As someone who’s worked virtually (and independently) for many years, one of the biggest benefits that comes with this way of working is the autonomy that I have in how I structure my working day. Providing I am consistent in meeting my client obligations and deadlines, it’s entirely up to me how and when I work. I have no corporate expectations such as fixed office hours or daily team meetings, which means that providing I am organised and self-motivated, I can be far more productive within my virtual environment.
Category Archives: Remote Working
Chances are you’ve seen the term ‘digital nomad’ online of late – the ubiquitous name for freelancers who take their work on the road. From graphic designers to entrepreneurs to software developers, many professionals are trading in their 9-to-5 office gig for something different, working instead from coffee shops, co-working spaces, trendy Airbnbs and beachy vistas.
Once you’ve ensured you’ve got the right tools and have thoroughly read up on visa restrictions and other legal fine print, it’s time to decide where to go. Where are the other nomads?
Here are 7 popular destinations where you’re likely to find fellow workers on the road.
Image credit: Richard Schneider via Flickr Creative Commons
It wouldn’t be an article about digital nomads without giving Bali a shout out. Tropical, picture-perfect Bali is ideal for tourists, hipsters, yoga enthusiasts and nomads alike, and Canggu has become one of the top destinations for workers on the go.
Compared to Ubud and Seminyak, Canggu is a cheaper and quieter village: according to Nomadlist, the ‘Nomad Cost’ for Canggu is about $955 per month, while Ubud is $1,395 and Seminyak is $1,638. The co-working community in Canggu is centred at Dojo Bali, and they regularly have BBQs, workshops, networking events and more social meet-ups – perfect for those looking to connect up with other nomads.
Read more about life in Canggu as a nomad:
The city of Porto has curated a considerable nomadic scene, thanks to its beautiful weather, relatively inexpensive cost of living and chilled-out vibe. Considered a smaller, more affordable version of Lisbon, Porto is the ideal place to work and explore.
Porto i/o, a co-working space with a location in downtown and another near the riverside, is the best place to check out the local nomad scene. With plenty of events like coffee meetings for entrepreneurs, coding groups, information sessions and networking events, you can easily find some fellow travellers.
Read more about Porto as a co-working city here:
Budapest is another hub for digital nomads and rightly so. Often cited as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, Budapest has something for every kind of traveller – ruin bars for evening fun, incredible architecture for daytime wandering, traditional Turkish baths for relaxing, and so much more.
The city’s fast, reliable Wi-Fi, the inexpensive cost of living and co-working spaces are the major selling points for this as a hub for nomads. According to Nomad List, the average cost for a nomad for one month is about $1,448 – not as cheap as Canggu or Chiang Mai, but very affordable for Europe. Greenspaces and Loffice are two popular options for co-working spaces, but there are also a number of coffee shops perfect for working in, such as Tamp & Pull Espresso Bar and Madal Café.
Read these blog posts by nomads for more info about living in Budapest:
Chiang Mai, Thailand
One of the most popular cities for digital nomads – in fact, arguably the most popular – is Chiang Mai. With gorgeous beaches, incredible temples and pristine forests, it’s not difficult to see why many nomads flock to the largest city in northern Thailand.
Chiang Mai’s incredible value for money attracts nomads from all over the world: according to Chris the Freelancer (an Australian nomad, blogger and YouTuber), a typical sit-down meal for 4 was around $8.50 AUD, or just £5. There is also an abundance of coffee shops (like Ristr8to) and co-working spaces (like Punspace) ideally suited for nomads.
Read more about experiencing Chiang Mai as a nomad (including Chris’s experiences):
Seoul, South Korea
Often overlooked on nomad lists for beachier destinations, Seoul has a bustling freelance and start-up community. Renowned by foodies for its incredible cuisine and by techies for its position as the world’s most wired city, Seoul is ideal for nomads.
One of the best things about this capital city is its availability: 24-hour cafes with reliable Wi-Fi are perfect for those who like to make their own hours, and Seoul’s transport system will get you pretty much anywhere you need to go. If you’re looking to connect with other nomads, check out hip co-working space Hive Arena.
