How to Work Remotely

Nowadays, with an increased focus on diversity and flexibility, many employers are becoming more and more open to their employees working non-standard hours or working remotely. For them it reduces their FTE costs by not needing as large a desk count and such but it also helps them tick some boxes in regards to their employment practices and turnover if they’re shown to be a flexible workplace.

Mostly, the people you see working remotely are either freelancers, solopreneurs, virtual assistants or international contractors working as a branch of a company based elsewhere. If you’re not sure whether you company will be open to this kind of arrangement, ask them! And if they haven’t done it before, present them with a business case for how it will work and benefit both of you and why they should consider it – you’ll find that employers aren’t as scary as they’re made out to be and will often be really receptive and impressed with your forethought and moxy.


Writers, web developers, IT specialists, graphic designers, photographers, contractors and sales people are all common freelancer types - with probably the least reliable income unless you’re fiercely proactive about marketing and cold-calling or you manage to set up a recurring freelance contract with multiple clients.

Effectively, you’re self-employed (yay!) so set yourself up with a professional business website to act as your portfolio since this will generally be the first point of contact. Attend events, market yourself and sign up for jobs on sites like ELance or Fiverr to gain some initial clients. Rake in the testimonials because word of mouth will sell your services a lot faster than traditional advertising mediums.


More on the self-employed front is entrepreneurship. The beauty of owning your own business is that it can generally be done anywhere as long as your business isn’t specific to a certain locale or demographic.

If you’re looking to build a start up on the cheap, a lot of overseas locations like South America and South East Asia can be incredible for resources, staffing and for massive cost cuts on expenses. If you’re planning to start your business in the city where expenses are high, it definitely pays to start by sharing your time between a full or part time job and your own business until the business is performing well enough on its own that you can comfortably afford the expenses without the day job. Look at shared space offices if you don’t have the luxury of a home office or dedicated work space and contract some work out to those freelancers above who will often do the work at lower cost than you can find locally.

The Logistics

Working out a place to live and work is the next big question once you find the world open to you. If you’re not locked into a specific location by the company you’re working remotely for or not targeting a specific local demographic, you really have free reign over where you work.

Air B’n B can be a fantastic resource for finding short term accommodation and Nomad List is also a great resource (and more specifically targeted to remote workers rather than travelers), providing filters for narrowing your options and finding truly effective spaces whether they’re co-living/ co-working or private options.

In New Zealand, we have Shared Space which offers a variety of co-working options whether they be an office within a larger office, a desk in an open space of like minded creatives or a hot desk or meeting room to use when you feel like coming in. It lends your business more credibility that the usual coffee-shop meetup where you’re struggling to hear and risk spilling your flat white down your crisp white business shirt (or stretched v-neck hipster tee depending on your line of work).