Recent weeks found me working in France, nine hours later than Pacific standard time (the typical timezone of our company)–so it was a rare opportunity for me to feel like a morning person by getting work done while everyone else in the company slept! But even with us working from three different continents, we were still able to run the business, have meetings, handle social media and client communications, and keep all of our projects afloat.
At EPW Small Business Law, we are actively creating a culture that encourages remote work and robust life choices, as I previously wrote about in 3 Tips for Traveling Light and Working Remote. Here are four more tips to finding smart solutions for working from far-flung locations:
1. You already have great systems in place, so lean on them!
Your work is probably already in the cloud. Your laptop could disappear or crash and while that would really suck, all would not be lost. It wouldn’t be easy, but you can handle it with some planning.
Here are some suggestions for systems that we have built over the last three years:
- LastPass for password storage: let this secure system remember your passwords, so that you don’t have to.
- Sync your bookmarks, such as with Google Chrome. I rely heavily on bookmarks…I would not like to lose them.
- Use iDrive backup for anything that sits locally on your computer.
- Use a CRM and project/task management software such as Insightly.
- Take full advantage of Google Apps for Work, including one of our top recommendations: Using a Wiki via Google Sites as our Our Company Intranet
- Automate when possible and when it makes sense. One way we do this is through the use of Edgar to keep social media content fresh and cycling.
2. Put wifi upload and download speeds into context.
Are you in India where a half a billion people will be online at 6:00 PM and services aren’t very stable to begin with anyway? Or are you in a remote area of a country with good infrastructure, where the very few people who live in a 5 mile radius are over 80 and therefore are not likely to be experimenting with Periscope? (That was me in the French countryside!)
In the latter scenario, very basic internet speeds are likely to be solid. In India…hmmm, try to figure out the times when only a quarter of a billion people will be online; in the meantime, enjoy your chai!
- Not in the habit of checking upload and download speeds? Here’s an option: Ookla speedtest.net
3. Do what the local kids do.
Grappling with a logistical challenge in France, the best and most soothing thing I could do was go to the local discount shopping center and stand in the aisle with all the 10-year olds getting ready to start school. While they picked out their favorite notebooks, I did the same and I found a fresh place where I could sketch things out and make sense of a big to-do list.
Doing what the locals do can take many forms of course. Afternoon tea anyone? Embrace healthy local rituals: they will enhance your experience and productivity.
And here’s a tip from our terrific Content Curator, Katie, in Medellín, Colombia:
4. Rely on your fellow expats.
In today’s globalized world, the chance that you’ll be the only foreigner in your chosen city is very slim. Facebook groups, Google+ discussions, and MeetUps abound in every major international city (and the majority of smaller ones) where expats share nuggets with each other on how to make life in your chosen home feel more like the one you left behind.
Want to find the cafe with the strongest coffee, or the work-space with a quiet corner to Skype? Lost your laptop charger and need to find a reliable seller? Need to have something shipped but haven’t yet figured out how the local mail works? If the answer isn’t yet on the discussion board, someone will be happy to share their answer with you.