Working abroad was once a pipedream for the average salaried worker in the US. The idea of sun-dappled seas and afternoons working on the beach was little more than a fantasy, with only the highest-up of executives and business owners reaping the true rewards of an international business.
But the landscape has changed considerably in the past decade, in a number of crucial ways. For one, the swift advancement of technology has enabled more work to be carried out remotely than ever before – making beach-side working a reasonably achievable goal. The coronavirus pandemic briefly shut down international travel, but in so doing increased the popularity of remote working agreements.
The result is a working population keener on remote and flexible work than ever before. Meanwhile, though, more workers have come to understand their worth within the jobs market – and are now unafraid to seek their own fortune, whether by seeking better contracts and remuneration or going freelance entirely.
Of the steadily-growing freelance community, an increasing number are exploring a new dynamic: digital nomadism. Contractors and freelancers free of company policy and requirements are taking their workload overseas, earning domestically while drinking in the lifestyles of foreign shores.
Whether you have successfully negotiated a remote contract or secondment, or you are exploring a newfound freelance freedom by moving to a different clime, what are some key considerations you should be making before you make your first flight out?
First and foremost, there are legal concerns to iron out. If remote working while a salaried employee, moving abroad could fall foul of your contract and cause your business to fall foul of tax law – unless the business has asked you to do so.
Digital nomads also face tax-related difficulties, as working abroad but earning domestically can make for murky waters when it comes to your visa. Countries are increasingly adopting digital nomad visas to simplify the process for roving workers, but it is important to understand the tax laws of your destination before you travel.
Your next concern relates to accommodation. If on secondment, your company will likely be setting you up with accommodation. For the vast majority of remote workers, though, it is their responsibility to find suitable and inexpensive long-term accommodation.
Packing for an extended period of time working abroad is a difficult thing to do. Not only are you packing to live for an extended period of time, but also to work. As such, you need to have two mindsets when packing – one for living frugally and minimally; another for packing all work supplies you will need.
With regard to the latter, you will need various items of hardware. A laptop, charger and headphones are a must. In some countries you may struggle for wireless internet connections, making firewire cables an important accessory to bring for internet access.
Lastly, there are other forms of work provision you will need to succeed abroad – specifically, with relation to software. If collaborating with others, you will need access to cloud collaboration software. Any remote worker will also need access to a telecommunications service.