Eryn Peters works as a core team member (full time employee) as a Sales Engineer at Toptal. Toptal is an elite network of freelance developers and designers. You can follow her on Twitter, LinkedIn or on her blog
1. Which are the main advantages that you find by working remotely?
The main advantage of working remotely, to me, is that you have the freedom to work where you feel most productive. Whether I want to visit family for special occasions, be on a beach in Southeast Asia, or fly in for a conference or public speaking engagement, nothing is stopping me from being both successful and motivated. I get to be present for incredible experiences without sacrificing my career.
2. Do you think you have disadvantages or that you’re missing something by working remotely?
One of the main troubles I have with being a digital nomad is the feeling of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). It’s hard to not have a core group to share specific events with. You’re missing things from the office and back home whenever you turn around. The ability to be anywhere adds the stress of not being everywhere.
3. From which cities or countries have you worked since you have become remote? Which has been your favorite one?
I’ve mostly been working from South America (Uruguay, Argentina, Bolivia, Peru) for the past few months but will be working from Europe throughout the summer of 2016 and Southeast Asia in the fall.
My favourite city to work from so far is definitely Cusco, Peru. The internet is shockingly reliable, there’s so many great cafes and patios and hidden gardens to work from where you can be fully connected. So many tourists pass through on their way to other destinations, but it’s truly a hidden gem when it comes to being a digital nomad.
4. From which type of place do you prefer to work from? Coworking spaces, coffee shops or others? Do you have any specific place?
My job is very call heavy. I’m speaking with clients all day and qualifying their needs while advising on new projects, so I need to be very selective with the places that I work. Loud cafes and restaurants aren’t sufficient for both a good WiFi connection that is able to sustain calls and a quiet/professional environment.
I love to find co-working spaces since they typically offer call booths and conference rooms alongside kitchens and the wonderful networking opportunities. I’ve also found that being selective in your accommodations can be incredibly valuable. Have a good connection from home with a great view on a patio? It’s like being on vacation while being a boss at work.
5. Which places would you like to travel to -from where you would enjoy and work from- as a remote worker?
I’ve always wanted to check out Chiang Mai. I hear there’s consistently a strong population of digital nomads and has a great sense of community.
6. What would you say to the companies that don’t believe on hiring employees who work remotely?
Don’t underestimate the power of freedom.
One of the things that draws employees to remote jobs the most is the freedom to be productive on their own terms. There’s an entrepreneurial aspect to working remotely that allow employees to feel as though they are in control of their own success. You’ll often find that those who are able to work remotely will put in more hours of productivity than those who are chained to a desk waiting for the next coffee break. It’s more profitable to be flexible.
7. Which tools do you use to work remotely?
Less is more!
If you work remotely from home, definitely invest in the luxuries that will make your life easier. Second screens, a large pair of mic’d headphones, cozy slippers.
If you’re moving or travelling often, these extras are really cumbersome to lug around.
Three vitals that I’ve come to love:
External Battery Packs – enough to charge both your phone and your laptop on the go, on a bus ride, plane, cafe with limited plugs, park
Noise Cancelling Microphone Headset – It’s great to have noise cancelling headsets for planes, but something we often forget is that people on the other end of your conversation get all the sound and feedback from the espresso machine in an emergency cafe stop. Having a noise cancelling microphone is sometimes more important that cancelling on your earpiece.
Universal Power Bar – I don’t know how many times this has saved me from getting grey hair. I travel with a power bar that accepts any universal plug and has 4 USB ports. Often in hotel rooms there’s only one plug near a bed or a desk and it’s used up by a lamp. This way you can still have light and charge your laptop, headset, tablet, phone, and camera at once.
8. How do you manage your business and taxes as remote working professional?
Hire an expert!
Being Canadian adds an interesting twist to being a digital nomad. We are not exempt from income taxes as some US citizens are when travelling out of the country for a year. Being sure you aren’t cutting corners and putting yourself at risk of losing provincial healthcare is so important.
*Bonus – they usually know what kinds of expenses you can claim to offset other travel expenses.
9. What advice would you give to people looking to work remotely?
Don’t be afraid of change.
I quit my non-remote job, sold my house/car/belongings, and booked a one-way ticket to Uruguay. While this was terrifying, it also led me to some of the most amazing experiences I’ve had in my entire life. I’m in a career that I love with a company that I truly believe will shape the way remotes work globally.
Even small changes can lead to huge amounts of growth. Embrace the uncomfortable.