By: Laurel Farrer
Digital nomadism… traveling the world, working with luxurious views, answering only to yourself, living the dream. The number of full-time freelancers who enjoy location independence is at an all-time high. We might assume that a lifestyle so idealistic is worth preserving, right? Surprisingly, the trend is suggesting the contrary.
Many freelancers and digital nomads are asking us how to trade in their plane tickets for a permanent desk and transition into full-time remote employment roles. The reality of qualifying for a mortgage loan, saving for income taxes, or paying for health insurance can shatter the appeal of an untethered life and entice nomads to plant some roots. But, is settling down as simple and relaxing as it may seem?
Just like the transition from brick-and-mortar to remote, there are a lot of unexpected adjustments to be aware of before you commit to free-range employment.
Make sure you’re willing to commit to the following changes before making the jump:
Train for a marathon, not a sprint. Freelance work is composed mostly of independent projects with a clear beginning and end. Employment is different, in that it’s a series of smaller benchmarks completed by multiple people that combine to contribute to long-term goals. Freelancers are accustomed to experiencing the sense of project completion on a regular basis, which may be missing when being employed full-time. This can lead to feeling unproductive or unfulfilled. So, instead of looking for clear finish lines, be willing to celebrate mile markers as you balance your time between intensive project-based work and lighter operational tasks.
Collaboration is king. Remote employees might not be surrounded by co-workers physically, but they certainly are virtually. Distributed teams are extremely unified in their communication, workflows, and goals. Be prepared to work on tasks autonomously, but up to your elbows in teamwork when it comes to the big picture. So, you’ll want to clear your schedule for meetings, polish up your writing skills, and develop a habit of transparency in order to be a dependable team member.
Set an alarm. Freelance life revolves around deadlines, but employment revolves around schedules. Be prepared to live by your calendar and be more consistent with your hours and availability. Along with full-time employment comes an increased expectation for punctuality and dependability. Gone are the days of leisurely wandering in search of a wifi signal. If your team goes live at 7:00 am, you better be set up, connected, and ready for action by 6:59.
Feeling torn between freedom and security? You don’t have to choose one or the other! Many nomads enjoy the best of both worlds by traveling while staying committed to a full-time role because they carefully organize their schedules and focus on their work. Working remotely is all about customizing your work-life balance, so don’t be afraid to make your life’s business model as unique as you are.
We would love to hear more about what the “remote work dream” looks like for you! Share your goals in this 30-second survey, so we can help you make them happen.
Laurel Farrer is the COO here at Yonder. She always has a notebook and pen within arm's reach, never sits with both feet on the floor, and drives (safely) without depth perception.