Read more about what makes Seoul ideal for nomads:
Croatia has long attracted travellers for its breath-taking beaches, beautiful forested trails and affordable living, and Split is no different. Croatia’s second-largest city, located on the Dalmatian Coast, is a historical testament to Croatian culture, with ancient Roman ruins next to trendy shops and bars. From the start of spring until about late October, Split is full of tourists enjoying the culture, so if you’re looking for a quiet place, opt for the off-peak season.
Image source: VV Nincic via Flickr Creative Commons
Mexico City, Mexico
Mexico City is a destination that is often overlooked due to its reputation for crime and corruption; however, many nomads beg you to reconsider. This capital city attracts workers on the road by its delicious food, cheap cost of living, vibrant culture and fantastic selection of Wi-Fi-equipped places for work. From the sprawling park of Chapultepec to the ancient Mesoamerican Pyramid of the Sun, Mexico City’s incredible history is woven into its modernity.
With no shortage of cafes to work from, Mexico City also boasts a number of co-working spaces where you can connect with other nomads, including Urban Station, Impact Hub and more. Local marketplaces provide the perfect spot for grabbing affordable, authentic eats.
Read more about life as a nomad in Mexico City here:
For more information on becoming a digital nomad, read our resource guide ‘How to become a digital nomad’. It’s got everything from to general advice on preparing for life abroad to gear recommendations – a laptop equipped with videoconferencing software is a must, especially GoToMeeting’s screen share feature – incredibly useful for nomads to clearly communicate with clients and customers on the road).
Remote teams and flexible working arrangements are becoming an increasingly common occurrence in companies of all sizes these days. Part of this is thanks to more advanced technology and better solutions. Sometimes this works, and sometimes it doesn’t – Yahoo! chief executive Marissa Mayer famously banned flexible working a few years ago, arguing that being physically together is the only way to produce the best work.
But is this still true? As more and more of our lives happen online, it seems natural that our work should reflect the same change. Many companies have embraced this remote working model so much so that entire teams are spread across the globe – and they’re achieving success. Here are 10 companies who are challenging the idea that presence equals productivity and making the ‘virtual office’ work for them.
Zapier, the integration platform that automates web apps like Salesforce, Dropbox, Office 365, GoToMeeting and more, is a true remote work champion. Their team is distributed all over the world from South Florida to Nigeria, and remote work is so strongly built into their company ethos that they’ve written a guide about it. Through task management apps and collaborative tools like Google Docs, they’re able to stay agile and keep the company running smoothly.
Although not entirely remote like Zapier, Etsy has embraced a global workforce to their advantage. Their headquarters are in Brooklyn, but they have employees all over the world from London to Tokyo to Melbourne. In an interview with software engineer Brad Greenlee (based in Washington), he says that Etsy emphasizes a ‘reply-all’ culture that fosters inclusivity and doesn’t make remote workers feel isolated or like they are not ‘first class citizens’ of the company. He also says that recording videoconferences makes it super easy for staff to catch up on anything they may have missed.
- GitLab Inc.
This software provider and Git repository management is another proud remote company. They even have a Remote Manifesto, which outlines their eight principles for effective collaboration. In a recent interview, the CEO Sid Sijbrandij says at GitLab they ‘treat remote working as an advantage, not an obstacle.’ Remote working helps eliminate unnecessary meetings or inefficient communication, and they rely on chats to work together across time zones and continents.
Olark is a live chat platform connecting businesses with customers based in San Francisco, but their team has grown into a global force. From Tiree, Scotland to Cookeville, Tennessee, it’s clear that Olark truly values their people and their well-being. Not only do they place a strong emphasis on transparency and communication, they foster a sense of digital community. They also have annual company retreats so everyone – including staff based outside the US – can hang out face-to-face and grow real friendships.
For those that haven’t heard of Geckoboard, they are a live TV dashboard software for businesses – a real-time metric and KPI tracker – and they are another champion of the remote working model. From their London headquarters, they’ve expanded across eight different time zones from Hawaii to Mumbai to give better service to their global clients. Throughout this growth, they’ve kept true to one of their core company beliefs: that having a great workplace and a great personal life mean working smarter, and you don’t all need to be in the same place to do so.
