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Working away from home: how to thrive in a remote world

Discover the benefits and challenges of working away from home. Learn strategies for staying productive, connected, and happy while working remotely.

9min

Working away from home

Imagine this: you're clicking away at your computer, sipping your coffee. But you're not at your regular desk - you're in a new, beautiful scenery. In our modern world, an increasing number of people are embracing the autonomy and adaptability of working away from home – basically anywhere with an internet connection.

The Worldpackers team has been working remotely for years, so we’re here to give you the honest scoop about this choice. After all, there are many perks, such as the chance to explore new places while still getting your job done. But there are also challenges, like staying focused and motivated and dealing with feelings of isolation.

In this article, we'll dive into both the benefits and the obstacles of working away from home and share some strategies for making the most of this experience.

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Benefits of working away from home

Working away from home comes with a unique set of benefits that can supercharge your career and personal growth, such as:

Opportunities for travel and new experiences

Remote work provides the unique opportunity to travel and experience new places while maintaining your job. Digital nomads can work from different cities or countries, enjoying the freedom to explore new cultures and environments. Breaking the traditional constraints of the 9-to-5 office job can offer a more dynamic and fulfilling way of living.

And even if you don’t want to be a full-time digital nomad, but only feel like working away from home from time to time, this experience can lead to personal growth and broader perspectives.

Greater autonomy and job satisfaction

Remote work also offers employees greater autonomy over their work. This sense of control can lead to higher job satisfaction and a stronger sense of ownership over projects and tasks. 

The ability to work independently fosters a sense of empowerment and motivation. When employees feel trusted and valued, they are more likely to be engaged and committed to their work.

Professional growth opportunities

Working away from home can open up a world of opportunities for professional growth. You have the chance to meet people from different backgrounds, share knowledge, and learn from their unique experiences. Networking with remote workers from other locations can be extremely valuable.

Building independence and self-reliance

When you're working away from your usual support system, you're forced to become more self-reliant. You'll learn to problem-solve on the fly, navigate unfamiliar territory, and trust your own judgment. This can be a major confidence booster and help you grow both personally and professionally.



Challenges of working away from home

While there are numerous benefits to working away from home, it's important to acknowledge and prepare for the challenges that come with it.

Isolation and loneliness

One of the most significant challenges of working away from home is the potential for isolation and loneliness. Being separated from family, friends, work colleagues and familiar social networks can lead to feelings of disconnection.

Without the casual interactions and social support that come with a traditional office environment, remote workers and expatriates may find it harder to build new relationships and feel part of a community. To combat this, it's important to actively seek social connections, whether through local meetups, online communities, or networking events.

Another great way to deal with this challenge is to sign up for Worldpackers work exchange programs, where you have the chance to befriend locals and other travelers – keep reading to find out how it works.

Time zone differences

For those working remotely for a company or freelance clients based in a different time zone, coordinating schedules can be a hurdle. Time zone differences can make it difficult to synchronize with colleagues, attend meetings, and maintain a consistent work routine. 

Effective communication and flexible scheduling are crucial to managing time zone challenges. Tools like shared calendars and time zone converters can help streamline coordination and minimize disruption.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle

When you're working away from home, it's easy to fall into unhealthy habits. Eating out frequently, skipping workouts, and neglecting self-care can lead to a decline in overall health and well-being.

Although it’s usually more challenging while you’re on the road, prioritizing a balanced diet, regular exercise, and sufficient sleep is crucial to staying energized and focused.

Maintaining work-life balance

When your home is your office, it can be tough to switch off at the end of the day. The lines between work and personal life can become blurred, leading to burnout. It's important to set clear boundaries and stick to a routine that includes plenty of downtime.

Distractions and lack of structure

Without the physical boundaries of a traditional office, it can be challenging to maintain focus and productivity. Establishing a dedicated workspace, creating a daily routine, and using productivity tools can help mitigate these issues and create a more disciplined work environment.



Tips for working away from home

To make the most of your time working away from home, it's essential to plan ahead and be well-prepared. Here’s some advice from our own experience:

Setting clear goals and priorities

Setting clear goals and priorities is essential for staying on track and making the most of your time. Break down your tasks into manageable chunks and prioritize them based on deadlines and importance.

Utilize tools like to-do lists, project management software, or time-blocking techniques like Pomodoro to keep track of your tasks. Regularly reviewing and adjusting your goals ensures you remain focused on what matters most and reduces anxiety.

Establishing a dedicated workspace

Having a dedicated workspace that's comfortable, ergonomic, and free from distractions makes a big difference when working away from home. 

This might mean staying in a coliving, renting a coworking space, or scoping out the best coffee shops in the area. Try to create a space that signals to your brain that it's time to focus and get down to business.

Packing essentials

Packing smart is key to minimizing stress and ensuring you have everything you need while working away from home. We recommend you create a detailed packing list that includes work essentials, such as laptop and chargers, as well as personal items like medications and comfort objects. Don't forget to check the weather forecast and pack appropriate clothing.

Staying connected with people back home

Maintaining strong connections with loved ones while working away from home can make a big difference to your wellbeing. Setting up a regular communication schedule with family and friends can provide a sense of stability and help everyone feel more connected.

