Four Steps to Securing a Remote Work Setup

Remote work setups and their variants are more common than you might realize.

This is especially true in the knowledge economy. The reason countless programmers, marketers, designers, customer service professionals etc. mainly work in the office is because either a) they simply don’t question it or b) their managers say so.

If surveys are to be believed, it’s usually the latter. Many more of us would take a more remote-friendly setup if it were offered.

Well, if “remote” is your preferred setup then I have some good news.

You can tailor your job search to suss out remote-first or remote-friendly positions.

It’s easier now today than ever before.

Telecommuting is slowly but steadily entering the mainstream. Getting a work from home setup is more is, nowadays, more realistic than ever. The bad news? If you’re determined to go in this direction, you’re going to have to work a bit harder than the average job applicant.

Now, the reason I’m writing this post is because I have a lot of personal experience in interviewing companies and evaluating their approach to remote work. Yes, companies don’t just interview me. I interview them. That’s what a job interview is supposed to be. My last job wasn’t advertised as remote however, I negotiated a contract and setup I wanted.

Now, I’d like to tell you how to do the same.

Step 1 Towards a Remote Work Setup – Start with research

Researching new roles can be exciting but it can also be draining. Very draining, depending on your current frame of mind. Approaching your research in a structured manner can do a lot of good. Viewing it as a project and setting aside a few hours each day for it will ensure you get one step closer to your goal.

When researching, you have several sources to tackle.

  • Job Boards: All job boards relevant to your industry, NOT just remote ones. In fact, avoid remote job boards for now and just focus on your industry, skills and experience. Generally speaking, I think almost all of them suck and are in a desperate need of an update. However, they are an excellent source and unfortunately the best we’ve got.
  • Companies: Research companies, research roles. Create a big Excel list. Look for words like “flexible working”, “mobile working”, “work-life balance”. Note down any remote or overtly remote-friendly companies too. This is a lot more fun and tolerable than just drawling through job boards.
  • Your Network: You don’t have a network yet? Start building one. This takes time but can pay off in the future. Be active on social media. You don’t have to be glued to my smartphone (mine is mainly a portable wifi router, if I’m honest…), but a certain level of consistency and connection can go a long way.

This is your starting point. Don’t stick only to these, either. Research local companies in your field and see if they mention anything about “work-life balance” on their ads, etc. See what open positions they currently have and start to dig deeper. Now, this of course brings me to my next point…

Step 2 – Research roles

You’ve gathered your sources, now it’s time to research specific roles and see where you could theoretically see yourself as a fit. Now you’ve got your sources, it is time to start looking for actual jobs within your field or skillset. Depending on your telecommute/work environment requirements, you may have quite a lot of options to choose from.

You can use standard job boards to suss out remote roles. In this case, it’s best to use a keyword combination such as “[JOB TITLE] + “remote””, “[JOB TITLE] + “telecommute””, “[JOB TITLE] + “home-based””, etc.

Note: Check out my post on how to find remote jobs with Indeed

Go through your list of target companies on a regular basis. Even if you don’t see an open position, see if you can send an open application.

Step 3 – Start a Conversation

If you phone/email to ask a company about their policy, you’ve already started a conversation. If the answer is what you’re looking for, send a CV along or apply. Cover letters are just that: an icebreaker that introduces your experience to a company. If anything, it is a sales letter.

Depending on the feel you get for a company, it might be pertinent to ask about their work setup. Is the role office-based, but with a certain degree of flexibility? Do they only want you to be there now and then? These distinct, unfortunately, are not always clear on job advertisements. It’s annoying, yes, but there’s no harm in asking.

Note: When asking about location flexibility with specific roles, make sure to tie it in with further questions about the work in general. You’re not just looking for any old flexible job: you’re also looking for the next step in your career. You want to show your passion, motivation and how working remotely can actually help you achieve that.

