How to work remotely – tips, tricks & advice

IT freelancers by the beach

From travelling around and working I’ve learnt a few things about remote working, here’s my most important lessons shared;

  • Smaller independent cafes tend to have the fastest internet. Cafe Nero dropped out. Starbucks was reliable, but slowed down by students watching YouTube whilst working on their dissertations. Health food cafes tend to be the best. They have less noisy distractions, less people, and those that are there tend to be super-friendly. The food is waaaaay better too, if you’re going to be there most week days these considerations super important.
  • Don’t expect to save money whilst working in coffee shops. Food and coffee (which I should call IT fuel) costs and adds up. Yes it’s usually a tax-deductible expense. Yes, us programmer types need to get out the house to keep our sanity, but it will probably still end up costing a bit more than serviced office space. The social scene is fun and a great way to make friends and meet new people and get out more, and that’s why it’s still well worth the money.
  • One of the things that held me back from leaving their origin city is the belief that customers require face to face interaction. They really don’t, understanding that came as a revelation. Regardless of whether you sell business to business or business to customer, you’re really selling people to people. Face to face interaction might be important when getting new work, but you can do that over the phone. Most IT is now done by email, so you can work anywhere. Customer’s don’t care where you take their call.
  • When choosing a laptop the important 3 things are screen-size, weight and battery life. Beneath a certain size laptops become impossible to use for serious creative projects. Laptops can be heavy, I certainly feel it in my backpack. Battery life is sort of self explanatory, but a worn out battery can usually be easily replaced, replacing other parts requires a much higher level of computer competency.
  • Buy a mouse, it’s a much more comfortable than a trackpad. My preferred one is a little basic Logitech, it’s seen some action, sand, bumps and knocks but it’s still hanging in there! Go Mouse!
  • Get a neoprene case – protect your laptop from impacts and water. I’ve seen someone lose a high end Mac to a broken drink bottle, I literally couldn’t believe he stuck the Mac in with his clothes and went BMXing…

…and finally enjoy yourself. Some of the best advice I’ve heard came from watching YouTube surf videos. The best surfer is the one having the most fun. :o)


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