A guide for aspiring digital nomads

Ned Browne 11 January 2022

It's never been easier to work anywhere you want. Here's the lowdown on what you need to know before you make your move

The pandemic supercharged remote working

Robert Watt, Managing Partner of The Kite Factory, an independent media agency based in London, witnessed first-hand the rapid change: “In some ways the timing of the pandemic was perfectand I am only speaking from a work point of view. 

Everyone had access to the Internet at home; Zoom led the charge on video calls and the Microsoft Teams and Google Meet platforms got their acts together fast too.” The Kite Factory was not only able to weather the storm; the business actually expanded throughout the pandemic.

Teething problems

But it was not all plain sailing.  Robert Watt continues: “When we recruited new staff, we found training them harder than before.  But harder still was embedding the company culture.  New employees risk missing out on proximity learning and important internal relationship-building opportunities - random conversations by the watercooler are important.” 

Nonetheless, The Kite Factory has committed to allowing its employees to work from home, even when it becomes less of a necessity.  Indeed, two employees have recently moved out of the capital; one to Poole and the other to Bradford upon Avon. So, if you’re in that privileged position of being able to work from anywhere in the world, what should you consider?

Friends and family

One of the downsides of working from home can be that sense of isolation. There are key areas of life where we tend to make friends, and work is definitely one of them.  So, if that opportunity isn’t there, it probably makes sense to live where you already have friends and family.  Or, if not, where there are opportunities to make friends outside of work. For example, sports clubs or schools.

Your company policy

Before you flee the city, make sure you check your current company policy and sound out those in the know: could things change? Amazon recently announced that it will allow many corporate workers to continue working remotely “indefinitely as long as they can commute to the office when necessary”.

So, that rules out The Shetland Islands. Google has taken a different approachits US employees who move to less expensive parts of the country will be paid lessanywhere from 5 to 25 percent less, according to Reuters.

The cost of living

Moving to a less expensive location could hugely improve your financial circumstances.  If that’s your main driver, Google “cost of living index” to compare cities across the world, or “cost of living index UK” to compare locations across the UK.

Are you allowed to live there

Post Brexit, many UK citizens will be far more restricted as to where they can live: those on both sides of the argument seem to agree that’s not a good thing, especially for the younger generation who are often keen to experience new cultures.

So, if you are planning to work from home from abroad, check the visa restrictions. Or, better still, if your parents were born abroad, are you able to obtain a foreign passport?

WiFi and mobile phone reception

Connectivity could not be more important. Companies or clients will not tolerate dodgy WiFi connections. So, do your research.

I will leave Robert Watt to conclude: “We’re always looking for talented people.  Does where they live matter? Well, not as much as it used to. But we still want to have company-wide meetings, office parties and the occasional drink after work.”

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