A lot is said lately of working remotely. 2020 is the year for remote work. Remote is the new black. Working remotely this and remote that.
It all sounds very exciting. Almost romantic. Sell up. Pack everything you own into 2 suitcases. Get a one-way ticket to Bali. Join the nomadic movement. Work when you want, from anywhere in the world.
As someone who has done this, I can tell you it’s pretty great. It’s how I supported myself early on in my career and how I got to work on international brands.
When I went on my own again towards the end of 2018, remote life seemed like my dream too. Especially after a short trip to Bali. Being on workation has been a dream of mine for the past 5 years.
I was super enthusiastic about working remotely, but I have been plagued with two consistent themes no matter who I approached.
Firstly, most remote opportunities still require you to be in the US (I have not found too many opportunities in other countries) as they don’t want to go through the payment and taxation issues with foreigners, despite cheaper rates, flexible work schedules, and an evident strong work ethic.
Secondly, how do you lead a team of designers remotely, when you’re not at the agency?
The first problem, is literally impossible to overcome, over a year later and no one has been willing to extend their remote work internationally, even after hundreds of applications.
The second problem, I am yet to figure out as there are so many complex layers leading from afar. Sure you could fly to meetings, I’d be up for that. But I’m not alone in my reservations. No one seems to even want to entertain it.
I have even been willing to work remotely as purely a designer. Taking a huge step back in my career, in favour of lifestyle. But no one has been willing to bite.
If you have success working remotely, as a designer or a leader, serving the American market, please do get in touch. But despite all the hype, so far I know of very few people who are surfing before heading to their local coffee shop on an island in Indonesia earning top dollar, benefiting from the rise of working remotely.