Running a business single-handedly has countless advantages – and I LOVE what I do. Part of my journey as a business owner has been balancing work and travel – something which I love to do and feel enriches and educates me both in a personal and professional capacity. Whilst being your own boss enables you to go where you want, when you want (within reason!), finding Wi-Fi facilities in the remotest corners of the earth can be rather tricky.
Recently with the insurgence of clever technology more and more of us lucky ones are able to work ‘remotely’. It’s a recognised ‘thing’ now, with more blue-chip global businesses allowing their staff to log on and work from wherever they want, whenever they want. As long as the work is completed to a high standard, company bosses are happy. What’s more, they don’t have to pay for costly office equipment and larger premises to house staff.
My trip to the Maldives this month was nothing short of incredible. And whilst many don’t believe me when I tell them I worked every day (I did!), I really did enjoy running the business in a new environment. Take a look at my post below to find out more about working remotely and the things I learnt on my first foray abroad with the business in tow…
Working remotely – it isn’t as scary as it seems!
Recently I travelled to Madhiriguraidhoo in the Maldives for a break away – but of course whilst I wanted to experience the location and enjoy my stunning surroundings I couldn’t leave my business behind – as it is one which requires constant attention. When you do what you love it’s not as irritating as people might think to bring your work with you on a trip like this – but despite that maintaining a balance between work and play was essential. It was my first time working remotely (really remotely!) since I started the business – and whilst things went smoothly I definitely learnt a few things and before I left I had (wildly unfounded) fears that everything would go wrong and I’d be left without a business to return to.
It was a great experience for me and one I want to share with other business owners to prove that depending on the nature of your business it is completely possible to ‘get away from it all’ whilst still running your company effectively. Here are a few tips for anyone wishing to have a go at working remotely for the first time – things I learnt from my own experience which may hopefully help you to take the plunge and try it for yourself.
Prepare for little (or no) Wi-Fi
I purposefully chose a place I knew had plenty of Wi-Fi – but even then when lots of guests were using it the connection could be slow and struggled to load web pages and facilitate downloads – even small files like word documents. So before you go ask yourself the question – will I need Wi-Fi? How much will I need it? I had planned for this eventuality so it wasn’t stressful – just a little inconvenient. However I don’t think I’d have been so relaxed if I had needed it every day and had loads of work to send!
Check that your laptop or device supports a direct internet connection
Just like I didn’t. Following on from my last point, if internet is an essential element needed in order for you to run your business then it’s important to make sure that you have access when you require it. I assumed that all laptops and netbooks have a socket for a (WAP/LAN cable) but I was sadly mistaken when I tried to hook my machine up to the hotel’s direct internet when the Wi-Fi stopped working one afternoon. The resort I stayed at in the Maldives (Palm Beach) had this facility but some don’t – either way it’s a good back-up if your Wi-Fi connection is patchy – but it’s only a failsafe if your laptop can be connected.
Also note that in preparation for a poor Wi-Fi connection, if you plan to work and need resources from the internet or (in my case) copy and information from emails and existing sites, it’s a good idea to download this before you leave. That way you have everything you need and can work wherever you want – even somewhere without a Wi-Fi connection. I had everything I needed on my laptop, so all I needed to do was access it and get cracking. I also made sure an out of office was on my email, so that clients knew there may be a slight delay in correspondence due to time difference and internet access.
Invest in security and protection
Luckily I was staying somewhere very safe and secure – most resorts will be. But if you’re travelling and you don’t feel as though your vital belongings will be properly protected, it’s a good idea to make plans for the provision of locks, safes and tracking devices. There are loads of security tips and innovative gadgets on the market specifically designed for business travellers and their important tech and equipment.
Allocate a sensible time to work
I rarely worked during the day unless I absolutely needed to for a short while or it was raining and therefore a little cooler. Electronic equipment and tropical climates don’t mix – so it’s better to work in the evening and preferably in a place with air conditioning if you are travelling to a similarly warm environment.
Plan a schedule of work before you leave and prioritise
I ensured that work as much as possible had been finished and sent before I left – and that (as always) sensible lead times were in place for upcoming projects. I had a confirmed list of projects which would be due for completion either whilst I was away or on my return – some I’d already started, some which hadn’t been looked at yet. I wrote a detailed list in priority order to ensure that the work that needed to be sent while I was out of the country was completed as soon as possible, and other work was started or at least scoped out before I left.
Choose your accommodation (and location) wisely
Technically, you can work remotely anywhere in the world now because of new technologies and the prevalence of Wi-Fi. But that doesn’t mean that it will always be a seamless experience – and as a business owner, it needs to be as good as it possibly can be. Any hiccups leave clients in the lurch – or worse could lose you money. As I was travelling alone as a woman and working remotely I chose somewhere I thought I would feel safe and secure – remote but not too isolated – and of course with plenty of Wi-Fi. I think had I have been somewhere I feared theft or struggled to find a good working environment, my trip would have had a detrimental effect on the business. As it stands most of my clients had forgotten I have been away at all – and of course all received their work on time in addition to timely correspondence and replies to their emails!
Overall following my experience the take away message was really positive. Working remotely can be a real asset not only to your personal life as it allows you to get away, see the world and experience new cultures, but also a boost to business as you make connections everywhere you go and will often find inspiration in the far flung corners or the earth you visit.