Now over 500 strong and valued at over $1 billion, Automattic is one of the most well-known remote working success stories. The WordPress developer has been remote from the beginning to tap into the best talent, regardless of location. CEO Matt Mullenweg said in an interview with Glenn Leibowitz that ‘[having distributed teams] has been amazing for the company in that we can attract and retain the best talent without them having to be in New York or San Francisco or one of the traditional tech enters.’ To stay productive, the teams communicate through internal chats and P2, an internal blog.
‘The best talent isn’t found in a single zip code, and an international clientele requires a global perspective,’ says 10Up and their completely remote workforce reflects this global attitude. 10Up, a web design and development agency specialising in content management services, has engineers and developers located from Costa Rica to Pakistan. In a Q&A for Remote.co, president and founder Jake Goldman says one of the main benefits of a remote working model is that ‘with the right team, you have a grassroots marketing campaign in cities and towns all around the country, and world. Many of our employees are active in their local meetup groups and communities, which spreads organic awareness of our brand outside of a single city.’
There’s a pretty good chance you’ve heard of Upworthy – you may have even seen one of their stories shared on your Facebook Newsfeed recently. The popular content platform is a distributed team, with most of their job positions available virtually (although some require a U.S. time zone). They value results, not hours spent working, and encourage their employees to shift their work around other life commitments.
When Adda Birnir was one of many employees laid off from her job in 2008, she realised that those who remained at the company were all the technical workers: coders, developers and designers. She founded Skillcrush to give everyone, especially women, the opportunity to learn coding, get hired and enhance job security overall – and in the process, became a role model for the remote working model. Skillcrush’s (all female) team is fully remote and scattered from Finland to Texas.
- Help Scout
Help Scout, an online customer support platform, is the perfect example of the way a remote team should work. Although they have a head office in Boston, each employee has the freedom to work wherever they want, relying on transparency, trust and videoconferencing to get the job done. Help Scout also have a unique tradition called the Friday Fika – a 15-minute chat over coffee between randomly-chosen employees to keep everyone connected, despite the physical distance.
In 2016, the workplace underwent a dramatic change as 3.6m Baby Boomers retired, one-fourth of millennial workers rose up to take on management roles and Generation Z had just begun to enter the workforce. The demand for a more flexible work environment continued, along with the desire for greater autonomy and a healthier work-life balance.
Finding a decent place to work in London as a remote worker, digital nomad, or freelancer can be difficult. Many cafes are often too loud, not WiFi-equipped, or too small, and when you’re on a deadline, you don’t have the time to sift through endless online reviews to find somewhere decent.
The next time you find yourself in Central London, here are a few recommendations to save you some time and stress. Whether you’re in Bloomsbury looking for somewhere to get some writing done or you’re in Barbican needing a quiet place to host an online meeting, these lovely establishments are here to save the day.
“Ah, Herr Lamont. Ja, vee had a room for you…”
As greetings go, this is not what you want to hear when arriving at a hotel in the middle of the night. It is certainly not what you want to hear after your flight has left late, arrived late, and missed a connection that meant renting a car to finish the journey.
When I began working from home 10 years ago, the lack of office distractions and my newfound freedom to focus on a piece of work for an extended length of time, was a revelation. It was a novelty that has never worn off, and I look back on my years of office-filled banter, sitting within a busy newsroom among journalists who were continually talking on the phone, and I wonder how I was ever able to get anything done!
Co-working is a fast-growing trend.
Initially, it was the domain of start-ups who’d outgrown their bedroom-based offices and needed a flexible, affordable space for their growing business. But over time the popularity and number of co-working spaces has blossomed, with more and more professionals wanting to decide for themselves how and when they work, so that they can spend more time with family, waste less money on travel and operate from an environment that inspires and motivates them.
