Have you ever dreamed of putting your toe in the water and working abroad in a sunny, relaxed place for a few weeks a year, or even working away on a permanent basis? If you’re hearing the call from your dream beach location, then you could work from there.
Here is what you will need to help you work successfully from your dream location, told by Mike Ianiri from Equinox.
Connecting to the internet
Unless you have WiFi that can reach from your home to the beach you’ll need a 4G connection and be able to tether via your phone.
If you are travelling for a short period, check the price of buying data locally. Sometimes it is cheaper to buy your data in the UK and sometimes it is cheaper locally. If your mobile contract comes with a lot of data, review their roaming policies. Outside the EU, most UK operators charge £5 per day to use your contract data. This may give you what you need.
Remember, you will be backing up your data online, as well as accessing your apps and email. Ensure you take that into consideration when working out how much data you need.
Selecting the right devices
No more heavy laptops! An Apple MacBook or Microsoft Surface Pro or something similar will be easy to carry. Just be careful about the sand. For a sturdier option look at the Dell Rugged Extreme range, but be prepared – they aren’t cheap!
Take care before you buy. You’ll need something reliable that can be repaired locally if necessary. It must also be able to cope with the sort of work you are doing and the software you’ll need to run. Remote working is likely to mean you’ll be accessing the Cloud at lot, and you may also have several programs running at once. This means that choosing something with a decent amount of RAM is important. A good-sized hard drive or one that connects to an extra external hard drive is important for extensive offline working.
Without a plug socket anywhere close, you’ll need a powerbank. To help you choose the right one, answer the following:
- How many devices do you want to be able to charge from the powerbank? Charging your phone once or twice will be possible from most, but if you’re looking to keep your laptop charged as well, you’ll need a larger capacity device.
- What devices are you charging? Powerbanks come with a variety of outlet sockets, but they’re not all the same.
- How strong are you? Some of the high capacity powerbanks weigh 1kg or more. That’s more than the weight of the Surface Pro and not far short of the 13inch Powerbook Pro
- Which airline will you use? Many airlines ban the really high capacity powerbanks, so make sure to check the airline rules and regulations if you are a frequent flyer.
Security of data
Working in remote locations, particularly if it is only for a short period of time, can raise security concerns. If devices are stolen it means a major data security nightmare. Data breaches on devices that contain Personally Identifiable Information (PII) for EU citizens need to be reported to the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) within 72 hours. You also must tell the people affected.
Talk to your IT Manager or IT support company about Mobile Device Management (MDM), biometrics or two-factor authentication (2FA) before you go. You want to be able to secure your devices and be able to remotely wipe them, should the need arise.
Getting the telecoms you need
You need to think carefully about how you set up your phones for the countries you need to call. Your mobile is certainly not your best option, even if it is one of the easiest devices to take to the beach.
A VoIP-based solution with a softphone on your laptop and/or your smartphone handset may be the best solution. SIP trunk connections to other countries where you do a lot of business will mean you’re only ever making local calls, rather than calling at international rates. You can even keep a UK landline number – so clients never need to know you’re on the beach rather than at your old desk.
Keeping up productivity
The range of tools to help you with productivity continues to grow. Instant messaging tools, such as Slack, Google’s Hangout Chat or Hipchat are all free or have free versions.
Video-conferencing could be an alternative to using a phone if you have a good internet connection. Skype is probably the biggest name, but there are others, such as Zoom and Google’s Hangout.
To help manage your projects, Basecamp is one to consider if your projects aren’t particularly complex. Trello lets you manage a number of different projects using a ‘boards’ system. For one-stop for meetings, chat, collaborative working, file sharing and project management in one place, something like Microsoft Teams is worth looking into.
Trusting your team should be a given. If you’re going to run your business from a beach, you need to be able to trust your team back home. If you don’t, you’ll be spending a lot less time enjoying the beach than you anticipated.
It won’t matter how good your telecoms or your productivity apps are, if your team aren’t working with you it will be tricky. Most of the apps listed above will track when, and sometimes where, entries are made, so you can see if your team are working if this is something you need for reassurance.
The technology is available to help you make your move and it is also constantly getting better. Some locations make it simpler than others to make the move but with planning, you can make it happen – and then you can live the dream!
More on working remotely and staff management.
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