 

Step 4 – Start to Negotiate

If you get to the next step of the hiring process, congratulations! Your work environment will often depend on the team you’re working with and your manager. It is in this interview that you now have the chance to…

  • Gauge what the company culture is really like. Do a lot of people work remotely, even some of the time? How used to communicating over Slack/Skype/video are your potential colleagues? Ask the right probing questions, as well as questions about the role.
  • Find out what terms and conditions you can put in the contract. What setups do other people have? Do some people work part time?

Conclusion

Finding work isn’t easy. It can be a long, hard slog and in terms of job interviews, you may kiss a lot of frogs (hopefully not literally…). You will also interview companies where you think, “Yes… This is it!” only to be rejected in favour of a candidate who may have slightly more experience or one extra skill than you.

Whatever it is, and whatever work environment you’re looking for (remote or not), you need to remember that ultimately it is up to you to get a setup that you want. There are more jobs out there than you think.

Finding Jobs on LinkedIn – How to Do It Properly

Common sense dictates that finding jobs on LinkedIn should be easy. It’s a professional networking site, after all.

It therefore stands that getting a job through the platform should also be straightforward. Especially if you want to work from home or land your next, full-time remote job.

From personal experience, I can’t say that this is true. Emphasis on personal. Jobseekers get hired through the platform every day. Yet apart from the odd freelance contract or two, it hasn’t happened to me.

Surprisingly (or perhaps not…) I’ve come to realize that telecommute options seem to be even more scarce.

While I still haven’t managed to even land an interview, something clicked with me a while back. I realized that I and every other job seeker is sitting on a potential goldmine for new opportunities. What’s more, this has nothing to do with their job search feature.

linkedin job search engine
On that note, digital nomads and remote workers may appreciate that you can exclusively search for telecommute jobs in place of location. A step in the right direction, at least.

Those who do manage to meet recruiters, land interviews and get hired through the platform are doing it differently. They go beyond simply setting up a profile and connecting with everyone they know.

They’re taking LinkedIn more seriously… as a networking platform.

NOT as a job search engine. If anything, I’ve realized…

…as a “job board”, LinkedIn sucks.

Technically, the job search feature is fine. Like I pointed out, you can actually use it to find remote-friendly, work from home jobs. However, there just aren’t that many advertised. What’s more, most of what you do discover have already been posted elsewhere (Indeed, Stepstone, Monster and on remote job boards).

For the most part, I’ve found the search feature to be somewhat redundant. The job suggestions would be useful if the jobs suggested hadn’t already been posted somewhere else.

So, remember this: LinkedIn is not a job board. It is a social networking site for professionals. A place to gather new connections, expand your network and polish your personal brand.

Finding jobs on LinkedIn starts with your network

The word network cannot be emphasised enough.

Connecting with people you know (or don’t) is certainly part of it, but that’s really just the beginning. It’s just an introduction. Real networking happens by having conversations which further serve to develop relationships with your connections.

Part of networking lies in giving – doing things for other people without expecting something in return. Endorsing skills, suggesting people for jobs you know they’re be suited to, etc.

In turn, this could very well open you up to future possibilities. Someone may return those favors. Pay it forward, or backward… I don’t know, I didn’t watch the movie.

pay it forward movie
Not enough chainsaws

Building your network can start with the basics I previously mentioned: people you know. Friends, acquaintances, people from school, old work colleagues.

You probably already have a handful of connections. What comes next is growing your network.

This could very well mean getting out there and physically meeting people at industry-related events, meetups etc. The good thing about social media, however, is that there are many other ways to grow your network without actually leaving the house.

For the remote workers and digital nomads among us, this is especially important. Just as we can do our jobs from (almost) anywhere, so can we network from (almost) anywhere.

Take a look at the following points if you really want ideas on expanding your network. Bear in mind that these points are also great for increasing your own visibility (to employers and recruiters).

