1. How did you started working remotely?
I was making the switch to move to Germany from Spain and had to return home (to Singapore) for the visa application process. Not knowing how long it would be before I’d have to pack up and leave meant I couldn’t commit myself to a full-time, on-site job. I began searching for freelance positions and that’s what pretty much kicked off my remote working and digital nomad lifestyle.
2. What do you think are the main advantages of remote work?
I’ve absolutely loved the flexible hours and the comfort of being able to just stumble out of bed and begin working straightaway, without having to dress up and commute. And given the travel nut that I am, being able to work from anywhere with a stable Wi-Fi has got to be my favourite feature of remote work!
3. Do you think there are disadvantages or that you’re missing something by working remotely?
Face-to-face interaction with other human beings and getting some outdoor fresh air are definitely certain things I miss so I do make it a point to leave the house at least once a day. My dog does come by and check on me every hour or so (especially during lunchtime) when I’m home but that’s not quite the same.
4. From what cities or countries have you worked since you have become remote?
Spain, Germany, Brussels, Vietnam, Cambodia, Turkey, Japan, Indonesia, and of course, Singapore.
Each has been absolutely lovely and it’s really hard to pick a favourite because they’re all so different but I’d probably have to say Japan. The country is so safe and everyone’s so honest that I don’t have to worry about my personal belongings being stolen (laptop, especially) when I’m moving around.
5. From what type of place do you prefer to work?
Believe or not and as boring as it sounds, in my accommodation – be it a hotel or AirBnb. I always make it a point to book accommodation with a proper work desk and chair and have the whole place to myself, even if it means having to fork out more. As much as I crave face-to-face interaction, I’m generally not a big fan of coworking spaces nor coffee shops as I need near-complete silence to focus, especially when I’m writing. And having meetings become a huge problem with the background noise and wonky Wi-Fi.
6. What places would you like to travel to while working remotely?
Where do I even begin? I’d love to hit up Central America. Scandinavian countries also come to mind, especially in the summer.
7. What would you say to the companies that don’t believe in hiring employees who work remotely?
You’re limiting yourself. Sometimes, some of the best ideas come from beyond the stipulated working hours and outside the work environment.
8. What tools do you use to work remotely?
I’ve learned not to rely on local Wi-Fi and make it a point to always travel with a portable Wi-Fi router. Plus Google Suite and Chrome, of course. Nearly all my work is done there.
9. How do you manage your business and taxes as a remote working professional?
Pretty much everything is generated and sent out online. I keep mostly soft copies of everything I need to file my taxes but also make the effort to print them out when I’m home to have hard copies – just in case.
10. What advice would you give to people looking to work remotely and companies making the remote switch?
It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. But it’s not always fun and joy. Depending on your time zone, don’t be surprised if you have meetings at 11pm that last till 1am and then have to wake up again at 4am for a webinar. It’s flexible for you but also requires a lot of flexibility from you. You may have made plans to take a day trip out but if a client needs something changed urgently, there go your plans.
As for companies, keep in mind that there are certain things that get lost in the message or simply not brought up due to remote working. I’d get employees to check in once every week or fortnight to keep face-to-face communication fluid.