Many of today’s “digital nomads”, or mobile, tech-savvy remote workers, will tell you that they are of a special breed – and remote work life is definitely not for everyone. Despite the trendiness of remote work and startups in the news, at universities across the country, and in our social circles – not everyone is cut out to be a digital nomad.
How do you know if you’re ready for the remote work life? Here are 5 signs that will help you decide if you’re ready to become a digital nomad this year:
- You’re a mature, responsible, self-starter.
If you have trouble motivating yourself to work, don’t want to work, or have procrastination problems, remote work is probably not for you. In a remote work environment, there is nothing to help you gain your bearings between the assignment of the project and the deadline – and while your client might contact you to check in or ask questions, it’s definitely not the same as having a menacing boss breathing down your back every time you clock in and out. There’s nothing wrong with needing a little push – or even just structure – in order to do the best work that you can do. Be honest with yourself about what kind of worker you are. Do you need to be with your team in person to do your best work – or can you really pull it off on your own all year long?
- You have no problem reaching out if you have a question or need something.
Do you have trouble speaking up? You’ll have to get comfortable with reaching out if you really want to be a digital nomad. Communication in a remote work environment is key – especially if you work with a project or department team. If you don’t understand an email or a brief – you’ll need to say something, because in this type of environment, you REALLY won’t know if someone else has the same question that you do. It’s also a good idea that you initiate communication as much as you can, with both your clients, your supervisor, and your team – give them the assurance that you’re working hard behind the scenes, because trust in remote work is a critical factor.
- You have all the equipment you need – and know what a secure location is – and what isn’t.
Obviously, you are usually the supplier of everything you need in your remote work environment, unless you have some kind of setup with your client or employer. Regardless of the way you pay, make sure you’re fully stocked everywhere you go, especially if you’re out of your normal work environment (laptop charger, anyone?). Also, be sure you’re always careful about your online security in your chosen remote work setting. Whether you’re working at home, at Starbucks, on the beach, or on a train, make sure you are using a secure network, that secure information is encrypted as necessary, and that you have secure password systems in place. If you work for a remote team, ensure that any IP you have from the company is safe 24/7.
- You’re willing to grab the tools you need if you’re having issues with remote work.
Especially if remote work is new for you, you’re bound to run over a few speed bumps in the process of becoming the best digital nomad you can be. Check in with yourself and/or your remote team if you think you may need an “hours tracker”, more productivity tools, or better software – anything that may make your work better. The effort is worth it – even if you have to learn something new or work a different way.
- You’re comfortable with freedom.
This may sound like a joke, but we mean it! Remote work can be extremely freeing – almosttoo freeing for some people. Consider that you may have to carve out a workday schedule for yourself. If you thought that was why you started remote work in the first place, not so fast. In order to be in the best mindset for each workday, many remote working people must get up, get dressed, and treat every day like they are in an employer’s office in order to do their best. If this is better for you, by all means, treat each day this way and you can still work remotely and successfully. However, some people do best when each day is different, including the hourly schedule and the location. This is why remote work is so attractive for some people who appreciate variety. Find what works best for you on the spectrum, but realize you are still on a spectrum of complete freedom.
If these 5 signs sound like you, feel free to proceed with confidence! If you’re unsure about one or more of the signs above, talk to a trusted friend, and preferably, someone that already works as a professional digital nomad and has done so for some time. This year could be the perfect time for you to make the leap to remote work life!
Nomad Tracker is an app that will help you team up with creative talent in your city and put your project in motion.