Seriously, get involved in online communities

If you’re a digital nomad, you’re shooting yourself in the foot if you’re not involved in at least one thriving digital nomad community. Even if nomading isn’t your thing, joining online forums and discussion groups related to your industry (or to remote working/networking) is a great place to exchange ideas, get inspiration and yes, maybe even land a job.

You can further use these communities to build up your LinkedIn connections. If you get on with someone, don’t be shy. Ask to connect. Offer to endorse a few skills. Remember, people like it when you have something to offer (it doesn’t even have to be big).

Join LinkedIn groups

LinkedIn groups serve the same purpose as online communities, except they’re all gathered on the site. There are tonnes of communities, too. Really take the time to research them, see how active they are and what content is being shared.

Note: You can of course connect with random strangers in your industry, hiring managers, recruiters etc. But should you? Personally, I don’t. I also don’t respond to random connections, unless they write a message explaining why.

Involve yourself in discussions

On both LinkedIn and elsewhere… but especially LinkedIn. Like, comment and share content that is relevant to your industry/working style and engage with people. This gives your profile more visibility and will show off your expertise and areas of knowledge. Which recruiters and hiring managers may pick up on.

Share your own content (if you have some)

Not just your blog content – but also a few well thought-out posts or even your own articles. You can use LinkedIn Pulse to publish or even repurpose articles from your blog(s). And no, as far as I’m aware there is no duplicate content penalty.

You don’t even have to post that frequently, you just have to be consistent (and yes, I am very much failing at consistency). This isn’t Twitter (which is actually why I prefer it… too noisy for my tastes).

Really give your profile some TLC

Fill it out as much as possible, highlight relevant skills, try and get people in your network to endorse those skills… and make sure you have an interesting profile biography. It doesn’t have to be long, but it should capture the attention of the right people.

You can also let recruiters know that you’re available. Don’t worry, though: the platform keeps this information from your current employer if you’re working.

How this has helped me (so far)

I stated earlier that I still haven’t gotten an interview through LinkedIn, even though I’m currently looking for a new job. I have certainly been getting interviews, but not here. Yet I have noticed that my chances have become higher because…

  • More people are looking at my profile (this is partially because of sending around 8 job applicants a week, I’ll admit).
  • People are liking and commenting on my articles/posts and reshares.
  • I am engaging more. I’ve been using online communities to discuss aspects of remote work and have already connected with quite a few people.
  • Recruiters are approaching me.

Basically, I can see the beginnings of it happening. Just this morning, a recruiter from a company in Berlin expressed interest in my profile. That may lead to an interview if I like the job specs.

If you’re an impatient person (like I am), all of this can seem very long-winded and not really worth the effort. However, times have changed and for the most part, “jobs for life” are no longer a thing. You’re probably going to spend a lot of your career looking for new opportunities.

Building up a good network will not only serve you to land your next position (remote or not) but could very well serve you with an excellent resource for the rest of your career.

Tackling Remote Work’s Biggest (Personal) Challenge

I love remote work. It lets me be me, without getting in the way of a career I’m passionate about. Plus, the money is nice.

While I took to it like a duck to water, the same cannot be said for other people. Sure, there are benefits but it also comes with quite a few downsides.

If you’ve sat in an office for most of your professional life, switching to a work from home position is a big change. You’ve got issues with communication: forget about sauntering up to your colleague’s desk or nipping down the hall. You have to call them  (sometimes on a phone! ) or at least send a message. Even then, they may not reply but you need an answer NOW…

If you work in a globally distributed company, you may have a few time zone issues. Of course, that’s something any half-decent project manager can work around.

You may, however, be very easily distracted by housework. That certainly brings some people’s productivity down.

To top it all off, in spite of the “freedom” remote work brings… you may end up grinding more than your in-office counterparts.

But wait, there’s more!

Telecommuters find that working remotely can increase loneliness.

This affects even those of us who strongly prefer working from home.

