Published on October 26th, 2018 | by Sunit Nandi0
5 Top Tips for Telecommuting Abroad
The digital economy has made it simpler than ever before for more and more workers to have the option to telecommute. Telecommuting once normally meant working from home, but ever-expanding communications infrastructures throughout the world have meant that more and more workers who are able to telecommute are also able to travel the world for leisure while working at the same time.
However, doing so can be pretty expensive, and we’re not just talking about plane tickets. If you’re not prepared, telecommuting abroad can be a frustrating and unproductive experience. Here are a few tips to make telecommuting overseas a more pleasant experience.
1. Set up a home base
You might have a preconception that as a telecommuter you’ll be working with your laptop on your lap with on a lounge chair on some white sand beach in some remote area of the globe. While you could do that, sometimes, you will in all likelihood still be doing the vast majority of your work on some sort of table or desk indoors. And regardless of where you’re staying or how long you’ll be staying there, you will probably want a set up your workstation somewhere with a reliable internet connection. If you’re staying a while, a billing address might be necessary, as would be a way to forward all your mail back home.
2. Make sure your medical insurance coverage is in order
As any frequent traveler will tell you-you will get sick. It’s just a matter of how and when. Most travelers get sick far more easily than locals as their bodies are not usually adjusted to local pathogens in the food, air, and water. Safety standards and driving habits can also differ across the globe as well, making some countries particularly risky for travelers more accustomed to more stringent rules and enforcement. This is especially true for travelers visiting the developing world.
Given that different countries have different health care systems, it’s important that telecommuters who have to travel abroad will want to invest in specialized international health insurance from a company like Now Health International that is more experienced in dealing with the quirks of differing systems. These insurers will also be typically able to give you better value for money thanks to their specialization in the area.
3. Figure out if you need a local phone number
If you’re just passing through a country, you may not want to bother with this. But if you’re staying for a few weeks, it might be worthwhile to get a local prepaid phone number to avoid roaming charges, depending on who you’re communicating with. If you’re lucky, (such as if you’re an EU resident moving elsewhere in the EU) you may not even need to switch numbers. In any case, make sure to do your due diligence before taking a trip abroad.
4. Get a local bank account if needed
If you’re staying in a certain country for an extended period of time, or if you have to regularly visit it, you’ll probably want to get a local bank account, as high international banking fees can quickly add up. You may also find that it’s difficult to rent a space or make some purchases if you don’t have a local bank account handy.
5. Keep your important documents safe
If you’ve got the cash, it’s best to invest in a fireproof safe for your important documents. All original copies of your tax returns, work contracts, birth certificate, passport, will, social security cards, and necessary permits should ideally be in a safe or safety deposit box.
This may seem excessive if all your documents are in a filing cabinet just within arm’s reach. But even if you’re just telecommuting from your house, accidents and screw-ups can happen. It seems this is truer if you’re traveling. Unexpected events such as fires or family members misplacing your stuff are just two things that can easily happen when you’re abroad, and you’ll be glad you had the foresight to protect your documents earlier.
However, you might not always be able to keep them safe if you’re traveling or lack a permanent home base. In this case, you may also want to have enough copies of these documents so you can hand them over to your lawyer or an especially trusted family member or friend for safekeeping.