For us, working remotely doesn't mean you're on a beach chair, checking emails while working on the perfect tan. It means finding a quiet spot with really fast wifi. Erin works for a software company, and Spencer works in the renewable energy industry. We both have frequent meetings and calls that require a professional setting. So when there are chickens clucking or dogs barking outside on the street, we close the windows and move on hoping the noise doesn't carry. And we really enjoy our weekends.
How We Set Ourselves Up To Work Remotely...
1. Our most important requirement is fast, reliable internet access. So before we settled on an apartment to live in Mexico, we had our landlord run an internet speed test. The one I'd recommend is speedtest.net. To join and run meetings, screen sharing, video streaming, and conference calling, I need an upload speed of at least 3MBPS and a download speed of at least 5MBPS. We confirmed our apartment met those requirements before deciding on this place.
2. Setup all of the online tools that you'll need for communicating with clients and coworkers. For meetings with clients, I use GoToMeeting. For internal conversations, we mostly use Google video and chat.
3. Make sure that everyone in your office knows how to reach you, and what hours you'll be online.
4. Always be available. It's important for people to be confident that they can reach you. When I start work in the morning, the first thing I do is sign into my Google hangouts. That way everyone in my office can see I'm online.
5. Set up a Google voice account and port it to your cell phone. This is one of the best discoveries - you can make free international calls to the USA from anywhere in the world through your gmail account. Take it one step further and create a google voice account, port your number to your cell phone. Any calls will be automatically forwarded to your computer.
6. My office IT guy ported my office extension to my Google voice number. Now, any client who calls my office and dials my extension will be connected to me directly. I've been getting calls frequently, and it's super easy to connect this way.
On The Road We Stay Connected...
1. People want to know that nothing is different than it would be if you were in the office. So stay connected, schedule meetings with coworkers, and always be available.
2. Again, I love Google voice! It's the coolest thing. Any client can reach me at any time. Plus, our parents are kind of thrilled they can call us as if we were in the States.
3. Have a back up plan. What would you do if the wifi in your apartment cuts out for a few hours? What about if your computer kicks the bucket? If people in the office can do it, I need to be able to do it as well.
4. Have multiple back up devices (an extra computer and an iPad) in case one craps out.
5. Set up Skype in case Google Voice isn't available.
6. Find a bunch of great coffee shops with quick internet speeds. It's really good to get out of the house and set up in a different location once in awhile. Plus, you might meet some other digital nomads as well.
7. Stay in the same time zone as your office. My office is MST, and my new location is CST. I keep the same hours as my coworkers in Colorado, but have the benefit of connecting with client in EST earlier in the day.