Ten years ago, almost to this day, I set-up my first home office and entered the world of remote working. Back in 2006, virtual working was the exception rather than the rule, and I only made it sustainable through hefty train fares into London each month for regular client meetings. Virtual collaboration tools and technology had a long way still to go, and connectivity was nowhere near as ubiquitous as it is today. But nevertheless, I made it work well, and discovered a newfound freedom through working when and where I liked.
The workplace has been steadily evolving over the past year or two, and big changes have come afoot in the first part of 2016. In the UK, the shift towards co-working has exploded, which has been led in part by the increasing number of individuals choosing to go freelance, who want more flexibility and control over where and when they work. Currently there are 1.4 million freelancers working in the UK, and the continued growth of virtual collaboration tools and technology, as well as the increasing acceptance of remote working, has given the freelance economy a tremendous boost.
Sometimes you just have to travel.
And as much as I love being able to catch up with my wonderful colleagues in Germany and Australia through an online meeting tool (GoToMeeting of course), sometimes you have to jump on a plane and get in the same room as someone.
The ‘office’ as we know it has undergone a significant transformation in the past few years, with many businesses and employees warming up to the benefits of remote or virtual working. It’s a trend that has infiltrated businesses of all sizes, from global organisations through to SMEs, sole traders and freelancers.
The average Briton takes 9.1 sick days a year, according to accountancy firm PwC. Doesn’t sound like much, does it, especially given that the average Briton works 150 days of the year*! But we all know that coming to work when you’re unwell won’t make you any friends AND could well make you feel worse!
Well, Citrix has done it again!
Gartner has released their Magic Quadrant for Web Conferencing – and we’re thrilled to announce that Citrix and our web conferencing tools – GoToMeeting, GoToWebinar, GoToTraining and remote support tool GoToAssist have yet again been recognised as a leader in the market.
Working from home is gaining acceptance among a growing number of organisations, as HR policy-makers latch on to the value of flexibility in creating a stable, productive workforce. It’s no longer a nice-to-have or just for working parents – flexibility is becoming a key concern for today’s employees who want more say in how, when and where they work. Companies that don’t adapt to this new reality risk losing talented people to more progressive rivals.
As our work lives become gradually more flexible, more of us need to be productive outside an office. Whether you’re a freelancer or remote worker, chances are you’re going to want a change of scenery every once in a while. Cafes and co-working spaces are the perfect place to caffeinate, refuel and focus with other like-minded individuals.
There is a lot to be said for being your own boss. I made the break from full-time employment in 2006, one month after getting married! I had a single client in place before handing in my notice, but it was still a big gamble, and particularly as I was hedging my bets on the emerging social media space. When I think back though, the nerves were minimal. Excitement and anticipation overwhelmed any feelings of doubt, and I couldn’t wait to be in charge of my professional future. I had created a tiny work space in my bedroom, within our one bedroom flat at the time. I was young, determined and raring to go.
Now that the countdown to Christmas is in full swing, it’s always nice to reflect on the highs of 2015, and in our case, the blog posts that really got our readers thinking and sharing. So just before we kick back with a glass of mulled wine and call it a wrap for 2015, we thought you might like our Christmas Top 10 of the posts that grabbed the most eyeballs this year…
Four years ago, the first edition of The Smart Working Handbook was published, designed to offer best practice advice in transforming organisations through smart working techniques. Its success was unprecedented, with more than 100,000 copies being downloaded and shared. Its advice has been adopted by numerous organisations including the UK Cabinet Office, as the official guide to Smart Working for the UK’s 440,000 civil servants.
It’s safe to say that wearables have successfully carved themselves a place in the consumer market: smartwatches, fitness trackers and notification devices are playing an increasingly prominent role in our day-to-day existence. Rapid advancements in flexible display technology mean that we’re able to expand our notion of what wearable tech can do, and where it can be used. But where do they fit in during working hours? Can wearables actually help us do our jobs?
“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?”
Who are we to argue with the wise words of Albert Einstein? Certainly not me! On some days, usually when I’m up against a big writing deadline, it’s hard to tell if there’s really a desk under my mountain of paperwork, notebooks and mugs. A former journalist colleague of mine once discovered a six-month old mouldy, half-eaten pasty on his desk when he was ordered to give it a clean up!