When COVID broke and quarantine began, our Communication’s Assistant, Megan was at an advantage since she had previously worked as a freelancer and was used to working at home. She already had the necessary tactics in place: pick a designated place to work, don’t play TV or Netflix in the background, and make sure to take mental breaks and go on walks. The other thing Megan quickly realized was that she had the flexibility to travel and see friends and family who were also practicing social distancing while still working her normal business hours.
As we have all learned over the last few months working remotely can be a blessing and a curse. Below Megan has her best tips and guidance for working remotely while traveling. Some of these relate directly to COVID and others are insights she gained from previous experiences.
- Megan prefers to travel on a weekday (early morning or after work) to avoid weekend traffic. This also opens up her time to the full weekend to spend time with her loved ones or to do the activities she wants. Traveling by car is also the safest way to travel as of right now.
- Pack a few days in advance and double check you have everything you need. You don’t want to rush and stuff a bag last minute because you will forget something. While a top or a toiletry can be replaced at the local Target, the work computer can not. Double check for chargers, wireless mouse, and other work accessories as needed.
- Communicate clearly with your co-workers. While we highly recommend you stick to your typical work hours, if you happen to be traveling during this time communicate that clearly and let them know how / when / if they can reach you. Megan prefers to have apps downloaded on her phone such as Google Drive, Google Chat, and Gmail to ensure that she gets important notifications in case she is needed.
Working Remotely Tips
- Keep yourself accountable and don’t get distracted. Working remotely is a flexible way to work, not a lazy way to work. Ensure that you are still meeting deadlines. Consider using a tasks management tool such as Asana.
- Research the Wifi options ahead of time. Megan knows she will have reliable wifi at her boyfriend’s house but her parents, who live in a rural area, did not get decent Wifi until recently. For those who may be working out of a hotel or Airbnb, it can be unpredictable. Have a backup plan – can you connect your phone’s hotspot to your computer?
- Keep a Schedule. If you typically work 9-5 then you should keep those hours. This includes mentally checking out of work at 5 as well.
- Set up an “office space”, whether that be at a desk or on the outside patio. Avoid working from your bed. Have a place where you can directly associate with getting work done.
Traveling Safely during Covid
- Keep your own safety procedures: wear a mask, keep hand sanitizer on you / in the car, use a doggie or plastic bag to cover your hand while pumping gas. If you choose to travel you have a huge responsibility to keep safe and limit your exposure.
- Only visit people who are maintaining the same procedures that you are. Megan is comfortable visiting her boyfriend and parents because she knows they are wearing masks when running errands and practicing social distancing. She has friends that she misses but will not be seeing in person soon because she knows they are not taking it as seriously as she is.
- Pay attention to the location you are visiting – do they have higher cases of COVID than your location? They may be in a different phase than you are. These may limit your options on where to visit or eat.
- If you feel ill, stay home!
Even as we phase out of quarantine and social distancing, the opportunity of working remotely may be here to stay. This flexibility can offer more travel opportunities to those who are interested in seeing the world while staying employed.
What about you? Are you working remotely? Have you taken advantage of traveling while working?