I guess I’m a bit of an odd fish in this sense. Working on my own usually means I’ve got far more social energy than I would if I spend every day in an office, surrounding by people. Once I’ve closed my laptop, I can’t wait to get out into the world and spend some good, quality time with people.

beer hand
…and booze.

However, not everyone is wired the same way. Work often becomes a large part of most people’s social lives. In some cases, it more or less is their social life. I find this very strange because I prefer to hang out with people different to the ones I work with, but each to their own.

So, when you’re suddenly thrown into a “remote” environment and all your interactions are done via email, phone or video call… It can get very lonely very fast.

Since many of us are creatures of habit, its often difficult to break out of the cycles we find ourselves in. Suddenly, you realize you haven’t left the house or physically interacted with a single person all week.

What, then, can telecommuters do to ensure they get regular, healthy social contact? Coworking spaces can ease the burden but let’s be realistic: there might not be one near you. Or it might be ridiculously expensive.

Unfortunately, this means taking your social life into your own hands. Luckily, it’s not as difficult as you think.

Creating and maintaining a healthy social life

The good news is that maintaining active social contact and putting yourself in a position when you regularly meet new people isn’t at all that difficult. It does require that you have a bit of confidence in yourself, though. You should at least be comfortable talking to new people.

NOTE: If you want a wealth of ideas and tips on improving your social life, check out these experts tips on how to make new friends.

 

So how do you make new friends? Well, you can…

  • Join specialist interest groups. Look for Meetup groups in your area and make a commitment to actually attend them. Preferably go to groups centered around a topic that interests you. And yes, that topic can just be “drinking” if you’re as devout a barfly as I am.
  • Attending networking events. This isn’t just great for your social life. It can also do wonders for your career. Remote workers tend to be physically isolated and have fewer options when it comes to networking. This is something you need to take into your own hands.
  • You can still do a lot of it online. I’ve mentioned how digital nomad communities can help you make new friends before you arrive in a new destination. These online groups centering around remote work and the nomad lifestyle shouldn’t be your only source of networking but rather, they should complement it. Additionally, these communities are great for making contacts in your new chosen destination.

Again, don’t forget to check out the expert tips above as well! Different techniques work for different people. Additionally, consider your online networking/socializing as a complement to getting out there and interacting with the real world.

The Key to Expanding Your Social Circle: Stay active, be patient

Making new friends and connections is a lot like applying for a remote (or any!) job. You could get one tomorrow but it is more likely to take a while. It has happened to me but hitting things off with someone straight off the bat doesn’t always occur.

The key here is remaining patient and knowing that good things are around the corner. You just have to sow the seeds yourself first.

How Much? Some Top-Paying Location Independent Careers

A long time ago, I began my online career as a freelance writer (aka: in my case, “I’ll write anything for money!”).

My first jobs came from awful content mills. Later, I got my own clients – some of whom paid a pittance. Others were more generous. Eventually, I learned to ask for what I was worth.

money counting
And then I was loaded… LOADED, I tell you! (Not really.)

During this time, every project and assignment had one thing in common: I could do my work from anywhere. Admittedly, my take-home pay wasn’t huge. It didn’t matter. In those days, I was happy to cover my rent and my bar tab. Oh, and food. I also had to pay for food.

Everything I did was via email or Skype (Slack didn’t exist in those days – well, not to me anyway). Communication, corrections, outreach and client acquisition were all handled over the Internet. Okay, so you can bet that I also placed my Internet bill as equally high in importance!

welcome to the internet
My first day on the job was weird, but that’s the Internet!

Fast forward several years later and I see countless blogs and news articles talking about the benefits of working remotely. There are studies proving its effectiveness and even big companies like Stripe have openly talked about implementing a remote work policy.

There’s also a lot of press around digital nomads, those devil-may-care go-getters who live wherever they want and maintain a career. Well, okay, digital nomadism takes a lot of planning so “devil-may-care” probably isn’t the right description for these individuals.

