How to work remotely for a US company from abroad
Until recently, the idea of working from home was firmly in “must be nice” territory for most employees—the stuff of wistful conversations during post-work happy hours. The Pew Research Center found that before the COVID-19 pandemic, only 20% of people whose work could be done remotely were working from home most or all of the time. Keeping your working hours in check is one of the top tips for working from home or while touring the globe. You add structure to your work life so that you know what you should be doing at a particular time. By doing this, you spend less time planning and arguing with yourself over what task to handle first.
Working remotely means that sometimes you’re going to feel a bit…remote. Can you think of a time when you needed to be proactive about researching how to do something? As lovely as rolling out of bed and into your desk chair might sound, remote work does have some downsides. Working in your home can be distracting (think your roommate’s loud sales calls or your cat constantly walking across the keyboard). It’s also easy to get sucked into doing just one load of laundry when you know your boss isn’t going to walk by and ask you why you haven’t turned that report in yet. Plus, you don’t have colleagues sitting all around you to serve as positive peer pressure to keep working or to provide a sense of camaraderie that keeps you going.
How to set yourself up for success
In 2021, in the US 91% of people who work from home said they would like to continue to work remotely in the future. In Gallup’s September 2021 study, 54% of workers said they believed that their company’s culture would be unchanged by remote work, while 12% believed it would improve and 33% predicted it would deteriorate. Big companies work on secure networks, but when information is things needed to work from home taken out of the office, security is not guaranteed. Employees need to be extremely careful when doing work in public places, said Rozwell. If companies have specific requests–for example if they don’t want employees working on public Wi-Fi–then that should be stated in the policy. If a company has a preference on the physical environment an employee works in, put it in the policy.
Plus, with no commute in your planner, you have plenty more time for yourself! For some, remote work can be a challenge, full of countless distractions, grueling hours and high stress. Remote work is all about asynchronous communication, and, with that, sometimes miscommunication can creep in. If you aren’t careful, a lack of in-person interactions can also negatively impact your working relationship. For a variety of reasons, it is generally not possible to work remotely in the U.S. without a work visa. My latest book is The Everything Guide to Remote Work, which goes into great detail about a subject that I’ve been covering as a writer and participating in personally since well before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Screen sharing software
Most computers will come with basic image editing built-in, such as Microsoft’s Photos and Apple’s Preview or Photos. The free GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is powerful but fairly complex. Paint.Net is fairly feature-packed but simple on Windows, and Google Photos in a browser can handle basic photo improvement jobs. If you need to word process or handle spreadsheets, Google’s online Docs suite works fantastically in a browser. Alternatives include Microsoft’s free Office online or Apple’s free Pages and Sheets on a Mac.
During 2020, the steepest productivity improvements came in April and May, during the height of the pandemic. Much of this was due to the elimination of daily commutes and lengthy in-person meetings. And they’ll likely be asking you questions aimed at teasing these traits out. Perhaps it’s occasional in-person meetings with your team, if that’s feasible. Possibly back-to-back meetings or meetings without a clear objective. Make a list and consider talking with your manager to try to build a better remote collaboration strategy.