Ever wondered what working remotely is really like? Do you really work in your PJs? How do you even get started?
In this post, blogger Mairin Hill from A Globe Trot spills her insider facts on working remotely…
It probably sounds super boring to get a Masters of Accountancy in Taxation, work as an auditor, and be an accountant generally. And let me tell you, there are parts of it that certainly are. But on the other hand, my career as an accountant has provided me with a flexible work setup where I work 5,000 miles and seven hours away from the rest of my team.
No one has any idea if I am working from my flat in London, a chalet in the Swiss Alps, or the beach in Dubai. And as long as I get my work done, it totally doesn’t matter.
Here are the five questions I am most commonly asked about working remotely:
How did you get started working remotely?
Obviously working remotely isn’t an option in every career (I don’t think there’s a way to work it out if you are a waitress), but I have always prioritized flexibility in making career-related choices.
I worked for a boutique tech advisory firm in New York City that I chose in large part because of their laid back and flexible vibe (they set themselves apart from most accounting firms in New York in this way being headquartered in Palo Alto). My husband got a job offer in London after I had worked there for a year, so I went to my bosses and asked if there would be a way to continue to work with them. Because I had proved my worth to them through working a more traditional schedule of going into the office day after day, they decided they would rather have me stick with them across the pond than have me quit when I moved to London. And so my journey as an independent contractor began!
What is the most difficult aspect of working remotely?
It can be very isolating to sit by yourself in front of a computer all day while your team is sleeping in another time zone. It is difficult to meet people and make friends in a new city when you don’t go into an office and grab lunch with coworkers. Sometimes you can be forgotten on the other side of the world, and sometimes expectations can get fudged when you don’t see your boss for a year. But I still think it is worth it.
Do you work in your pajamas (i.e., what’s it really like)?
I totally do. I love that I don’t have to set an alarm to be able to get ready before work. I can wake up, get to work immediately, eat some breakfast after I have sent off a few emails and ticked some items off my to-do list, and step out for an errand here or there if I need to. I get ready for the day when my focus wanes and I need a break. It gives me a good opportunity to recharge and get back to work with a clear head afterward. Now more than ever, I think all offices should have showers!
How did you get a visa to work abroad?
I was lucky enough to be sponsored by my husband’s firm since they were moving us over here from America. If you want to move to another country to work, you will need a visa to do so, and that can be a bit tricky. If you really can work from anywhere, you can stay in most countries up to 90 days without a visa, so you could move around every couple of months and really see the world!
How can I get started working remotely?
First things first: you need to pick a career where it is possible to get work done on the computer, over calls, where you don’t actually need to be face to face with the people you are working with. Accounting is a great example of that.
Secondly, although there may be companies out there that want to hire you to work remotely from the get go, my guess is that most would offer this to someone they knew and trusted and wanted to retain. So it is important to prove yourself and produce good work so that your bosses will be happy to offer you this level of flexibility.
Lastly, you will never have an opportunity if you don’t ask for it, so don’t be scared to have the conversation!
Do you work remotely? Share your experience in the comments below!