One of the best parts about being a remote worker is being able to travel anytime and anywhere without having to take days off. Your workflow can stay consistent and you get a nice ocean view (or mountain view, if you prefer) along with it. But, how can you deal with working in a totally different time zone when you work specific set hours in your home city? It can be tough and draining especially when dealing with heavy jet lag.
My specific working hours are 1pm PST to 9pm PST which is amazing for me and my everyday schedule but a nightmare if I am traveling around Europe. I still have to work my set hours while in Europe which would be from 9pm to 5am in western Europe and even later in eastern Europe. Adjusting my schedule takes a bit of planning and lots of research. It mostly consists of daily activities I’d like to do while traveling abroad while balancing work. Being in London for a few days this month has helped me gain more practice in the art of time zone adjusting.
Arrange Your Sleep Schedule
Some people adjust themselves to a new timezone by sleeping on the entire flight while others advise against this. Every individual is different so you must do what works best for you. I personally adjust better by sleeping on my 10-hour flight to Europe and arriving at my destination in the afternoon. I may not feel so refreshed, but I also don’t feel drastically tired. This helps set my sleeping schedule for my entire trip as I would be working late into the night and sleeping until about noon. Arrange your sleeping schedule according to your set working hours and make sure to grant yourself at least 7 hours of sleep each time you rest while traveling. You’ll need all the energy you can get as you’ll be battling off jet lag as well as beaming with the excitement of being in a new place. If your working hours are not set or are more flexible, you will able to set your hours according to a vacation schedule either during normal daytime hours or even a few hours in the morning and a few at night.
Plan Out Your Days
As meticulous and time-consuming as this may sound, it’s well worth it to ensure you aren’t scrambling around to find out if the museum or event you really want to see is open on a Sunday at 6pm. Since my work schedule lasted until 5am London time, I had to make sure the places I wanted to visit would be open in the afternoon or evening. By the time I got ready and could grab something to eat, it would already be 3pm. At that point, I only had so many things I could do before certain shops and exhibits closed. The best way to work around a tight schedule is by planning your days accordingly. I have a notebook that shows days and times certain shops and museums are open. I also note down menu prices, nearby subway/bus stops, and location addresses. This really helped me pinpoint which locations I would visit on certain days and I was able to travel confidently without any delays.
Pack What You Need
One of my biggest fears when traveling is forgetting something, especially when I’m traveling somewhere far away for a long period of time. Make a packing list with your remote working essentials as top priority. When I first traveled to Europe, I forgot to pack my headset with my mic and ended up having to buy a new one overseas. It may have only been about $13 but it was a small amount of money that could have been spent elsewhere. Not to mention that I walked to about five different stores looking for a headset with a built-in mic. Your list should have all your essentials you use on a daily working basis. You definitely don’t want to have to be wasting hours looking for or spending money on USB cables or chargers. Pack what you need and triple check your luggage before you leave for the airport.
Give Advance Notice
I’m so grateful that my fellow remote workers accommodate my travels as I do with theirs. We make sure to cover each other’s shifts if traveling during our normal working hours. Give your employers and fellow workers a heads up when your traveling so they can accommodate the schedule accordingly if need be. Perhaps you can even arrange a few days off when it’s least busy to get the most out of your trip or adapt to traveling times. Having clear and consistent communication with each other ensures that the workflow stays steady and emails don’t pile up.