Today’s workforce is more mobile than ever. More and more professionals are remotely working on the road and travelling frequently, working towards more of a work-life balance, in addition to maintaining a permanent office at home.
There are many pros to these work arrangements: You can live wherever you want, you get to discover new places, and you don’t have the typical 9-to-5 routine.
But it also comes with challenges: How do you stay productive? Where do you find a quiet place to focus? How do you keep track of your documents and stay connected with team members? These situations require a lot of planning ahead, but once you figure out the tricks, remote work doesn’t feel like that much of a sacrifice.
Here are our top tips for how we work on the road.
Set up your workspace before leaving home
If you’re travelling for work, it’s critical to find a place to work remotely before you depart.
There are a number of coworking spaces around the world that are designed specifically for remote workers. Finding a place that is close to public transportation and has plenty of seating will increase your chances of getting work done.
If, like us, you’re travelling in a motorhome or campervan, you will need to make sure that you have a space set up where you can work comfortably.
You’ll also want to make sure that you have all the equipment you need to work effectively. These might include a laptop, headphones, a good internet connection, and a comfortable chair. It may also be a good idea to bring a pen and paper with you — it can be easier to brainstorm ideas with these tactile tools.
Create separate email accounts for work and personal
If you’re working remotely, you’ll want to separate your work and personal email accounts for a few reasons:
– Keeping work and personal emails separate will give you a much-needed mental break when you’re not working.
You’ll be able to relax without feeling like you have to respond to emails right away or having to worry about missing out on opportunities because you’re unavailable.
– Archive your personal emails so you don’t have to wade through them when you return to the office.
This will also keep your inbox from getting out of control.
Best internet spots
If you’re travelling in a place where you don’t have easy access to Wi-Fi, you may find yourself unable to do any work.
If you’re visiting a city or country, it’s important to do your research and check out its public Wi-Fi situation before you go.
If you’re travelling and working in a motorhome like us, then you may want to look at getting wi-fi in your motorhome. This makes life so much easier.
You don’t need to worry about where you’re going to find an internet connection or working in public, all you need to do is find a nice place to park with good signal and internet connection, and you can work on the road in the comfort of your tiny home on wheels.
If you would like to know more about getting Wi-Fi in your motorhome, then you can check out the blog post that we have written –
Otherwise, you can make sure to use a VPN while you’re on public Wi-Fi. This will collect all of your internet traffic and send it through the VPN’s servers, where it will be encrypted. This will make it harder for hackers to see what you’re doing online whilst you work on the road, ensuring the security and confidentiality of your work.
While travelling, you’ll probably want to stick to cafes that offer free Wi-Fi. If you want to be more productive, you can bring earplugs and a pair of noise-cancelling headphones. And if you’re trying to get work done on a train or a bus, keep in mind that you can use your laptop as a tablet. You can also use a virtual keyboard on your phone.
Making sure you have enough power
You’ll want to make sure you have a way to charge your devices, especially if you’re going to be out and about all day.
In our motorhome, we have an inverter so that we can plug our laptops straight into the plug to charge when the inverter is switched on.
If you would like to know more about motorhome inverters, then we have a blog post with lots more information –
We also have an EcoFlow portable power station that we can use to charge all of our devices so that we don’t rely on and drain the power from the motorhome batteries.
If you would like to know more about portable power stations, then you can find out more information on our blog post –
If you’re visiting a city, it may have charging stations where you can plug in your devices. Or if you’re staying in a hotel, you can ask the front desk to point you towards the nearest power outlets.
If you’re staying at an AirBnB, you can ask your host where you can charge your devices. If you’re in a coworking space, ask your manager if they have any power strips that you can use.
You can also use an outlet-equipped battery pack to charge your devices on the go. Just make sure to use one with enough capacity to charge all of your devices at once. And before you leave, make sure that you have enough battery power to get you through the day.
Learn how to find quiet spots
You may want to find a quiet spot to work for a few hours each day, but you may not want to do this in your coworking space. If you’re in a cafe, for example, the noise of the coffee machine and other customers could become distracting.
Here are a few ways you can find a quiet spot to plug away for a few hours:
– If you’re working in a motorhome or campervan, use Park4Night to find a quiet spot in nature where there’s not going to be lots of cars and people coming and going.
– Ask to use a quieter coworking space in your building.
– Find a library or a coffee shop with a quieter area that patrons don’t usually sit in.
– Ask a hotel or AirBnB host if you can use a conference room.
– Use your headphones or noise-cancelling headphones to block out the noise around you.
Utilise Skype and Google Hangouts
Skype is a great way to talk to people whilst you’re travelling — you can use it to make calls to any other Skype users, even if they don’t have the app installed on their device.
If you’re working remotely, you may want to use video calls sometimes instead of audio calls so you can see your colleagues’ facial expressions and body language, and it can feel more personal.
This can make your calls more productive — you can get more done and feel more connected with your team members.
If you want to use video calls but don’t want to use Skype, you can use a tool like Zoom, which has more robust security features.
If you’re in a situation where you want to set up a video call but don’t want to use Skype — for example, you’re not using your real name or don’t want to give it out — use a tool like Google Hangouts. Google Hangouts lets you make a video call without having to share your phone number or any other personal information. You can also use it to host an online meeting.
Plan ahead and keep track of your documents
If you’re working remotely, you’ll likely end up taking care of a lot of administrative tasks. While these tasks are necessary, they can easily eat up your time.
If you don’t have the administrative support that you would at a traditional office, you may find yourself having to spend hours organising your documents and managing your calendar.
To avoid getting backed up by administrative tasks, try to plan out your day ahead of time and prioritise your tasks. You may also want to use productivity apps to help keep yourself on track.
And if you’re in an environment where you don’t have a lot of privacy, try to keep your administrative tasks contained to your laptop — you don’t want to be scrolling through sensitive documents in a busy café.
Working remotely can be a great experience, but it does require some extra planning. Before you travel, make sure that you set up your workspace and find a good internet spot. While you’re travelling, make sure that you have enough power to charge your devices and find a quiet spot to work. And when you’re done for the day, make sure that you keep track of your documents on a secure computer. Most importantly, enjoy getting more of a work-life balance.
If you would like to know more about how to make money whilst travelling in a motorhome, then you can check out our blog post where we have lots of ideas and tips –
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You can take a look at some of our other van life posts which include lots and lots of hints and tips on all things van life here – Van Life – Travel Information, Hints, Tips and Advice (threeasabird.com)
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I have always wanted to travel and luckily I always got to travel to some amazing countries while I was growing up with my family and this really encouraged me to continue this and get out into the world on my own when I was older.
My goal growing up was really to see as much of the world as I could, but then I started going to work and really concentrating on my career and travel took a back seat. I still tried to get away a few times a year but I always knew there was an end goal which was to travel as much as possible.
So I got my head down and worked as hard as I could as an e-commerce manager. I have always been techy, I love computers and websites, so that’s where it gave me the idea to start this blog and also have my own web design agency. If you want to check it out or need any help then please take a look rrwebdesign.co.uk (shameless plug there)
But after covid, we both knew this was now the right time to take the leap and go and see the world after being trapped inside our house and working from home for a couple of years. We realised more than ever that you only get one life and you really need to make the most of it and do what you love!