Working off the Beaten Track
What I’ve learnt from traveling and working remotely.
Over my last two and a half years at Avature, I’ve been lucky enough to travel a lot while working. One of the great things about this is the opportunities it’s afforded me to explore new places and new passions. It’s true what they say: a change is as good as a rest. I’ve often found that just by switching up my environment I get a new lease of energy, and end up feeling more inspired in my day-to-day life.
Over the course of these travels, I’ve learnt a lot about what helps make a work trip successful and some pitfalls to avoid. Here are some of the Dos and Don’ts to consider when traveling and working.
Work as a Team
I fully recommend traveling with colleagues/friends. As anyone from Avature will tell you, one of the best things about working here is the people. Nearly all my trips over the last couple of years I’ve done with friends from Avature. The benefits of this are many, but here are a few:
- If you need help with work, there will be someone around who can.
- They understand our work and will give you space when you need it.
- They’re just great people.
Keep people in the Loop
It’s important to let your manager and Talent Management know where you will be going and for how long. In the Consulting team, things have always been pretty relaxed on the remote working front, whether from home or away. In fact, when the coronavirus hit, I think our team was able to adapt fairly easily because we had so much experience working remotely. However, it’s always good to let your colleagues and team mates know if you’ll be somewhere different for a while.
Follow your curiosity
If you have the opportunity, take up a new hobby that you couldn’t do at home and commit to it. In Portugal, I decided to learn to surf and went all in. I bought the kit, got up at 6am most (well, many) mornings and blithely accompanied my much more advanced friends to beaches where the waves were way too big. Safe to say, I did a lot of hapless splashing about near the shore while they coolly disappeared off to the line-up. But over time I got better, fell over less and, most importantly, had a lot of fun.
Consider the financial implications of paying rent in two places if you go on a longer trip. My trip to Portugal was meant to last a week and I ended up staying there for three months. Because I wasn’t expecting to stay for so long, I was still paying rent on a flat in Madrid as well as on a room in a co-living in Portugal, which made for an expensive few months.
Lose your anchors
We are creatures of habit and suddenly changing your environment can throw you off balance a bit.
I’ve found that creating a new routine, even if it’s only for a week, really helps center me. Whether it’s a swim before breakfast, or yoga after work, having a routine grounds me and makes me more productive during the day.
Working in a very sociable environment can be surprisingly difficult.
In the co-living in Portugal, there were normally around ten people staying at a time, some of whom were working and some not. The fact that everyone had different timetables meant that there was a lot of coming and going throughout the day which sometimes made it difficult to focus.
Remember to check if the place you’re going to be working from has good internet.
A couple of summers ago, I stayed at a house in Ibiza with some friends and there was a terrible internet connection. Luckily, some of our group had ridiculously high data allowances on their phones, so we spent the week working off their data. This worked fine until the person whose phone you were connected to wandered out of range, to our cries of “Wait!” and frantic gestures.
It’s also important to think about the space you’ll be working in and whether it meets your needs.
In the co-living in Portugal, we had a full-blown office space, which was amazing. A certain Avaturian who shall remain nameless, had a lot of fun improving the vibe and making it cozier. That mostly worked really well, but it could be challenging if you needed some privacy. One girl came up with the ingenious solution of taking important calls from her bathroom, as it was the only place she could be sure that she wouldn’t be disturbed. You do come to appreciate how practical meeting rooms are!
Hopefully, this has provided some pointers for having the most productive and enjoyable experience possible when working remotely away from home.
On the whole, I’ve had overwhelmingly positive experiences working remotely at Avature. I think that this is in large part due to the fact that even when you’re not in the office you’re 100% supported. Whether that’s the tireless IT Internal Services team assisting you with a technical problem, a colleague you’re traveling with giving you advice on a project, or your manager being there at the other end of a video call when you need them, the A Team’s got your back.
I hope that as the world inches back towards something like normality, that we are able to start traveling again. I’ll be ready and waiting when we can!