On the go...
The pandemic has swept through our lives like a hurricane. . Nothing is as it was before. The world before the pandemic was far from perfect, and now most of us feel anguish and discomfort in the face of the new. In the spirit of bringing some solace in these tense times, today we will talk about remote work and what it can bring. Have you ever thought that the opportunity to work remotely can be a way to discover new places and live new experiences? Well, that's what we want to explore.
The truth is that there are still many jobs that cannot be done remotely, but the pandemic has accelerated a process that had been going on for a while. Advances in technology and communications have paved the way for remote work and the pandemic forced everyone to get used to it fast.Employees and employers learned to be more comfortable with distance work, clients have become accustomed to online markets and, in virtually all professions, people are looking for new ways to reduce in-person interaction. The richer the economy, and the more it is based on the so-called "Knowledge Economy", the greater the share of the population that can work remotely.
If remote work is an option for you, what are the advantages or disadvantages? Let's focus on the upside: you don't have to go to an office or a factory every day. That saves you time and transportation costs, right off the bat.. It also means you do not necessarily have to live where you work.; To put it plainly, you can work wherever you want ... ANYWHERE !!! Obviously, it is not that simple for everyone, but it is true that many, especially in the area of technology, can pack their bags and live somewhere else, permanently, or just for a while.
If you decide to go abroad on your own, whether employed or self-employed, you will have to take care of many things by yourself. These things would have been taken care of by your employer, if you were transferred, but now it’s all on you. The first of these things is the visa - just because you can effectively work from anywhere does not mean that you are legally authorized to work wherever you are. The good news is that many countries (in the Caribbean, Asia and Europe, to name a few) have realized that granting visas to self-employed workers can be an excellent way to bring revenue and development to more remote locations.. Here are some recent articles on the topic (Code on the water': Countries court digital nomads amid coronavirus, These Countries Offer Digital Nomad Visas To Work Remotely). And there are even places offering housing or cash aids for people to move. In addition to specific visas for nomads, there are visas for families who have children in private schools, visas for retirees, for investors etc.
Logistics are important too. Of course, it is necessary to have an internet connection that allows you to deliver quality work and participate in audio and video meetings. It is important to reserve a quiet place for you to work productively, and you also need to be aware of possible time zone differences. I've seen people in Brazil working for a Thai company (10-hour time difference), but it is something that needs to be clarified and agreed upon between the parties, so as not to become a point of conflict.
In some countries, these practices have been around for years. Others are experimenting because of the pandemic, as a way to attract residents and make up for lost revenue from tourism. Everywhere, you need to be aware of specific immigration and tax issues - the "wave" is strong, but there is still a lot of legal uncertainty. Thus, it is worth contacting specialists in local law so that your remote work season does not turn into a headache. Another thing you want to check is what kind of access to local services (public or private) the visa guarantees you. Don't forget about health services (it’s Covid season, after all!) or education (if you are taking school-aged children with you).
The advantages for you? Living in quieter cities, having more control over your schedule, being closer to nature, having your children experience other cultures, taking advantage of the weekends to visit the surroundings ( in Vietnam, Barbados, northern Italy etc. ). When we lived in Thailand, we had the opportunity to visit Malaysia, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, the Philippines, Vietnam and almost all regions of Thailand itself. Places we never dared to dream about suddenly became part of our neighborhood. I have colleagues who work (or have worked) remotely in Mozambique, Indonesia, Thailand, Portugal, Estonia, and more and more colleagues who choose smaller and quieter cities or states in the USA, such as Hawaii, Maine or Kansas. For most, it is a temporary change, a time to experience something new without bearing the costs of being on vacation or of taking a break from the career.or some, the months have turned into years and a new life.
Another idea, a simpler one, is to go away for short periods of time. Here in the USA, there are three or four small "week-long" school vacations throughout the year, sort of an equivalent to the July vacation in Brazil. Since both me and my husband work fulltime, we’ve never been able to take time off to travel on all of my children’s school holidays. With all these changes, we are now considering taking advantage of these opportunities to enjoy the company of the grandparents in Colorado or friends in California. We can also visit Texas… After a full day or week of work, we can have evenings or weekends to explore…
What do you think? Is this a possibility for you?
To learn more:
The Digital Nomad Survival Guide: How to Successfully Travel the World While Working Remotely
The Digital Nomad Handbook (Lonely Planet)
Digital Nomads: How to Live, Work and Play Around the World
Photos by generous photographers in Unsplash (Artem Beliaikin) and Pexeals (Andrea Piacquadio and Anastasia Shuraeva) and by Shutterstock