I spend a lot of time talking about working from a home office. I even co-host a podcast called Biz Buddies for Virtual Professionals that focuses on tips and helps for those who provide virtual services from their home offices. What I don’t talk about as often is one of the best perks of having a virtual services business (and a great bonus for clients of said business); the ability to work from pretty much anywhere. And since my office is located in a corner of my daughter’s living room sofa in the snowy woods of southern Maine right now, it somehow seemed appropriate that it be the topic of conversation today.
When you provide services virtually, it’s entirely possible to be a digital nomad, never needing a set physical office space. In fact you’ll find stories about plenty of people that make a living by living the nomadic life. Although digital nomadism probably isn’t an option for most us, it doesn’t mean we can’t take advantage of the ability to travel and still do business as usual. It simply requires a little planning and maybe a few nifty tools to set up your home office away from home.
Research your destination. The first thing you’ll want to do is research your travel destination. This is probably best done at the same time you start planning your trip in general. Find out what kind of internet access is available. Is it reliable? Is it public wifi? Where will you set up your portable office? Will you be working from a hotel room? Is there a coffee shop or co-working space that might offer you a more enjoyable experience than said hotel room? Visiting family? Do they have a space where you can work with a minimum of distraction? And again, if not, is there somewhere locally that can serve as your office during working hours? Do you have access to a printer if that is a requirement? What activities will you want to take part in at your destination and during what hours will you be doing so?
Plan ahead. Once you’ve done the research it’s time to plan. If the only internet connection is public wifi, you may want to consider bringing your own connection. Many smart phones today are capable of becoming a private wifi hotspot as an addition to your regular cell phone plan. If your phone doesn’t have that capability there are small MiFi devices that will do the trick. If your workspace is going to be limited, taking along a lapdesk might be helpful, especially if you may be making the corner of someone’s living room couch your temporary office. If a printer is a must and there isn’t one available at your destination, perhaps a small mobile printer would be a wise investment.
Communicate. You may decide you want to see the sights or attend an event during hours when you might normally be working. If that’s the case, you can probably adjust your working hours, starting work early in the morning before any outings and then resuming work in the evenings. If you have clients who are used to you being available and responding to them during certain hours, you may want to let them know what your temporary schedule is going to be. In my experience, communication is key in successfully balancing work and enjoying your destination.
While becoming a digital nomad may not be in your future, not needing to wait for a vacation to travel is a wonderful perk of the virtual services field. By researching, planning ahead and communicating with your clients you can continue to provide stellar services and enjoy travel destinations or holidays with family at the same time.
Last Updated December 17, 2013