But what’s the state of location independence these days? If you want to live and work anywhere, do you have to resign yourself to freelancing and financial insecurity? It simply begs the question…

Can you really have a location independent career that commands a high salary?

Way back when, many employers used “remote” as a reason to pay their employees less. It is still a phenomenon that sadly occurs today when talking about remote work and salary.

With more and more highly skilled and specialized work from home jobs appearing, this should no longer be the case. Anyone with a unique set of skills and years of experience can command a better pay packet and still work from wherever they please.

After doing a bit of research, I uncovered quite a few pretty surprising, high-paid (and often senior) roles that don’t require you to be in the office.

NOTE: While these high-paying, location independent careers can be found, it may take a bit of work to convince bosses to allow for any degree of remote work. But keep in mind that it is possible. In addition, your level of seniority may give you an advantage.

 

Let’s Dive in: Location Independent Careers That Pay a Bomb

Recruiter

Wait… That’s not a tech job. Nope, but not every remote job has to be in tech (despite what telecommute boards will have you believe). Even so, this job may seem like an odd choice to slap the label “telecommute” onto, but let’s hold up for a minute…

Have you ever been approached by a recruiter? If so, where did they approach you? It probably wasn’t on your way to work, or when you were at home feeding the cats/children. Most recruiters contact candidates via phone, email or (more commonly these days), social media (LinkedIn being the favorite).

So, you can bet your ass most recruiters spend a lot of their time behind a desk. They can recruit from literally anywhere… Making this a very viable remote job. Of course, it also depends on the specifics. Some recruiters work within specific areas. Others are more international in their scope (I was approached by a recruiter from Malaysia).

How much do recruiters earn? According to Workable, the average salary is US$ 45,360 per year. That’s average – it can go up to $70,000. Depending on your success level, it can be even more.

Project Manager

Project Managers work in a wealth of different industries. Yes many are in tech, but this is a job that quite literally pays people to make sure shit gets done. So, when it comes to being remote-friendly, it may not immediately seem that most suited. After all, shouldn’t a Project Manager be checking up on their colleagues, ensuring that targets and deadlines are met?

Well, think about it. How many Project Managers do you know who actually go out into the field to check if things are being done? I’m sure it happens in some industries, but for many others… It’s just not necessary. Even if the project isn’t specifically technical, Project Management is simply a title for those who run projects and coordinate workflows. They are in charge of workflows, task management, prioritization, cost proposals and ensuring execution. They should also be highly organized.

The bottom line is that most of a Project Manager’s job is based on organization and communication. There is also a lot of PM software house there which was created specifically for this role – which lends itself very well to remote work.

How much do Project Managers earn? According to FlexJobs, US$65,000-US$105,000 a year. I wouldn’t sniff at that.

Senior Business Analyst

Now we’re diving into more technical jobs. Probably one of the more droll-sounding yet highly-paid careers out there. I’m willing to bet a lot of people in this profession often have the right (or the need) to work remotely. Basically, a Senior Business Analyst makes sure that processes run smoothly: they test for bugs in software, troubleshoot technical issues and ensure that things are maintained to a specific standard.

So, as you can see, it involves a high level of technical knowledge. At the same time, you don’t need to be a full-on developer. Technical skills aside, a healthy dose of business acumen is also necessary.

Well, what about the money? FlexJobs states that the average salary for a Senior Business Analyst is $57,000 – $90,000.

UX (User Experience) Researcher

One of the “newer” tech jobs. UX Design and Research are EXPLODING at the moment. What’s handy about this profession is that it requires a lot of skills that are transferrable from other professions (such as aspects of digital and performance marketing). Specifically, UX Research analyse websites and sales processes before recommending solutions to increase customer satisfaction and increase revenue. Actually, it even goes beyond revenue – UX isn’t just for websites, it’s for just about every piece of technology handled by humans.

