3 Tips to Help You Maintain Your Routine When Remote Working From Afar
When it comes to working from home, "home" doesn't have to mean your permanent residence.
Considering 80 percent of U.S. employees prefer to work from home at least two days a week, it's no question that hybrid and remote work is here to stay. Many startups are capitalizing on the remote revolution, and management consulting firm McKinsey & Co. says shifts such as this offer a rare opportunity to reimagine how things work. The virtual shift is great news if you love to travel.
As we enter year three of the pandemic, you're likely feeling a little burned out. The good news is that you can (and should) work from anywhere — even from vacation. Research shows that people are more creative in the weeks following a vacation. Integrating a new location and vacation-like experiences into your work life can boost your creativity and help you feel refreshed.
Turn working into a permanent vacation
As an entrepreneur, investor and travel expert, I've worked remotely around the world. During the first two years of the pandemic, I remotely lived and vacationed for one to three months at a time in more than 15 places, including the beaches of Cabo, a shipwreck hotel on the Skeleton Coast of Namibia and a tiny island in Mozambique. It was inspirational and allowed me to tick off places on my bucket list without taking a day off work. The great news is, thanks to remote work, you can do the same.
Although taking a trip is fun, it can be exhausting if you don't plan properly. No one wants a vacation from their vacation. For example, when I worked in Mexico, I made a list of the top things I wanted to do and checked something off the list every weekend. It gave me a sense of satisfaction as I explored the place I was in without feeling overwhelmed. During the week, I made a point to stay in to focus on work, exercise, mental health and my usual weekly tasks. Sticking to my routine enabled me to explore on the weekends (and avoid burnout and the fear of missing out).
Ready to start traveling and working remotely? Here are some tips on how to maintain your routine:
1. Start with your old routine, then add to it
When at my permanent home, I get up at 6:30 a.m., use the gym, eat breakfast and then start working. At night, I make dinner, take care of everyday chores and then dive into downtime and reading. When I'm on a trip, I try to keep a similar routine. If you're constantly changing things up, your "home" for the moment might not feel like a space where you can be productive. As they say: Consistency is key.
I'd recommend starting with your existing routine and then changing things as needed. For example, when I was staying on a beach, I started working outside to take in the view. I also scheduled 30 percent of my meetings to be ones when I could walk and talk because — let's be honest — your colleagues don't need to see your face all the time. Think about what you can add to your schedule that won't disrupt the habits that help you succeed.
Related: Why You Need a Remote Work Schedule
2. Take it one quarter at a time
In my experience, three months is the perfect amount of time to stay on a remote work vacation. When staying somewhere for 30 days, you feel like a tourist who never unpacks your suitcase. You're constantly trying to see all the sights and jam every tour, shop and restaurant into the few weekends you're there. But with three months, you have the chance to unpack, make some friends, take weekend trips and have others come to visit. You're not in a huge rush, and you have time to appreciate where you are.
So take things one quarter at a time. Give yourself 90 days to settle in and fully explore. Taking this much time off work isn't always an option, and 55 percent of workers already admit they don't use all their vacation days, according to the U.S. Travel Association. But when telecommuting, you can get away from your permanent address for a longer period while maintaining your output. Don't forget to check whether this has any tax implications for you, and make sure your company will allow you to leave the country for a certain number of days.
3. Make friends wherever you are
Life is better with people in it. When I find myself in new places, I use dating apps on friend mode to meet people and get local tips. It's a great way to meet interesting people, hear about what's going on and experience places in an authentic way. Posting on social media every time I go somewhere new is also helpful: I ask friends to introduce me to other people they know.
I've made friends in nearly all the places I've been, and we keep in touch. These friends have even gone on to take future trips with me. I have a lot of fond memories of my remote travels, as it wasn't just about me but the journey I took with others I met along the way.
Change up your scenery, check off your bucket list and use the flexibility remote work offers to see the world. Just make sure to maintain your routine to ensure a fully successful trip.
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