Living as a Digital Nomad, Being the Boss
How Can You Make Your Business Work When Travelling?
By Lucy Hughes
For many, travel offers a chance to leave the rigors and responsibilities of work and daily life behind. It’s an opportunity to escape your emails and switch off from spreadsheets.
However, for others, especially those who run their own business, this isn’t always possible. While, for most employees, it’s a simple case of tying up the loose ends and scheduling your out of office responder, for business owners there is often far more to consider, including tasks that simply can’t be done without you being there.
So how can you ensure that everything doesn’t either grind to a halt or totally fall apart while you’re gone being a digital nomad? These five tips will help provide peace of mind where work is concerned and perhaps even help you enjoy your time away even more.
Get your handover right
Most people understand the importance of leaving a comprehensive handover for colleagues or staff, but fewer make enough time for it – and many are guilty of leaving it until the last minute.
We recommend speaking to the relevant team members well in advance about your travel plans, so they can begin to think about the extra work they may need to pick up.
If you work in big teams or have extensive responsibilities, then focus only on those who can complete actions and speak to them individually.
This will help avoid miscommunication regarding responsibility and accountability, and also ensure you’re not wasting anybody’s time, including your own.
If you work on your own, reach out to somebody you know and trust, and who is willing to help you. There is professional support for most industries available online, but it’s always better to engage with a familiar face first. And while friends often do favors for one another, we don’t recommend trying to get somebody to cover for you for free. Negotiating a fair rate of pay with a friend will ensure they treat the work seriously and do the best possible job.
Don’t be afraid to take your laptop
This may seem like a contradictory measure when you’re trying to switch off and relax, but if you run your own business or have responsibilities that only you can take care of then it might be a good idea to have something with you that you can work from if needed.
These days, tablets and phones allow you to email and access documents, but working from a small screen and without a physical keyboard can be draining. Of course, having your laptop with you doesn’t mean you have to use it, but we suggest investing in a travel carrier by Eastpak or Targus, and at least taking it along with you.
Locate hotspots for working
If you’re traveling while trying to run a business, then a part of your planning should be to identify spots along the way where you have the opportunity to stay in touch. Most hotels, restaurants, and cafes offer free Wi-Fi these days, but if you know you have a lot of work to do then a desk and a comfortable chair will help.
If you’re planning on completing a full day’s work here and there while hopping from city to city then-new online platforms like Ofixu are great, as they allow you to rent office space in locations all over the world.
Check your Scheduled Payments
This is another tip that is particularly relevant to those who are self-employed. Keep your books organized and up to date, and consider what payments will be coming into and out of your accounts while you are gone.
You can continue to pay all of your bills while you live as a nomad as long as you keep funding your bank account and stay on top of the payments.
Mobile banking apps allow you to check your balance anywhere in the world, but there are few worse feelings than noticing suspicious or unexpected activity on your account and being thousands of miles away, feeling unable to take direct action.
Check when your policies renew, be they annual or monthly, and ensure you have enough money in your account to cover the costs. Remember: Many of your policies will roll on, regardless of whether or not you’re at your desk.
Plan for the unexpected
While you may be confident that you have everything in place to ensure your business runs smoothly while you’re away, it’s impossible to predict the future. This means that it’s crucial you have the right cover in place in case something happens and you’re not around to take immediate action.
Insurance for Peace of Mind
Professional liability insurance and coverage for errors and omissions can help provide you with peace of mind while you’re relaxing away from the office. Some policies can even provide a little relief if you suffer technical issues while traveling and find yourself unable to meet a deadline.
For instance, business insurance by Next allows you to tailor your plan and can be entirely managed online, making it a suitable option for business owners who find themselves on the move for sustained periods.
But most of all… relax!
It’s natural to feel some apprehension when you’re jetting off and leaving work behind. You have bills to pay and maybe even mouths to feed, and the thought of taking time off from that might seem scary, especially if you’re self-employed.
But don’t feel guilty. By planning ahead and staying organized, you can minimize this stress, keep up to date with the essentials, and spend the rest of your time exploring and enjoying your vacation. If you’re traveling with a companion, be up-front with them about your responsibilities and make time to check in with things back home. That way, you can manage your time and ensure that great experiences together aren’t unexpectedly interrupted.
So, while it may not always be a case of totally switching off, you will discover that your vacation away need not be at the expense of your business.
Lucy Hughes is a freelance writer based in Dubai, UAE.