This job can be “fully digital”, but plenty of researchers also get together in person. Since that’s not always possible, it’s also a very viable “remote” career.

What’s the compensation? Payscale.com says EUR 46,000 per year (if you’re American, convert it yourself – I’m too lazy).

Teleradiologist

A what?

Basically, a radiologist who works remotely. Traditionally, the majority of health care jobs could only be done in a specific location. Doctors, nurses, medical specialists etc… Teleradiology is that little bit different. Their input is needed on X-rays which are normally sent to them, making it a very viable remote career.

Of course, this particular role is quite rare at the moment.

What’s the compensation? US$100,000 – $400,000 per year, apparently (thanks, FlexJobs).

DevOps Engineer

Probably the least surprising job when it comes to telecommute-friendliness. It’s an IT job. As a highly skilled profession, they work closely with software developers and other tech staff to oversee code releases. This is a role where you have to break the barriers between development, testing and operations. Basically, you hold the digital presence of a company together.

And of course, since it’s all on a computer there’s really very little need to work in an actual office.

How much $$? According to FlexJobs, the average salary is US$80,000-US$100,000.

Finding Remote Jobs on Indeed.com (It’s Surprisingly Easy)

Did you know there are probably more remote jobs on Indeed.com (and its variations) than even all remote job boards combined?

Like many job seekers across the world, the platform has always been my go-to for finding new jobs. That wasn’t the case when I decided I specifically wanted a work at home position. In fact, I threw it on the backburner and forgot about it. I focused only on platforms like Remotive, RemoteOK and Working Nomads.

That was a mistake.

While I got an interview here and there, I quickly realized that I was at a disadvantage. First, I’m not based in the United States: unfortunately, the majority of roles on work at home sites prefer those based in either the US or Canada. Secondly, with so much competition your chances of actually getting an interview are slim.

That’s when I decided to pull out more stops. I tried Stepstone, Monster and Indeed… The latter turned out to be a useful resource. As one of the world’s most well-known job portals, this platform gets 250 million unique visitors per month. On average, 9.8 jobs are added to the site per second. Even if you’re not a fan of online job sites, it is still a good tool to have in your arsenal.

Of course, you have to know how to use it correctly.

There are just as many, if not more, remote job openings on Indeed.com than other platforms.

Before we go further, keep the following in mind: the keyword “Remote” is frequently used to advertise work from home jobs on “traditional” job search engines… but not always. In fact, thousands of companies on Indeed that offer telecommute positions don’t actively advertise it. That’s where getting an interview is key – once you speak to a hiring manager, you can start asking about their remote policies.

Before we get there, let’s focus on the task at hand. You want to find a bunch of remote jobs on Indeed.com that you can apply to. Depending on where you’re looking, it can be simple or a little more complicated…

The First Method: Search remote jobs on Indeed.com through filtering

This is probably the most straightforward and pain-free way of filtering out non-remote positions on platform. You just have to type keywords related to your role under the “What” section of the search engine. Then, under “Where”, simply type “Remote” (or “Work at Home”…).

That’s it.

remote job indeed com canada search
Tip: Try this a bunch of times, using different keyword variations for both “What” and “Where”.

There’s a catch, though: As far as I can tell, this method only works in on the UK, USA, Australian and Canadian versions of the site. I’ve tried it out on the German, Dutch and Irish versions – but none of these sites offer “Remote” as an alternative to location. When testing it out with the Irish platform, I got the following:

remote job indeed com ireland search

It sucks if you’re not physically located in the Greater Anglophone Area.

Don’t give up, though. If you live somewhere awkward like I do (Germany), try searching for work at home (or “home based”) positions in the UK, USA and Australia. A company that advertises a telecommute position in one country may still be open to candidates from abroad. In my experience, remote positions in the US tend to be the most “restrictive”. However, if you’re located in Europe, UK companies hiring remotely may be open to candidates working from the rest of the EU. It can’t hurt to send an application anyway. Well, maybe a letter bomb… but that’s unlikely.

