Telecommuting doesn't simply mean working from a home office. Many virtual workers are using the flexible nature of their jobs to travel or live abroad. Learning how to work away from the comfort of a home office provides a level of freedom office-bound jobs simply can’t match.
As the Content Manager and a Writer for Virtual Vocations, an online job service that specializes in helping job-seekers find telecommuting jobs, I am intimately familiar with the benefits and challenges faced by remote workers. And, after this past month I have learned a few new lessons about working on the road.
I just returned home after working remotely for one month. In my free time, I am a percussive dancer, and I was offered a performance contract in California for four weeks. After discussing the details with my manager, I accepted the dancing gig and arranged to work remotely instead of taking time off without pay.
The first few days were a struggle. It was hard finding a balance between my two commitments. Here are a few of my lessons learned. Hopefully this insight will help make your remote assignment a success:
Set Daily and Weekly Goals with Your Manager
Talk with your manager and let him know the schedule you plan to work. If your boss knows you're out of town, he's more likely to think you're goofing off and not getting any work done, and when working remotely, effort does translate. Virtual managers care about deliverables. I recommend setting daily goals to keep you motivated and on task.
Account for the Time Change
It depends where you're traveling to, but if there is a time change involved, ensure your manager is aware of it. Be prepared to get up extra early if you have a time sensitive project and a large time gap between you and your manager.
Communication is the key to successful telecommuting whether you're working from your home office or on the road. Virtual workers don't have a normal working relationship with their coworkers and can't interact face-to-face in the office, so we need to communicate more than normal with our coworkers and supervisor. I suggest providing your manager with a daily or weekly update on targets and goals, depending on your job.
Get Out of the Hotel Room
If you plan on working remotely from your hotel room for an extended period of time, I would suggest finding a place to set up camp away from your room. Hotel rooms with desks aren't really set up for people to work for long hours, and working in bed is difficult on your back and your mental well-being.
Ask the hotel if they have a small conference room you can use for part of your work hours, or make use of the hotel lobby. You can even find a local coffee shop, café, or co-working center with Wi-Fi. Whatever you do, change up your surroundings a little to break up the monotony of staring at the same four walls every day.
Living abroad or traveling can take a toll on your eating habits. It’s only natural for it to feel like you’re on vacation when living out of a hotel room. Allow yourself to indulge from time to time, but be careful not to fall into the fast food trap. Most fast food items do not contain the nutrients your body needs to stay healthy. As a result, you may feel chronically fatigued and lack the necessary energy to complete daily tasks.
Try to get a hotel room with a small kitchen so you can cooking your own food. Make regular trips to the grocery store for healthy snacks like fruits, nuts, and vegetables. Your waistline will thank you.
Have you ever worked virtually while traveling? What tips do you have to share with others interested in traveling and working?
Sarah is the Content Manager and a Writer at Virtual Vocations, the one-stop shop for telecommuters looking for legit jobs. With several years of marketing and writing experience, Sarah managed a group of freelance writers for a marketing firm before venturing out into the telecommute world. Follow Sarah on Twitter, Google+, and Facebook.