1. How did you start working remotely? How did you make the switch?:
It first started around 4 years ago when I relocated around 120 miles away from my hometown. At the time, there weren’t many jobs going in the new area so I managed to cut a deal with my current employer, allowing me to work remotely for 2 days a week, and spend the other 3 days in the office.
Around the same time, I had also started freelancing in my spare time. I initially started working with local companies but this very quickly grew and I began working with companies around the UK and overseas.
2. What do you think are the main advantages of remote work?:
The main advantages to me are the flexibility of my working schedule and the fact I don’t have to waste hours of my life commuting.
It’s very depressing in the UK when you work a 9-5 job, as you end up missing all of the daylight in the winter months, and just about catching the remaining hours of the sun in the summer months. I am an early riser, so with the flexibility of working remotely, I often start work at 6 am and finish at 2 pm, meaning I have much more time in the afternoon to enjoy the nice weather.
When I used to work in the city, I would often spend my mornings sitting in traffic on the way to work. What’s usually a 10-minute journey on a quiet Sunday morning, would often become a 40-minute journey in rush hour. I’m a big podcast fan so these journeys were a great way of burning through them, but I can certainly think of better ways to spend my time than sat in traffic.
3. Do you think there are disadvantages or that you’re missing something by working remotely?:
Absolutely. I’ve always prefered working on my own but I still miss having people next to me to have a chit chat or ask for their opinion on something. Of course, there is plenty of technology to help us do this online, but it’s not quite the same.
I am very fortunate that I have my own dedicated office at home, but I really feel for the people who don’t have that extra space as it can make it very difficult to switch off if your living room or bedroom is also your working space. For me, if I do have a stressful day, I can simply walk out of the room and shut the door behind me which I find helps me wind down.
4. From what cities or countries have you worked since you have become remote? What are your favorite ones?:
I’ve worked remotely in a variety of cities in the UK when I’ve been on my travels, such as Edinburgh, Birmingham, York & Devon.
Unfortunately due to Covid, I’ve not had the opportunity to travel abroad much, but I did thoroughly enjoy working in Barcelona. It’s a beautiful city.
5. From what type of places do you prefer to work? Home, coworking spaces, coffee shops, or others? Do you have any specific place?:
For me, it has to be home. I don’t have to commute anywhere and I have a kitchen full of food! As mentioned earlier, I am very lucky that I have a dedicated office at home that I can use as my workspace. I’ve also made a conscious effort to make it an enjoyable space, with a standing desk, a comfortable office chair, and an abundance of plants.
I’d love to do my work from a coffee shop as you see on Instagram or in the movies, but I can’t deal with background noise and I would not be able to stop myself from buying a slice of cake every few hours.
6. What places would you like to travel to while working remotely?:
I’ve heard that Portugal and Barbados have great digital nomad visa systems in place so I would love to try one of those. The great thing about my job is that all I need is a stable internet connection. I deal with most of my clients over email so the timezone difference wouldn’t be much of a problem.
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!:
My advice would be to experiment until you find what works for you. Everyone is different. I’m the sort of person who likes to wake up early and get all of their work out of the way. Other people prefer to enjoy their mornings and get started with work later in the day. I tend to tweak my routine depending on the time of the year. As in the winter, we have very limited hours of daylight so I like to get out and walk the dog before it gets dark.
8. What tools do you use and are your favorites to work remotely?:
My two favorite tools are Slack and Asana. They both offer great flexibility and allow me to easily communicate and manage projects with various freelancers and clients.
9. How do you manage your business and taxes as a remote working professional?:
As I am based in the UK and so are most of my clients, managing my taxes is very easy. I currently use Freeagent for managing my invoices, tax, and VAT.
10. What advice would you give to people looking to work remotely and companies making the remote switch?:
Think about what you need to be productive and enjoy your remote working. If you are someone that wants flexibility with your working hours, be sure to make that one of your priorities when approaching your boss or when looking for a remote role. Or you might be more interested in their approach to virtual team-building with regular catch-up calls etc.
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