Andy Stofferis has spent the past six years travelling around the world – all while working full-time.
The self-confessed ‘digital nomad’ has been to more than 40 destinations, while running his own digital marketing agency – and has even hired a whole team who now do exactly the same.
We all know the pandemic has thrown the possibility of working remotely into the spotlight – so there’s never been a better time to take the plunge.
But there are a lot of things to consider, such as the best way to travel, how to juggle work and leisure time, and what to look for in a mid-term rental – amongst many other things.
Thankfully, Andy has shared some of the things he’s learned over the past few years.
These are some of his best tips for working remotely abroad…
‘It’s much easier to enjoy the destination and be productive when staying at least a few months in the destination – especially if you are working full-time,’ Andy tells Metro.co.uk.
‘Don’t be in a rush and enjoy the present moment.’
Think about work and life balance
Andy says finding a balance between work and social life can be very difficult when you first start out.
He adds: ‘You need to figure out and experiment with new ways of working and it takes time, but once you are self-disciplined enough you can be very very productive.
‘This is one of the challenges I faced at the beginning and I think every digital nomad has to face this, because it’s another way of living – it’s another lifestyle.’
Learn to say ‘no’
Because you’re working abroad, rather than taking time off to travel, Andy says it’s vital to learn when to say ‘no’ – especially to people who might invite you out when you should be working.
Andy says: ‘Make them understand you are not a traveller/tourist but a full-time remote worker.’
Check if digital nomadism is right for you
Working away from home – far from family and friends for months at a time – might not be for everyone, So Andy says it’s a good idea to have a test run.
He adds: ‘Try to work remotely from abroad for a month and get back home. Then, figure out what worked out/what didn’t work and decide if you continue or not. Experiment.’
Andy did this himself with a few months in London, before venturing around the world.
Be very picky about the Wi-Fi
Travelling from place to place means you’re at the mercy of different Airbnbs – and their (sometimes unreliable) internet connection.
This would be fine if you were on holiday, but working full-time makes this a top priority.
He adds: ‘Especially if you have frequent video-calls, you need to make sure the internet is good where you’re going to work from. Something you can do is to ask the host for a speed test and a latency test in advance.’
Being so far from home, it’s vital to make an effort to meet new people – wherever you go.
Andy suggested integrating with communities both online (e.g. local/traveller Facebook groups) and offline (co-working spaces, events for digital nomads).
Build a routine you can apply anywhere in the world
It can be easy to get distracted by new places but it’s crucial to make sure you’re looking after yourself and eating and exercising well, says Andy.
‘Learn how to work out with your body weight and do sport that can be done everywhere in the world (e.g. running),’ he adds.
Figure out where you’re most productive
Because you’re moving around a lot, you won’t have a familiar daily desk to work on – so you need to keep productivity in mind.
Andy continues: ‘Figure out where to work from to be as productive as possible, I’m talking about co-working spaces or nomad-friendly cafes – it’s different for everyone.
‘For me my regular week would be two days in a co-working space, two days from home and one day in a nomad-friendly cafe, and this is how I work.
‘I work from home for video calls and I prefer to stay at home for that but it’s different for everyone. I know some digital nomads go to co-worker spaces for their video calls, because they like this atmosphere.
‘Also, try to dedicate a specific room or desk in the place you book, because it’s important when you are booking your new place – to make sure there is enough space and a room dedicated for work. It might be additional on the budget, but it’s essential for productivity.’
Dedicate a few hours to booking Airbnbs/rentals
Andy explains that if you’re spending a few months somewhere, it’s important to get an accommodation booking right.
He says: ‘You need to make sure, for example, that the internet connection is good.
‘You need to make sure it’s big enough to have a dedicated room for work and it’s not far from the co-working space you’re going to.
‘There are many criteria and this might be tricky to book your next place – it takes a few hours to book a place for a few months on Airbnb, but it’s important because you’re going to stay there for a few months.
‘It seems to be common sense but in the end you don’t have to be clever to book, but you have to think about a lot of parameters, and it takes a lot of time – it’s like a travel agent job.’
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