ANOTHER DAY AT THE OFFICE
It was when I found myself standing on one foot, on a rooftop in Mexico, holding my phone to the sky in vain hope for a stronger signal, whispering into the headphone mic on a call with a CEO – with a yoga class going on behind me – that I realised the whole digital nomad thing might not be the laptop-Insta-pic-in-exoticlocations dream it’s cracked up to be.
Digital nomad or not, more people are being called to keep up work appearances while on “holidays” or are cashing in on flexible work deals to take an extended break while meeting minimum office hours. There’s even a buzzword for it: bleisure.
It’s a bittersweet by-product of our “always on” mentality but there’s still a certain exoticism to working remotely, especially if you can do it overseas and actually get paid while seeing the world. Airbnb and Tank Stream Labs, in their Evolution of Work report, recently found 81 per cent of Australians would like to work remotely, while 40 per cent are already doing it at least once a week.
According to the research, twothirds of employees believe flexible work and the ability to work from home, a cafe, shared or co-working space when they want, or need to, make an employer more appealing.
As a freelance travel writer, it’s part of my remit to work on trains, planes, cars, buses and hotel lobbies, in kitchens, coworking spaces and coffee shops. So before you set your out-ofoffice and start your Macbook engines, here’s some handy hacks to help you work on the road.
CHOOSE DESTINATIONS WITH RELIABLE WI-FI
There’s a reason freelancers flock to places like Canggu and Chiang Mai. Nomad List ranks destinations based on their connectivity, affordability and fun factor if you’re looking for somewhere to settle for a while.
You can’t work and travel full time and keep your sanity. Aim to stay three times longer in any destination than what you would book if you were just sightseeing.
BOOK WORK-FRIENDLY STAYS
Employees travelling for work want to feel like they are at home when on the road, with 49 per cent citing the comforts of a real home as the reason to book an Airbnb. But increasingly hotels are heeding the call with workfriendly lobby lounges and even their own coworking hubs, like NEST in the TRYP by Wyndham hotel in Dubai.
STICK TO A SCHEDULE
If you need to meet deadlines while you’re on the go, commit a block of time each morning or afternoon, depending on what works for your own rhythm, and stick to it. Sipping that fresh coconut on a Mexican beach afterwards tastes so much sweeter when the work is done.
SEEK LAPTOP-FRIENDLY HUBS
Before you head straight to a cafe with more laptops than lattes, search for coworking spaces or local libraries to ditch easy distractions (and doughnuts). Reliable Wi-Fi can often come in the most unlikely locations: think service stations and laundromats. Who said working remotely wasn’t glamorous?
CHARGE UP AT ANY OPPORTUNITY
Unless you’re lucky enough to be turning left, remember to charge up just before boarding a flight. Then, it’s a race against battery life (and reason for a red and a movie when it dies).
GET ON THE CLOUD (IF YOU’RE NOT ALREADY)
Work out of Google Drive so your files are always accessible – especially if your boss needs to see them when you’re at 35,000 feet.
DOWNLOAD BEFORE A FLIGHT
Long hours in the sky are gold for writing or drafting email responses that you can send off with a satisfying ping once you’re back in Wi-Fi. Although, with more and more airlines offering connection in the sky …
BUY SKYPE CREDIT OR INVEST IN AN INTERNATIONAL PLAN
Being able to jump on a call and not stress about a gazillion dollar phone bill at the end of the conversation will save precious pina colada time.
JUST REMEMBER TO SWITCH OFF
Preferably before the end of the day. You are supposed to be on holidays, remember?
Digital nomads are mixing business and leisure in flexible working environments.