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Tag Archives: tips for working in another state

The COVID pandemic has changed the way we work in myriad ways. Many people are still working from home (WFH) either part-time or full-time, and some have decided that this is the method they prefer. Many of our meetings have moved online, through platforms such as Zoom, Skype, or Google Hangouts. Instead of flying across the country for business trips, people are opting for virtual chats instead (often saving time and saving the company hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars). And there’s another change that has become quite popular:

Working from a location other than your home or office.

Last year, many people opted to work out-of-state or out of the country for weeks, or even months, at a time. They reasoned, “If I can do all my work from home, why can’t I do the same work from an oceanside cottage in Florida? Or near the Rocky Mountains in Colorado? Or from an eco-tourism lodge in Costa Rica?”

And, why not? If you’ve proven that you can complete all your work from a home office, why couldn’t you pack up and work somewhere else for a while? Working from a new location can be energizing and give you a much-needed productivity boost. It’s healthy to have a change of scenery every once in a while (especially if you’re stuck inside during a long winter, like we often are in Minnesota!). I usually bring my work to my home state of Delaware and work remotely there; and my assistant spent six weeks last winter working in Florida and Alabama.

However, if you decide to work remotely in a location that isn’t your home, you do face several unknowns. To help make your remote working experience run smoothly, here are a few tips:

Scope Out Office Essentials

When you’re considering renting a house, apartment, or hotel for an extended stay, it is crucial to investigate the essential components that make your work possible. Does the rental have enough space to comfortably accommodate you and whoever you’re traveling with? Is there enough desk or table space for you (and any travel mates) to do your work? Is there Wi-Fi, and how fast and reliable is it? Lastly: Is it quiet?

You can glean much of this information from either the renter (sites like AirBnB and VRBO allow you to have direct communication with the renter) or from reviews of the rental property. If, for instance, several people indicate that there is a lot of street noise, that’s definitely a red flag! You should also consider whether you’ll be sharing a wall with another renter, or if you’ll be part of an apartment complex or duplex. It’s difficult to predict how noisy or respectful your neighbors will be.

Rent Long-Term

Many rental listings offer deep discounts for month-long rentals. If you’re on a budget, it’s a good idea to opt for a long-term rental.

Have a Food Plan

How often will you be eating out or ordering takeout? How often will you be staying in and cooking? If you’re staying somewhere long-term, you’ll likely need access to a well-stocked kitchen. If the items in your rental’s kitchen are not listed, it’s a good idea to ask the leaser about specific items.

Furthermore, it’s smart to scope out nearby restaurants and grocery stores before putting money down on a rental. Having easy access to quality food could turn your work vacation from good to great!

Drive Instead of Flying

Even though flying is quicker, driving allows for greater flexibility. You can bring important items from home (an external monitor, for example, or favorite board games). You can even bring the family dog, provided the rental unit is pet-friendly!

Not only that, but you’ll save yourself the hassle (and money!) of having to rent a vehicle once you arrive at your destination. Even if you’re hoping to opt for public transit and ride share programs, having a car on hand is a good idea anyway, in case of emergencies.

There are some limitations to this tip, of course, such as if you’re planning to travel internationally. In which case…

If Traveling Abroad, Do Your Homework

Before working in a foreign country, it pays to do a little research to familiarize yourself with the currency, language (even learning a few phrases is helpful and shows respect!), and customs. You’ll also want to pick a rental unit that is easily accessible and is relatively close to a grocery store, pharmacy, and clinic/hospital. And don’t forget to bring your power adapter/voltage converter! The last thing you want is to blow out your work laptop by plugging it into an outlet that uses a different voltage.

Remember: You can always buy some necessities once you arrive at your destination. To lighten your travel load, consider leaving behind extra toiletries (sunscreen, lotion, etc.), unnecessary articles of clothing, or towels (which your rental probably has anyway).

If you usually use an external monitor for your work, it may be difficult to go without one for a long stretch of time. Consider purchasing a portable monitor, or buying a (new or used) external monitor once you arrive at your destination.

Lastly, make sure your phone will function abroad! Many carriers do offer coverage in foreign countries. Talk to you carrier about how to do this. In some cases, you’ll have to buy a special SIM card upon arrival.

Working from a location that isn’t your home takes a little extra planning, but it is usually worth it! The change of scenery is great for energizing and motivating you, and can help you get out of the WFH rut. Pick a few top choices, do some research, and start planning your remote work getaway!

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY (AND DEEPER DISCOVERY) LICENSED PRACTITIONER, AND FOUNDER OF UXL. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. 
CHECK OUT MARGARET’S ONLINE LEADERSHIP COURSE. 

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