Not everyone works best from an office. Most people tell me they’d prefer not to be tied to a desk or to any one location for that matter. Good news – location is the next area of independence for the modern worker.
How do I know? I’m doing it. I’ve been able to continue working while traveling to Mexico, England, Ireland, Greece and Spain as well as New York, Pennsylvania and Florida in the US.
Here’s what location independence is and how you can have it too.
Definition of location independence – being able to work from the location (or locations) that work best for you.
We’ve all experienced the downside of being constantly connected to work via modern technology, but what about the amazing upside? With cloud computing and ever expanding internet access across the world, most workers can access necessary systems and files without having to go into the office. With video calling also being ubiquitous, cheap or free, jobs requiring interaction can also be done from far flung locations. So the real question is, “Where do you work best?”
Steps to Location Independence:
- Soul search and determine where your ideal location(s) is. What setting(s) inspires you? Where have you felt most engaged in your work? If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be?
For me, I work best when I’m in natural settings and at times, in busy urban environments. I like both of these seemingly opposing atmospheres. To be able to have both as “my office” is what enables me to be of service to my coaching clients, podcast listeners, Youtube viewers and online followers. I also value new locations so I can experience the intellectual stimulation that comes from new languages and cultures.
- Research to understand what you need to work on the go. If you’re a knowledge worker, you need little more than a computer, a smart phone and an internet connection to get your work done from anywhere. Consider calling your mobile phone provider to set up a plan if your location(s) will be outside of your normal calling area.
Setting up your work “infrastructure” over and over again in new locales can be a challenge. Plan for it. My podcast is the hardest thing to manage as I need a good sounding environment to get the job done. Having the right tools has helped. I researched the the best microphone with the help of Dave Jackson from The School of Podcasting. Also I downsized my computer to a MacAir which has made it easier and lighter for me to travel with what I need, set it up and take it down quickly too.
- Job Search and understand the skills and talents you possess that are needed by people the world over (think hair stylist) and/or you can deliver no matter where you are (think personal coaching). Research technology for new avenues for delivering your service. Search international job sites. Open you mind to the possibilities and you’ll see location independent opportunities aren’t hard to identify.
I know a doctor who found a telephone-based service that enables him to serve patients via phone. It’s part of a larger program so patients still have access to in-person doctors but many love the on-call feature when they have a question or minor ailment.
If you need further validation that this is a real option, check out this recent article from the New York Post: More People Seeing Benefits of Working Very Remotely. I was asked to provide input into the article when I was in Spain last fall. The article author was in Ireland. I don’t think it was coincidence that were both thriving and enjoying our careers independent of location. We can all work from where we want when we think independent of location.
Came across additional resources to help you work from where you want including Forbes’ The Top 100 Companies For Remote Jobs and Inc Magazine’s 32 of the Best Apps to Work Remotely (many are especially helpful if you work with a team).
“Your outlook upon life, your estimate of yourself, your estimate of your value are largely colored by your environment. Your whole career will be modified, shaped, molded by your surroundings, by the character of the people with whom you come in contact every day…” – Orison Swett Marden