If there is one silver lining to come out of the COVID-19 global pandemic, it’s been the rise of the digital nomad.
“Digital nomad” refers to a person who works remotely online and doesn’t commute to an office. That allows the worker to travel to various spots and work from there, without the need for a permanent home.
While many people are content to “switch things up” by moving their home office between the kitchen table, the back bedroom, or the couch in the family room, the adventurous among us seize the opportunity to work from far-away places they once only dreamed of visiting.
Suddenly, WFH can mean “working from Honolulu” or “Hamilton” or “halfway around the world.”
How exciting is that?
Freelancers have long had the freedom to work from wherever they wanted, but until recently, most full-time employees were required to show up to an office every single day.
Many digital companies allowed the occasional “work from home” day, but during the spring of 2020, the pandemic forced businesses to close their offices. Those businesses still needed to find a way to get their work done even though no one was coming into the office.
Suddenly, many employees were working from home on a semi-permanent basis, conducting meetings via Zoom or Teams, and sharing their office space with their cats and dogs (who occasionally made appearances in online meetings)
At the same time, savvy businesses realized that their employees could do their jobs without being chained to a cubicle all day. Some saw the opportunity to divest in their suddenly irrelevant office space, closing offices completely or reducing office space and going to a “hoteling” model.
Sounds like an ideal lifestyle, right? Well, there are still a few things you need to know.
1. You’ll need your company’s buy-in
While companies were quick to allow employees to work from home during the early days of the pandemic, many have since called their employees back to the office. Check with your HR department to ensure they’ll allow you to travel and “WFH” privileges.
2. You’ll need the right equipment
You’re going to need a powerful laptop, plus a reliable internet connection (and a backup connection, such as a data puck or hotspot). Don’t forget cell phone with unlimited data (consider an international plan if you’re thinking about traveling abroad). Oh, and power converters if you’re thinking about working from somewhere that 110-volts is not the standard. You’ll also want a docking station, to set up a semi-permanent, efficient workspace on the road. Keep in mind that your employer may not be willing to provide anything beyond the basics to do your job, so prepare for those expenses.
3. Passports and vaccines
If you’re planning on traveling outside the country, an up-to-date passport is a must-have. It’s also a good idea to check travel restrictions, which are posted online via the U.S. Department of State.
Many countries have mandatory vaccine requirements (not just for COVID-19), so make sure you check details for all the countries you plan to visit, and with your primary care physician for recommended vaccines.
4. Self-storage is a must-have
If you’re going to be traveling for an extended period of time, you’ll need someplace to store everything you’re not taking with you. While your parents might be OK with storing some stuff in their basement, it’s time to start adulting and get a storage unit. Storage units are less expensive than maintaining an apartment and have multiple security features to keep your possessions safe while you’re traveling.
If you’re leaving a car behind, many self-storage facilities offer car storage to keep your ride safe. Check out this self-storage guide for more information about finding a facility and the right type of storage unit.
5. Mail and packages
There are multiple ways to keep up with snail mail while traveling. Services like Traveling Mailbox will scan your physical mail and upload it digitally for you or will accept and forward packages and parcels to a nearby location. Drop shipping is also a viable alternative for packages.
6. Give someone your itinerary
Make sure people know when and where you’re going to be while traveling and check in often. This not only assures your employer that you’re actually working, but also alleviates worry from friends, family and co-workers.
It’s a good idea to have multiple ways to access your funds. While many people these days might use Venmo and an online bank, there are parts of the world where you’ll need real money, or at least a physical credit card. Be sure you know where to exchange money for the best rates (local banks and credit unions are a good place to start). Don’t just assume that your Starbucks app will work in Marrakesh.
8. Where to stay
With the advent services like VRBO and Airbnb, it’s possible to find long- and short-term rentals in houses, condos, apartments, spare bedrooms, even a covered wagon in Arizona, a cave in Provence, or a treehouse in Atlanta, according to a story on Dwell about weird Airbnb listings. Just remember to check the internet connection and get a kitchen to save yourself money on dining!
Is the digital nomad life calling you? This might be the best opportunity to explore new horizons and see parts of the world you might not otherwise get to experience. So, hop in the car, or on a plane, and set out. Just remember, the boss still wants to see 40 hours of work!
Author : Eric Mees
Sr. Content Writer, Store Space Self Storage
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