What to look for in a remote working destination

Helen Alexander

Senior Contributor

Mobile working, being a digital nomad, taking a workation. There’s a growing trend for people to combine business and pleasure by carving out a career or running their own business from anywhere in the world. Whether you want a change of scenery for a week or plan to pack up your belongings and make a permanent move, here are the key factors to consider when looking for a remote working destination.

What do you need to get done?

Armed with only a phone, a laptop and an internet connection, we can work almost anywhere in the world. But before you get distracted by the thought of sending emails from a tropical beach with the sand between your toes, it’s essential that you spend time considering the practicalities of organising a workation.

Where are your customers and colleagues based, and will you need to join regular team meetings and make calls during office hours in that location? By selecting a destination that’s in roughly the same time zone, you can avoid middle-of-the-night Zoom sessions. That said, if you would prefer to work early mornings or late evenings, then being a digital nomad might present the perfect opportunity to break away from the traditional 9-to-5. If you're in an industry that moves between busy and slow periods, you might decide there are a few weeks or months each year when you can go off-grid and really maximise your travel time. Alternatively, you might want to log-on every day to get that side hustle or start-up off the ground.

Define the hours you need to work, and whatever you decide, communicate your availability clearly and make sure you are easy to contact by getting your tech up to speed – a headset, a VPN and a global hotspot can give your mobile workspace a boost. 

Creature comforts

Do you want a talented barista to serve your morning latte, or are you happy eating a local-style breakfast in the middle of a bustling food market? There’s nothing wrong with wanting to recreate the kind of lifestyle you are used to back home – and knowing whether you want to stay in (or get out of) your comfort zone will help you select a destination.

Similarly, do you want to establish the kind of routine that comes with staying in one place, or do you crave the ‘every day is different’ excitement of being on the road? Having a permanent address gives you the chance to make the most of your local neighbourhood, whether that’s is Seoul, Sydney or San Francisco. While a more nomadic approach might just allow you to explore every corner of a whole new country. 

Workstations with wanderlust

Where will you actually work? Whether you are happy to relax in a hammock with your laptop or you need access to an office or studio space, it’s an important question to answer. Does your ideal destination have places where you can hot desk or would you prefer to stay in a luxury hotel where you can combine your accommodation with office amenities and leisure facilities? Since the pandemic, properties around the world have opened their doors to digital nomads, while co-working communities from Austin to Zurich offer so much more than a place to work – from yoga classes to mentorship programmes and social events. 

Networking opportunities

Speaking of community, will there be the chance to meet like-minded people in your location of choice? Just as Silicon Valley calls out to coders, is there an area that’s renowned within your industry? For example, Vancouver is home to hundreds of videogame and digital media companies, while Berlin’s business incubators attract entrepreneurs from around the world. In addition, will your remote working destination give you access to conferences and events that could help you make useful connections? Do your research, find your tribe and start collaborating. 

Work-life balance

It’s not all work, work, work – so think about how you want to spend your leisure time. That might mean surfing off the coast of Indonesia’s islands, scaling new heights in Scotland’s Highlands, or sailing between Australia’s tropical Whitsundays. Then again, you might prefer to switch off with a spa treatment in between Skype calls.

Remember that the time you spend being ‘off’ is just as important as the time you spend being ‘on’, so surround yourself with possibilities that you are going to want to pursue. From mastering the art of perfect pasta-making in Florence to learning to dance in Buenos Aires or attending a wine academy in Cape Town. Or perhaps you simply want to escape some seasons and bask in Hawaii’s year-round heat.

It’s a well-worn adage, but it couldn’t be truer: travel broadens the horizons, so use your workation to change your surroundings and see things from a new perspective. It’s bound to bring new motivations and inspirations to your professional life. 

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