Remote Work While Traveling: The New Normal

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Though working remotely certainly did not originate with the COVID-19 pandemic, widespread and protracted lockdowns in the wake of the outbreak rapidly made remote work the rule rather than the exception for millions of workers.

Today, as we begin to emerge into our new post-pandemic reality, however, it seems that a significant majority of remote workers want to remain in the virtual office, at least part-time. 

It’s not difficult to understand why. Remote work provides employees with a level of freedom that might never have enjoyed while working a regular 9-5 work week in a physical office. For many, this includes the opportunity to hit the road, appease their wanderlust, and still earn a living. Indeed, remote work while traveling is quickly becoming the new normal. 

The Importance of Planning Ahead

More and more people are taking advantage of the opportunity to travel the country and explore the world without having to give up their day job. However, working remotely while traveling can be a far different beast than working from home.

For example, if you intend to work while you’re on the road, then you need to plan ahead. This means you’ll want to do your homework both about your final destination and the journey you’ll make along the way. 

It’s especially important, for instance, to ensure that you’re going to have reliable access to secure, high-speed internet and that you prepare in advance for any outages or downtime. At the very least, you should ensure you have your own portable hotspot ready as a backup connection or that you know where secure wi-fi can be accessed while you’re traveling. 

In addition, you can set up a cloud-based network to enable you to securely store, retrieve, and send documents anytime, anywhere, provided you have an internet connection.

Ensuring that you have reliable internet access is only half the battle when it comes to your travel planning. You’ll also want to take care to pack every essential you’ll need to do your job, such as a backup power source for your computer, smartphone, and tablet. Likewise, if you’re traveling abroad, you’ll want to ensure you have the appropriate adapters to charge your equipment.

The Mobile Office

One of the more challenging aspects of working while traveling is avoiding distractions. After all, you’ve embarked on this adventure to have fun, see new things, and enjoy new experiences. That holiday feeling can make focusing on work extremely difficult.

However, creating a designated workspace that travels with you can help you settle in and be productive when it’s time to work. If you’re traveling by camper or motorhome, then go ahead and set up a little office on wheels. Try to find a quiet space, perhaps in the back of the vehicle, where your laptop and work materials are easily accessible.

If you’re traveling by car or plane, of course, you won’t be able to do this, but you can use noise-canceling headphones to help you focus if you find you have work to get done while you’re en route. Likewise, you can quickly set up your own little corner office when you arrive at the hotel or rental home. The key is to have a routine that helps to signal to your brain and body that it’s time to settle down to business.

Find the Happy Medium

If you’ve decided to take advantage of the chance to travel while you work, then the last thing you will want is to spend all your time slaving over a computer. One of the most important things you can do when you’re working remotely while on the road is to set boundaries in your work life. 

Avoid the temptation to be always on-call. Instead, create a clear and consistent work routine and ensure that your colleagues understand that you will only be available during your designated working hours. When your workday has ended, shut down the computer, turn off the phone, and get out and enjoy the travel experience. This is where your hard work pays off, after all, and you deserve to enjoy it to the fullest!

The Takeaway

In many ways, the pandemic has revolutionized the way that work gets done. This means that today’s workers are no longer stuck at their desks or forced to keep close to the physical office. Instead, work can be done practically anywhere. All that’s required is the right equipment and a secure and speedy internet connection. Traveling while working remotely does take some planning, however. This includes ensuring that you have the right equipment, a workable plan for securely getting online when necessary, a dedicated workspace to keep you focused, and a predictable routine to help you disconnect and decompress when the workday is done. This means that now more than ever, remote workers who travel have an unprecedented opportunity to truly savor the fruits of their labor.  

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