lots of remote workers struggle with their work / life balance and knowing when to switch off. Another big challenge – especially those travelling or living overseas – is managing feelings of loneliness and isolation2.

So how can we cope with the challenges of being a remote worker, whilst living our best life abroad? Here are our top 5 tips.

1. Find a social spot

Most remote workers use their home as their primary place for working. There’s nothing wrong with this, but it’s good to mix things up. Try and work away from home at least once or twice a week for a change of scenery. This could be a cafe, co-working space, library; wherever you feel most comfortable and productive.

It’s good to find somewhere with others around, so you feel less isolated. Even if you’ve got your headphones in all day, you’ll still feel more sociable than being home alone. Also, the coffee will probably be better too!

2. Join a network, or create your own

There are online networks for everything now. Whether you’re a freelancer in Bangkok, or working on an assignment in Colombia, there will be others like you around. You just need to find them. Try looking on some online expat networks and connecting with people in your area – they’re a great way to meet other likeminded remote workers. Start with Expat Exchange, if you haven’t used any before.

Most parts of the world also have co-working spaces, where you can rent out a desk alongside other remote workers and freelancers. Once you’ve started to build a network of locals, you can create your own version of an office and introduce the social aspects of working into your day. Co-working spaces can also be good networking opportunities, so get chatting to people.

3. Become more engaged

Working remotely can make it difficult to stay engaged with your company, clients or colleagues. Often it can feel like you’re being left out or detached from what’s going on. Get around this by engaging with them more and utilising video conferencing technology.

Schedule video calls and meetings throughout the week to maintain regular visual contact with everyone you need to. This should also help you to prioritise your work and add more structure to your week. Don't know which video conferencing tool to use? Start with the free version of Zoom and see how you get on. Others don’t need to be signed up for you to call them and it connects easily to your calendar.

4. Keep on top of your health

When you’re living and working abroad, it can be easy to take your health for granted. This is especially true for travellers and nomads exploring the most beautiful parts of the world. Getting sick is actually quite easy to do when living in unfamiliar surroundings, so check in regularly with a local doctor and expense the bill to your health provider.

It’s also common for feelings of isolation or loneliness to hit when working remotely overseas. If life’s challenges are getting you down, or you’re struggling with your mental health, utilise remote counselling services and speak with a professional on the phone or in person. Most good international health plans include remote counselling sessions, so check your health plan to see if you already have access to these services for free.

5. Make time to relax

Not having people around you each day can be isolating. Make up for this by being more sociable outside work and meeting up with friends. If you’re struggling to meet people, try joining InterNations to connect with remote workers, expats and travellers around you.

Relaxing is also about taking a break from work. Most remote workers have unlimited vacation, yet only take a couple of weeks of holiday each year3. Yes, you might be living in a holiday destination or permanently travelling, but it’s important to take time for yourself. Schedule more holiday each year and don’t feel bad about it – everyone needs to recharge.

1 https://www.inc.com/brian-de-haaff/3-ways-remote-workers-outperform-office-workers.html?cid=sf01001
2 https://www.owllabs.com/blog/remote-work-loneliness
3 https://www.owllabs.com/blog/remote-work-loneliness

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