This post is one of the free bonus chapters that go together with my eBook “Expat Flow”. You can get the book here.
Work is one of the main forces keeping people where they are. Somehow, even in the modern world, it seems wrong to think that people can just work anywhere. With these three tools, a future expat or a digital nomad can easily achieve the middle ground. They can appear to be in their office, and get things done just as easily, while at the same time working anywhere.
1. Online phone number
“But what if I want to talk to you?”, say confused colleagues and bosses anywhere, as soon as you tell them you want to up sticks and work somewhere else. This is a weak objection, but for those of us who want to stay in touch with clients and give them an easy way to contact us, a phone number still matters.
There is good news. If you are familiar with VOIP, you are probably also able to get yourself a phone number to use anywhere. Your colleagues and clients can still use a local phone number to reach you. Voicemail still works. And it doesn’t cost you a fortune.
There are many providers for those. I have used and enjoyed Skype, and if you are accustomed to its interface, you can just add a phone number to its features without having to learn a new app. But do shop around, and make sure you get something that works in your target country.
2. Remote control for your office computer
There are technical terms for what I’m about to describe, but this is basically what these programmes do! If your employer worries about you leaving your machine at the office, tell them you can still access and use it if need be. This is a good way to appease your boss, especially if you’re just trying out an expat way of life. You can have a two-week break from the office, still doing work – and using the office machine when required.
The programs usually all work in a similar fashion. You connect to a computer remotely, and take control of its mouse and keyboard. Then, it’s almost like you’re at your old desk, using your old machine and files, except you’re not!
There are many options for this. Some are paid, others are free to use. My corporate experience has been all about TeamViewer, and it’s worked well.
3. A cloud for your files
The above solution is only really good for something that absolutely needs to be done on a particular computer. But in other cases, connecting remotely will just be a hassle and slow you down. It is now much easier to work on files and projects which everyone can access, all around the world.
Your office is probably doing this already. Bosses and colleagues are out in business trips, they need access to their work every now and then. So it’s not a big change for them to let you take advantage of something that’s been happening anyway…
Working this way means that your projects and files are shared with all those who need to see it. It also means that files are stored and synchronised online – no need to make sure everyone has the latest version. Finally, if your work requires input from people across the globe – this is another way of making sure everybody is on the same page.
I’ve used many cloud office suites, and enjoyed them all to some extent. I’m going to go ahead and recommend Google Docs here, but do check out others if Google isn’t working for you.
Are there any other useful tools that help you achieve office weightlessness? Share them with us on Facebook or Twitter!
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