Still no luck? Don’t give up hope…

Perhaps you don’t live in any of the aforementioned countries. Maybe you’ve sent out a couple of applications anyway, only to be rejected simply based on your location. While other country versions of Indeed.com don’t seem to have a dedicated “Remote” filter, you can still find them. You’ve just gotta get a little creative.

QUICK NOTE: “Remote” does not always mean “work anywhere”. As I have pointed out before, there may be location restrictions. Which is understandable to a degree. A company may, for legal reasons, want a remote worker who is at least legally eligible to work in the country they are based in. Or perhaps they may simply want that person to at least be an hour’s flight away to occasionally attend meetings in the flesh.

 

This method simply involves typing your job role and “Remote” (or related keywords) into the “What” section.

remote job indeed com canada search 2

Under “Where”, simply type the country you’re searching in. Or the city, if you want to explore options in your locality. Even as a remote worker, you may prefer to commute some of the time so it’s still useful to be able to filter out geographical location.

Don’t forget to try this using all variations of remote or their equivalents in your own language. For example, I usually perform separate searches in German and English as they both bring up lots of results. In German I might use the variations “Home Office”, “Heimarbeit” and “Telearbeit”. In English, variations can include “Remote”, “Remote Work”, “Home-Based” etc…

Last but not least… Just ask

If you see a job that doesn’t explicitly state whether remote work is allowed (they may wax lyrical about their “lovely office”, which always puts me off…), send an application anyway, should the role seem like a perfect fit otherwise. In this stage of the process, you’re not trying to get a job. You’re trying to start a conversation. You want to find out more about the role and whether it will interest you. “Remote” is, for all intents and purposes, just a detail (but one that many employers seem to be rather precious about…) it’s no different to asking about perks, vacation time and salary.

 

Working Remotely? Don’t Let Your Employer Skimp on Salary

Remote work and telecommuting offer huge benefits to everyone. In fact, there are more perks for employers than there are for employees.

Firstly, overheads (heat, lighting, subsidized food/coffee/drinks) are significantly reduced. Greater flexibility means happier, more motivated and ultimately more productive employees. This has the knock-on effect of reducing employee turnover (yet another reduced cost for the company).

As an employee who works remotely, you may however feel like the company is doing you a favor by letting you work from home. Many of us have heard the phrase “be grateful you have a job” ad nauseum. Even if the job sucks a little. While a full-time remote work arrangement is fantastic (especially for digital nomads) – there is a slightly negative side-effect.

Quite a few telecommuters may think…

Well, they’re already giving me a lot of freedom… Maybe I shouldn’t be too pushy about asking for a raise/more money.

After all, you can also save a lot of cash. Location independence means fewer transport costs, a home outside of an expensive city center. It’s a pretty neat deal. Hell, you can even move to that cheap, creepy cabin in the woods if your little heart desires.

cabin
…just make sure you have Internet!

Some employers may (knowingly or even unknowingly) capitalize on this attitude and use “remote” as an excuse to pay less. A lot of us don’t feel compelled to complain about this unfair treatment, mainly because working from home is such a huge benefit.

Well, that’s nonsense. Costs or no costs, you deserve to be paid what you’re worth.

You’re still doing the same job. Producing the same (or sometimes better, according to the data) results. Maybe you’re a web developer working on code, a social media manager improving engagement, brand awareness and ultimately profit. Maybe you’re a wizard VA who just gets shit done – in time.

The only real difference is that your in-office counterparts are… Well, sitting in a different building.

That’s not a good reason to feel like you shouldn’t ask for more. Oftentimes, the salary we draw is also equated to time spent in the office. For office workers, perceived productivity begins the moment they sit at their desks. Or when they turn on the computer.

For remote workers, it’s trickier: that’s why so many of us overwork. There’s still the misconception that if you’re not in the office, you’re not really working (or, you’re slacking off completely).

