Effective Remote Work… Even From the Maldives

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With a tiny bit of planning, it can be effective to remote work from anywhere, even the Maldives.

Okay… who the heck am I kidding?  I can’t speak authoritatively on working from the Maldives.  I may be the last travel blogger on the planet who has not been to the Maldives (and I have no plans to go anytime in the foreseeable future).

But I can definitely speak to remote work, something I do a lot of.

I not only have to effectively remote work a good chunk of the time both at my home office (the one where showering and putting on real clothes is optional) but I also remote work a lot from airplanes, airport lounges, hotels, and other strange locales.

And for the last two weeks,, I’ve been working half-time from a luxury cruise ship on a transatlantic crossing.

My requirement for remote work made this recent article from the M-Dash (the MM LaFleur blog) interesting.  Besides being my latest fashion obsession, MM LaFleur produces what I consider to be a must-subscribe blog for any professional female of the blog-reading demographic.

The article is a great primer for working effectively from any remote locale and inspired me to think about my own five rules for remote work:

  1. Dress for work – Its easy (way too easy) to roll out of bed in pajamas and spend all day lounging about with a laptop but its tough to get real work accomplished when you look (and feel) like you are enjoying a sick day. I find that getting up and taking a quick shower and getting dressed (even if its in “nice yoga pants”… an oxymoron at best) helps me feel businesslike.  And I always put on shoes.
  2. Have a detailed plan – Planning out my attack on the day is important when I want to be sure I’m effective.  I am a big fan of planning out my day first thing in the morning before I sit down to begin working.
  3. Take scheduled breaks – No, not the “let’s watch television” kind of breaks.  The get up, stretch your legs, eat something healthy kind.  I try to treat my blocks of work time the same whether I’m in the office or at home or in a hotel.  I wouldn’t take a binge television break at the office so I try not to do it at home either.  Although I do have days where I’m working on something that is repetitive and hours long (like cleaning up a database) where parking on the sofa in front of an Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt binge watch session.  That’s where the “detailed plan” comes into play… at least I know when I can do that.
  4. Have backup tasks – Let’s face it… sometimes connectivity from the road sucks!  (Don’t ask me how long this simple article took… the internet crawled to a halt three times in the past 2 days as I worked on it.)  If I’m going to be truly productive, it requires having alternatives – that means files that are stored offline for when I can’t get an internet connection and I have hard copy work I can pick up/put down when I am not near technology at all (like sitting in the waiting room at a doctor’s office or waiting to take off on a backed up day at O’Hare).
  5. Invest in technology that works for you – For me, that’s the highest speed of internet my home carrier offers.  On the road, it means having a cellular plan that isn’t cost-compromised by my frequent use of my phone as a wireless hot spot and monthly Gogo inflight internet subscription.  And sometimes on vacation, it means splurging on an internet package (like the $399/unlimited full cruise package I got for this 16 night Seabourn cruise).

What is your best tip for effective remote work?  I’ve got a free Gogo inflight internet pass to give away for the best idea submitted between now and midnight CT on Friday, April 15, 2016.

About Jennifer Moody

Jennifer is a management consultant and avid volunteer. Her career and volunteer duty travels have helped her log top-tier airline and hotel status annually for the last nineteen years. In addition, she embraces the opportunity to maximize her vacation time by planning extracurricular trips that have taken her to over 60 countries and 48.5 US states. Once an "every week" road warrior, she now only travels around 100 days a year. She resides in her native Fort Worth, Texas where she enjoys cooking, gardening, sewing, needlepoint, wine, and playing with her Border Collie/Great Pyreness mix puppy Harley Quinn.

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  1. Great list! My addition – Have a separate working area with a door for the fewest disruptions – especially at home with others present. At a hotel, use the Do Not Disturb sign. Also move the hotel furniture around so you feel comfortable, like moving the desk near the window or power outlets.

  2. For the few times I have no internet connection, I use that time to delete and file emails. That’s really the only time that task gets done.

  3. Great tips, but I must say: if you’re working remotely from the Maldives, you’re doing it wrong. That’s where you go to get away from it all!

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