One of the really amazing things about working as part of the millennial generation is that many of us do at least some of our work remotely. This is awesome for many reasons — you can work in your PJs, you can work when you’re most energetic, and you can potentially work wherever you want to.
True story: a few years ago, I went to Athens for a week for New Years and my boss had no idea. Now that I work for myself, I travel for weeks and even months at a time while still working as normal — most of my clients have no idea I’ve even switched countries. You can definitely do it too, but if you’re a work-travel virgin, it’s good to get a little know how before that first time so that you can actually enjoy it. So, separate yourselves by gender and break out your Trapper Keepers®, because here’s your very own version of sex ed for work-travel virgins. Minus the STD pics, because that’s just gross.
So how do you make that first time toe curlingly good? I’ve got seven tips for you.
1. Have realistic expectations.
If you expected your first time to be all soft-focus lights, 36 different positions, and a complete lack of awkwardness, chances are you were disappointed (and if you expected that and weren’t disappointed, then you really have to tell me that story.)
Working while you’re traveling goes the same way. Like sex, it’s awesome, but never exactly what you expected before you started doing it. So go into the whole process knowing that there may be issues, scheduling conflicts, and “Am I doing this right?” moments.
2. Communicate as much as you can beforehand.
Like your string of fabulously attractive lovers, hotels and hosts don’t know what you want if you don’t tell them. Not communicating very, very clearly before you get things rolling is going to cause problems.
If you’re going to be staying at a hotel, e-mail them ahead of time to ask about the Internet connection, the electricity supply if they’re somewhere where that’s an issue, the voltage levels, if they have a curfew, and absolutely anything else at all that you can think of that might affect your work. Specifics are important here: “We have a high-speed Internet connection” isn’t good enough. Talk Mbps and wireless vs. LAN. Talk the type of router they have, and its location in the building relative to your room. Get details, people.
If you’re staying with people you know or are doing a house share thing like Airbnb, the same thing still goes. Open communication about your needs and schedule will save you tons of stress and awkwardness down the road.
One thing about this: don’t be a jerk about it. All you have to do is preface your questions with something like “I work online, so I wanted to ask you a few things…” or “Just so you know, I’ve got a project that I have to work on while I’m visiting, so count me out on margaritas one night.”
In the next post, I’ll talk “equipment and safety“, because although you’re really unlikely to get an unwanted pregnancy by unsafe work-travel, you can still get into some equally scary situations. In the meantime, any work-travel virgins out there? What questions do you have? Or for those of you who are a little more experienced, how was your first time?
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