Salary negotiations when you work from home

The good news here is that asking for a raise isn’t a telecommute-specific problem. Even in-office workers may not see their boss/supervisor every day (depending on how big the company is). It’s still something you have to “prep” yourself for. When working remotely, you need to contact them directly.

So, what should you do if you want a raise? Before asking, keep the following in mind:

  • Avoid text. Don’t ask for a raise directly via emails or Slack messages. Important issues like this shouldn’t be conveyed over text. Simply write a message and request a phone call/video chat (or in-person meeting, if it’s possible to comfortably travel to the office).
  • Make a list of your accomplishments. You need to show concrete proof of why you should get more money. If your job directly affects profit (you’re a media buyer who makes $1,000 a extra a week since, for example), show them the number. If your job doesn’t directly impact profits, point out your strengths and how they’re ultimately helping the company and workflow. You don’t have to actually read this list out during the conversation but make sure you keep the points in your head and work them into the conversation.
  • Practice pitching. Sit in front of the mirror, imagine the situation and run through it a few times. You can never truly predict how a conversation will go, but practicing can help to ease your nerves on the day.

It’s very easy to have a slight inferiority complex when it comes to work (especially for women). Remote workers in particular may feel they don’t deserve as much, despite often doing a lot more. However, times are changing and for many professions it is no longer viewed as a perk or a privilege – but a right.

Are Remote Work and Travel Really a Good Mix?

The year’s drawing to a close and this has been playing on my mind. Especially since I’ve done a lot of it this year. Remote work and travel seem to go hand in hand… but sometimes I just wonder how well these two things really mix.

I’ve worked from home (read: “remotely”) for a long time. I’ve also traveled and worked, sometimes simultaneously. This year, I’ve really been abusing those privileges. Planned and unplanned stints to Spain, the Black Forest, the windy city of Hamburg… And constantly going back and forth to Ireland (thanks, Ryanair, I guess…).

The true beauty? Only a fraction of those journeys involved actually using my vacation days.

Amidst this traveling though, I wondered…

With all the extra stress and planning involved, are travel and remote work really a good match?

Is it better to sit at home and focus? With only the occasional stint to the coffee shop? In some cases, I’d say yes (at least for me). Then again, it often depends…

Successful remote work and travel

The fact that digital nomads exist tells us that successful remote work and travel probably does happen. Of course, a lot of that is self-reporting, so it should be taken with a pinch of salt. A nomad’s lifestyle often involves hopping from city to city, country to country. Very frequently, too. But is this actually feasible for the majority of people? Or would most of us pass out from the stress?

I’ll be honest here. If anything, I’m more of a part-time digital nomad. I don’t think I’d enjoy the hustle, at least not long-term. When it comes to work, I’m very focused, very proactive and communicative with my team: but add the extra stress of constantly organizing flights and sorting out accommodation, I think I’d go spare.

That’s just me though. I guess I’m more of an opportunistic digital nomad rather than a “part time” one. I use my remote work privileges to travel when the mood strikes.

How to (effectively) travel and work remotely

Okay, so remote work and travel can be done by some people – especially those who thrive on constant activity. But if you’re a remote worker who still wants to at least occasionally travel, it’s good to keep a few things in mind.

  • When it comes to a job -any job- remember: it’s still a damn job! You cannot shirk responsibility because, oh no, you’re now on a plane and there’s no wifi.
  • If you are “working on the go”, prepare for it. This is easier for freelancers than full-time remote workers, of course. If you’re traveling that day, let your teammates/clients know you won’t be available at certain times. Don’t just randomly disappear in the middle of the day.
  • Be equipped! If you’re traveling on trains and buses, make sure you have enough battery power. And enough mobile data!
  • Be mindful of timezones and adjust your worktimes/arrangements accordingly.
  • As always, communicate if you have any problems and let people know.

A lot of this is just common sense. Which unfortunately isn’t all that common.