Working from home: the 1st step to becoming a digital nomad
Not ready to become a nomad yet? No problem! Choosing to just start working from home is a good first step to location independence.
It’s not a scary idea, if you think that so many people would kill to work wearing PJs and slippers. Once you become comfortable with the concept of remote work, you can start thinking of the next phase, which is combining work and travel.
Speaking of working in PJs, let me clarify that working from home is not about having the luxury of wearing or doing whatever you want. Yes, there is a lot more freedom when you choose to work from the comfort of your apartment, but it can be a very tricky situation.
The challenge here is to keep a consistent schedule and form professional habits, without getting carried away and letting laziness kill your productivity. Okay, I mentioned the word “kill” twice already. That doesn’t sound good!
However, if you ease into working from home and start doing it mindfully, then I guarantee not only will you succeed in mastering this art, but also you’ll start shaping your work into getting completely location-independent.
That last point, essentially, means that you’ll form a routine that you can practise everywhere and under any conditions, which is our main point here. Getting you to gradually become a digital nomad.
Start from your living room
Pick an area of your house where you feel comfortable. That’s usually the living room and, in some cases, the kitchen.
I wouldn’t recommend the kitchen, though, because it’s very close to the fridge and you might be taking quite a few trips to it. That’s bad for 2 reasons:
- You’ll get distracted, pausing the work you do, just to go see what’s edible in the fridge (you opened the friggin’ thing 5 minutes ago, nothing changed since then!)
- You might gain a little extra weight from snacking all the time
I also don’t recommend the bedroom, mainly because it’s not very likely to have a desk or table, besides the night stand. I may be wrong, of course, and you may indeed have a table in there.
However, in most cases, you would end up working in bed, lying semi-flat with your laptop on your belly. And that’s also bad for 2 reasons:
- You may fall asleep
- You’ll definitely get a very bad posture, laying like that for hours
So a living room is basically the ideal location in your house, if you don’t have a designated home office (about which we’ll talk in a bit).
Awesome alternative solutions would be your balcony or patio, if the weather is good and you’ve got some outdoor furniture there.
All you’ll need is an empty flat area, to put your laptop or any other equipment, and a comfy chair. Ideally, you should start working in this setup for only a few hours, to give yourself time to figure out ergonomics and invest some time to…
Set up a basic home office
All a home office needs is a desk, an ergonomic chair and good wi-fi. If you have the option to invest in brand new furniture, go for a sit-stand desk. I have one and it’s awesome. This way you’ll get to stretch while working and, why not, exercise a bit. It’s not advisable to add a treadmill in front of the desk, though.
Working from home in an actual office will definitely offer a better experience that improvising a desk in your living room. In addition to that, it will give you space to create a work schedule and a routine with no external distractions.
Careful, though. It’s dead easy for your roomies (be it a flatmate or a family member) to barge in and interrupt you. That could be awkward.
Try a coffee shop
The more comfortable you feel working from a distance (from your colleagues and/or clients), the more you should try to get out of your comfort zone. Nowadays, coffee shops serve as modern offices, offering excellent wi-fi and, hopefully, excellent coffee.
You’d better avoid crowded coffee shops, though. These can be a real buzz killer when you are in the zone, ready to produce some awesome work. Besides, think of how annoying it would be trying to have a video call and having a bunch of people shouting, laughing, making noise in general.
Start from your neighborhood, which, supposedly, you know better. You probably know already which shop serves the best coffee, which is the most quiet, etc.
Many digital nomads choose the standard coffee chain shops, like Starbucks or Pret. I dislike those, because I haven’t found a single one of them that wasn’t super-crowded every single hour of the day.
Switch to a co-working place
If you like coffee shops (and working outside of the house), but you need a more sustainable option with more comfort, then you probably need a proper office. Should you go back to your employer’s office? Hell, no. I wasn’t implying that.
Well, if you are a freelancer, that question doesn’t apply to you anyway.
What you need is to find a co-working place, a designated space where digital nomads and remote workers in general choose to work from. A co-working place usually involves an open-space area with hot-desks and shared equipment, some more private rooms with conferencing facilities, solid good wi-fi and endless quantities of good coffee.
Take a short vacay – work part time during it
An unorthodox and bold alternative to all the above would be taking a mini vacay to test your boundaries, while working from an unusual place.
However, you need to make a few preparations, like make sure you book an accommodation with wi-fi (check the reviews for any wi-fi mentions, to assess its quality) or book a spot in a co-working place at your destination.
That whole experience will serve as your very first digital nomad adventure, so you’d better start small, to avoid frustrations and discouragement.
If you succeed doing the above, then you’re probably ready to get bolder and start traveling
Hello, digital nomad life!