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Our recent Anywhere Workers study found that remote working is on the rise. But while the freedom and flexibility that comes with the job is envied by many, there are also some unique challenges when it comes to real life remote work. Here we talk to Dan Lawrence, an SEO and Digital Marketing consultant and e-commerce seller, to discover what it’s really like to be an Anywhere Worker.
Where’s your homebase?
The Isle Of Wight (just off the South Coast of the United Kingdom) which is a lovely diamond shaped island well-placed for water sport activities and great countryside… but also some decidedly dodgy towns.
Tell us a little about your remote work journey. When, how, and why did you get into it?
Right from the start (around 1998) I started working from home on the web, then as the technology improved, and inspired by the book ‘Digital Nomad’ by a friend of my fathers (David Manners), I tried to be as location independent as possible. This led to me seeing if it was possible to run my business from a tent on a beach in Ibiza in 2008. Since then, as Wi-Fi has become ubiquitous, I have worked from various locations for various periods but usually returning to a UK home base too.
Favorite thing about working remotely?
The flexibility and freedom.
I spend each minute of each day as the author of my own decisions, in terms of where I work from, what I work on, and how I structure my day (lots of hard work mixed with lots of quality breaks).
Biggest challenge with working remotely?
I work on my own mainly so I suppose it can be dealing with loneliness and FOMO (fear of missing out), however to be honest when working in places like a co-working space I usually find the noise of others working a bit distracting, maybe because I’ve become so used to working in isolation. So I prefer to do ‘deep’ work on my own then go to shared space when just staying on top of things.
What does it take to be successful as a remote worker?
Self discipline, focus and a love for independence.
What’s something you learnt the hard way?
“Get it in writing” should be obvious but something I’ve learnt the hard way a couple of times when going into business with so-called ‘friends’.
Dan’s website ‘Digital Nomad News’ shares daily information about digital nomadism.
What advice would you give to companies or employers who are working with remote employees?
Companies should focus on productivity, not time keeping, in regard to their remote teams. Both employees and companies should make sure everything is clearly defined in advance and what’s expected of both parties.
The Anywhere Workers study found that ⅓ of remote workers have trouble shutting down at the end of the day. Do you have any tips for maintaining a work/life balance when working remotely?
Yes, being disciplined about ending the day at pre-defined times and not overrunning unless late for a deadline. Have leisure and social activities at end of most days to help you put down your ‘tools’ and get out to do something relaxing. I alternate between yoga and the pub at about 6pm-ish most days.
Stay tuned for more interviews with Anywhere Workers.