Maintaining a regular exercise routine

Exercise is a great way to boost your mood, energy levels, and productivity. Look for accommodations with on-site gyms or research nearby fitness classes and running routes. If space is tight, pack some resistance bands or a yoga mat for in-room workouts.

Taking breaks and managing stress

Schedule breaks throughout the day to stretch, take a quick walk, or practice some deep breathing exercises. And don't forget to take advantage of your surroundings – a lunchtime stroll in a new city can do wonders for your mental health.

Exploring local culture and attractions

One of the best parts of working away from home is the chance to immerse yourself in new cultures and experiences. During your free time, explore local attractions, try new foods, and learn about local customs. Not only does this broaden your perspective, but it also helps you feel more connected to the places you visit.

Networking

Working away from home often means collaborating with colleagues or with other remote workers and digital nomads from different places. Taking the time to build relationships with these people can lead to valuable professional connections and opportunities for growth. Sharing knowledge and ideas with a diverse group of people could been instrumental in your career development.



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Working away from home with free accommodation

One platform that stands out in facilitating this lifestyle is Worldpackers, a community that connects travelers with hosts who need help in their small businesses, non-profit projects, or homes. It allows remote workers to live like locals, immerse themselves in new cultures, and form meaningful connections along the way.

Worldpackers operates on a simple premise: travelers provide their skills and time in exchange for accommodation and other perks like meals, classes and tours. This can range from teaching English, helping with digital marketing, gardening, working at a hostel’s front desk and much more.

Through this exchange, remote workers can reduce their living expenses significantly, making it possible to work away from home without the burden of accommodation costs. This arrangement not only makes travel more affordable but also enriches the experience by allowing travelers to contribute to the local community and learn new skills.

Unlike traditional travel, which often keeps tourists within the confines of popular attractions and hotels, Worldpackers placements allow travelers to experience the local culture firsthand, from everyday customs to hidden gems that only residents know about. Moreover, living and working with locals fosters deeper cultural understanding and appreciation.

Networking is another significant benefit of this type of exchange. By working alongside locals or other volunteers, remote workers can meet like-minded individuals from around the world. This opens up opportunities for professional collaboration, friendship, and a supportive community.



If you like this idea, it’s very easy to try it. Just create a free account on the website or mobile app and start browsing through the opportunities available all around the world. You can use different filters to narrow down search results, such as your preferred destinations, the type of tasks you’d like to perform, the duration of your stay and more.

Just beware that not all placements are suited for those who need to work remotely. Look for opportunities with a time commitment that’s compatible with your work hours and discuss your need to work on your current job or freelance gigs with the host before confirming the position. Also make sure that you’ll have fast internet access – that’s one of the filters you can use on the platform, but it’s good to confirm it with the host too.

There are thousands of opportunities available in more than 140 countries. For more details on this type of exchange, read our guide on How Worldpackers works.

Check out some examples of Worldpackers positions that might be perfect for your adventures working away from home:

Collaborate with a coliving space in rural Spain

Looking for a peaceful mountain escape? RuralCo Coliving offers a unique opportunity to work just 4 hours a day with weekends off and a free stay in a private room. Daily tasks include guest reception, housekeeping, cooking, and DIY projects. Embrace the rural lifestyle surrounded by breathtaking scenery and a warm community in Culla, a small mountain town one hour from Castellón, in Spain.

Here’s the review left by Mercedes, from Greece: “My experience at Ruralco was really amazing. From the 4 Worldpackers I have done so far, this one was the best. Not only the hosts were extremely nice but the place was beautiful. Additionally, we shared hiking, food parties, movies, card games, etc. with all the community at the co-living space. We have learnt a lot from the 2 weeks there and would be very happy to recommend this place to other volunteers”.

Click here for more information about this position.



Help with website development in Costa Rica

This is the perfect opportunity for web developers who want to work remotely with free accommodation in a paradisiac location. With this host, you’ll get a private room, three meals a day, fast internet access and a dedicated workspace in exchange for 16 hours of work per week.

“My stay with the Ramirez family was really an amazing experience. They have a beautiful home with a warm and welcoming environment. I never felt like I was out of place and every family member tried their best to be helpful and considerate. The location is a great place to spend several weeks. The family care about explaining different aspects of Costa Rican culture which I really enjoyed. I would recommend this experience to Worldpackers who are willing to collaborate and contribute”, said Áine, a former volunteer from Ireland.

Find out more about this work exchange placement.



Meet other remote workers and live in the Joshua Tree Desert

Want to work away from home without leaving the US? If you are up for a fun desert experience within a global community, you’ll love joining the team at ITH Coyote Ranch. This intentional community on a small farm in the Joshua Tree desert offers a coliving space for digital nomads. You can volunteer producing social media content in exchange of a free stay and use of their equipped kitchen.

Click here to find out more about this opportunity.



As you’ve seen, working away from home can be a game-changer - it offers flexibility, freedom, and the chance to see the world in a whole new way. But it's not without its challenges. By staying focused, connected, and intentional about your work and your well-being, you can thrive in a remote work environment.

Volunteering through Worldpackers can be the perfect gateway to this lifestyle. So, start browsing through the positions available on the website, pack your bags, charge your laptop, and get ready to take on the world - one remote workday at a time.



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