An Insider Spills on Working Remotely

posted in: Careers | 4

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.

Casual day in the office - Mairin at the Isle of Skye in Scotland!
Casual day in the office – Mairin at the Isle of Skye in Scotland!

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!

Mairin is able to travel to places like Dubai without it impacting her work - now that's freedom...
Mairin is able to travel to places like Dubai without it impacting her work – now that’s freedom…

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.

The hardest things about working remotely are easier to deal with when this is your view... Mairin in Lauterbrunnen in Switzerland!
The hardest things about working remotely are easier to deal with when this is your view… Mairin in Lauterbrunnen in Switzerland!

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!

Stepping out to do errands, or to explore! Mairin in Bergen, Norway!
Stepping out to do errands, or to explore! Mairin in Bergen, Norway!

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!

Mairin keeping warm in Glen Coe, Scotland!
Mairin keeping warm in Glen Coe, Scotland!

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!

What have you got to lose? Mairin in Interlaken, Switzerland!
What have you got to lose? Mairin in Interlaken, Switzerland!

Do you work remotely? Share your experience in the comments below!

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4 Responses

  1. tripdontfall

    I work for a hospital remotely as a medical coder. I love it because it supports volunteering and travel and I absolutely do work in my PJs! 😉 I get way more accomplished and am less stressed than when I had to commute 60 miles in to a hospital to work on site. I also save the time, gas money, wear and tear on my vehicle, and parking costs. Yay! Thus far, I have just used PTO for my travels and depending on how it is staggered, I work extra a few weeks in advance to bank up extra hours for the time I will be off. For longer term travel that I plan to do at the end of the year, I am still undecided on how to go about it. I feel obligated to give them an “FYI I’m going to be in ____ country for 3 months”, but as I literally *never* have to go into the office now and any meetings are done over webinars anyways, how would they know anyway? I recently asked HR if I had to go with my husband out of town would it be an issue and they said as long as your manager doesn’t care they don’t, but would want to know the city so local taxes are taken out appropriately. Kinda why I don’t want to mention it, because my address will still be my home address, as the relocation would only be temporary. Anyone have any input, tips, or suggestions on it? Thanks! 😉

    P.s. Loved the post! Thanks!

    • Melanie van Egdom

      I love that you work in your PJs!! Talk about comfortable!! It really does sound like the best of everything to start working remotely and hopefully going into the future, with all of this new technology, more companies will start taking advantage of the possibilities and allow their employees this choice!

      Oh wow I didn’t realise that the taxes would be affected, I thought that it is based from your residential address from where all work is undertaken. Because you have people who usually work in offices who fly to different countries on business yet I am sure that those hours there are still taxed according to their home country’s taxation laws… that’s very interested and worth looking into!

      I think that the one of the things that would make me want to tell the country each time that I travelled (and completed work overseas) would be the fact that they might be able to track where you are (though IP addresses? I don’t know how it all works really..) and I wouldn’t want them to consider that I have done something wrong in not telling them, and thus jeopardise my employment (or their trust in me).

      Thanks for your comment and your kind words lady!! 🙂

    • Mairin

      That is SO interesting about the state taxes! Even working for an accounting firm in the states I never encountered this problem when traveling to other states for work. I am sure different states have different laws, so you may just want to look it up if it looks like your husband will be traveling to a certain state for an extended period of time, and certainly many states do not require you to pay taxes if you simply do your work there for a few weeks so you wouldn’t have to worry about it. Of course I would never want to tell you to evade taxes, but a week here or a week there has to be immaterial!

      • Melanie van Egdom

        Oh wow I never even thought about that either! I have wondered how some of the travel bloggers manage their own obligations with their country of origin’s tax system and what they are expected to do there. Interesting!

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