Prior to becoming digital nomads, most of our "professional" jobs were typical 9-5's (although always ended up being more hours) working in a cubicle or small office with a long commute. Even with different jobs and different companies, being inside stuck at a desk was always hard for us. The ration of vacation time was never enough either, most people negotiate for more money when accepting a new position, I on the other hand, ALWAYS negotiated for more time off. We were always dreaming up ways we could travel and work at the same time (being that we're not independently wealthy and we didn't win the lottery, not working is not an option). We are both fortunate that we have the ability to work remotely and now that we have been on the road for a few months, we have come to really appreciate the ability to be location independent,. We recognize though that despite its many benefits, it does have some downsides too.
Here are 5 benefits of working remotely:
2. An Office With A View
At our last office jobs, I worked in a small windowless office and Kevin worked in a cubicle surrounded by 100 more cubicles. Nothing to look at and no connection to the outdoors, if you didn't leave the office for lunch you would have no idea if it rained, snowed, was sunny or lousy out. Now we have an office with a constantly changing view. With our huge windows, sunlight is always pouring in and we get to work watching the ocean crash, taking in a sunset, on a lake, in the mountains, or in the middle of a forest. How can you beat that?
3. Having A Delicious Lunch
While you always have the best intentions to meal prep and bring your own lunch to work (to save some $$, to eat healthy etc) sometimes you just don't have time or don't feel like eating what you brought. Now that we have a kitchen 5 steps away from us and have access to anything and everything in the fridge, we cook or prepare our lunches every day. In fact, lunch is often our best meal of the day and taking the time to make it is a nice break from work. We are able to eat healthy while keeping our budget in check.
4. Variety of Working Spaces
Oh, the many places we work. Despite living in a 30 foot RV, we have way more options for our work days than we had in an office. We rotate working at our workstation (flip up desk), dining table, in bed, on the couch or our favorite, outside. And sometimes if we just need to take a break from Wanda, get better WiFi and have some human contact, we pack up and head to a local coffee shop.
5. Zero Commute
We both love that we no longer have to fight through traffic, weather and road conditions to get to work. Living on Long Island our commutes were usually long and torturous. It's so nice to not stress every day over the drive to/from work and have the ability to use that time to take a walk or hang outside.
On the flip side, here are 5 pitfalls of working remotely:
1. Hard To "Leave It At the Office"
We have both discovered that it is harder to step away from working for the day or week when you live in your office. When working at our office jobs, we tried to always leave any problems/issues at the office when we left so we could enjoy our time off. That has become a little tricky. I have found that I am more available and responsive to my boss and clients on off hours than I used to be. As a result, we sometimes feel like we work all the time. It's definitely a balance we are still trying to figure out.
2. Internet Speed
Despite all our options for connecting to the internet (WeBoost, WiFiRanger, Verizon MiFi, tethering off our cellphones) we still struggle with slow internet pretty often. Downloads crawl, sometimes I can't access my employer's network and working on multiple applications at once with a bad connection has led to a couple of computer crashes. While we try to plan ahead a bit and try to make sure we are somewhere with good reception and signals on work days it's unpredictable. While we rarely have been without any connection, everything takes longer which can get frustrating.
3. Lack of Face to Face Interaction with Colleagues/Clients
Kevin and I are together pretty much all the time, in this tiny house. If we are at a quiet campsite or boondocking it can get lonely and boring. We both miss being able to see and talk with our colleagues and clients in person. Sure I talk to them on the phone, but there is something to be said about face to face communication and the connection you get from it.
We move every few days, so there are always new trails to hike, new places to explore and things to see. It can be hard to reign in the desire to go out and explore in favor of sitting in front of the computer working. And there are other distractions to contend with, friendly neighbors wanting to chat, the dogs carrying on because they want to go outside or sometimes it's just noisy and hard to focus.
I am a snacker, I will choose a snack over a meal any day. And while we like the access to be able to make our lunches, it means we are also 5 steps away from all our food at all times. Understandably, this tends to result in some mindless snacking. Out of sight out of mind is not an option so some stronger willpower is required.
Overall, we really like the freedom and flexibility of being able to work from anywhere. We will take the good with the bad if it means we can keep traveling.
Do you like working at home or prefer working in an office? Let us know in the comments below.
By: Ashley Quiambao