1. How did you started working remotely? How did you make the switch?:
I left my old job in 2012 to launch a start up. Whilst that was being built I decided to freelance from home. I ended up being such a successful freelancer that I carried on freelancing instead of launching the start up and I’m still freelancing from home in 2020.
It was never an intentional choice but it’s one of the best decisions that I’ve made.
I tend to only work from home at the moment but before my son was born two years ago I would travel the world working.
2. What do you think are the main advantages of remote work?:
The freedom to do it anywhere but more importantly the freedom to do it at any time. For example, on the day of writing this I was at the hospital for a baby scan with my fiancé and I didn’t have to ask permission to do it. My emails could wait until I got back and I’m just working later to make up for the work I missed.
At my old company it would have been a big deal asking for time off for a baby scan.
3. Do you think there are disadvantages or that you’re missing something by working remotely?:
I tend to find that working remotely leads me to working longer hours. When I worked at a company, when I was finished for the day, I was finished for the day. Since I’ve been a remote worker it’s not been usual for me to work 16 hour days.
4. From what cities or countries have you worked since you have become remote? What are your favorite ones?:
India, South Africa, Italy, France, Germany, Thailand, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Spain, Sweden, Barbados, Australia, China, Romania, Holland, Belgium, Malta, Scotland, Wales and England.
Mumbai is a crazy place and I loved it there. Cape Town is beautiful and Lake Garda was one of the most relaxing places I’ve been. I’d highly recommend all three.
5. From what type of places do you prefer to work? Home, coworking spaces, coffee shops or others? Do you have any specific place?:
When I’m in England I’ll only work from home. When I travel I will normally work from my room early in the morning or in the evening and if I have to get something urgent done during the day then I’ll work from the hotel bar.
6. What places would you like to travel to while working remotely?:
I was supposed to go to Poland this year but that got cancelled due to the pandemic. That’s definitely on my list. Because Lake Garda was so beautiful I want to visit Lake Como too.
Assuming the world is OK to travel in 2021 I’ll spend a few weeks at the above places then for sure.
7. What advice would you give to overcome the main challenges of working remotely? Share your remote productivity, communication, management, etc. tips based on your experience!:
Work out if you are a morning or an afternoon person. I try to get my most challenging work done of a morning because that’s when my brain functions best. It’s much easier to plan your days when you know when you are most productive.
DO NOT move to the middle of nowhere. It may be good for a short period of time but in the long term, to be happy you need to be close to people for sociability. I say that as the world’s biggest introvert. I lived in a quiet place and not having friends around me that I could see made me feel isolated and depressed. When I moved back to London and was surrounded by people I became happy again.
If you are stressed or feeling down – go for a walk to a green space. This is proven to help depression and it made a big impact on my life.
Say no. I get requests to do so many things and I’m only able to stay productive by saying no to anything that takes more time than it’s worth. This is the same for clients. I turn down a lot of clients every week because they show signs in their initial communications of being needy and I don’t have time to be on the phone to someone every day.
8. What tools do you use and are your favorites to work remotely?:
Shameless plug here – but I created Working Den to help people overcome the challenges that working from home causes. It’s a totally free site and I’ve received hundreds of messages from people thanking me for creating the site as it has had a positive impact on them.
The two tools that I use on Working Den on a daily basis are the Pomodoro Timer and the Eye Strain Warnings.
9. How do you manage your business and taxes as a remote working professional?:
I have an accountant in the UK who looks after all of my taxes.
I conduct my business mostly through email. I tend to avoid calls or video conferences because I don’t find them to be productive. Normally what takes 30 minutes to discuss on a call can be answered in a few lines on an email.
10. What advice would you give to people looking to work remotely and companies making the remote switch?:
Everyone is different and for that reason, everyone has to approach it differently. The only thing that we all have in common is that we are social beings and therefore we need to speak to other people. Do not, therefore, lose contact with your friends and try to make time for socializing.
Outside of that, take care of your health and mental health by getting regular exercise and stretch regularly. People don’t realize just how important stretching is if you are sitting in front of a computer all day!
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