With his very own Instagram hashtag – #leadingremotely – Jamie has been away for 4 months and driven 10,000km’s in that time….with no return date in sight.
With so many adventures already under his belt that he’s sharing with his family, here are some wise words from our leader, working remotely in outback Australia:
Travel blog by Jamie Lingham, Founder & CEO of Absolute Immigration:
COVID was (and still is) devastating for the world, although as with all clouds, there have been silver linings.
Lockdown introduced mandatory work from home and homeschooling, which was a nightmare for both parents (me) and their (my) children, but it was also an opportunity to learn that we could adapt to the ‘new normal’ that everyone was talking about. As a family, we redefined our reality and set our sights on the ultimate work / learn / lead-from-anywhere adventure by a Griswold-style road trip around Australia. We purchased a camping trailer, rented out our house, and decided to join the increasing number of working professionals on the road who have embraced the remote work journey.
Our goal was to at least do as well as we were with work and home-schooling during the lockdown. One month in, there have already been some lessons learned that I’m keen to share:
Lesson #1: Preparation is key
Setting up an experiment such as what we have been part of, takes time, planning, and patience. Preparing a family holiday or a long vacation can take months and a good handover and ‘out of office’ will generally get you through your trip with very few issues to deal with on your return. Working remotely forces you to ensure you have robust systems and processes, redefine your role within the team, and to delegate when and where possible. Planning meetings around areas with telephone reception and getting a satellite phone need to be considered. The better preparation, the less stress. The less stress, the better the experience.
Lesson #2: Laser focus
Infrequent internet access and reduced interaction with colleagues and clients, coupled with working remotely, forces laser-focus on priority tasks. The old daily issues seem to have paled into insignificance and the clarity of distance allows clarity of thinking and the ability to work on the business, as opposed to working in it. Not only do you have time to work on half-finished ideas and projects, but you also come up with new projects to grow the business.
Lesson #3: It’s a lifestyle, not a holiday
The decision to work remotely for six months is a change of work location, as opposed to your next family holiday. To this end, you need to be disciplined, have focus, and ensure that you keep the connection with work, when, where, and often as possible. This needs to be communicated to everyone from your partner, kids, and through to your team and clients so that they don’t treat you like this is long-service leave or a well-deserved break. It worked well in lockdown, it can work well anywhere.
Lesson #4: The work week is dead
Work from anywhere also means work at any time, which includes working on long car trips between campsites, points of interest, and connectivity. I have had countless hours in the passenger seat answering emails and working on projects, with little consideration as to if I was in ‘work hours’ or not. While I may not complete a 38-hour workweek every week, the lack of distraction accounts for increased productivity and better outcomes. The flexibility in the day also allows me to spend time with the family, trek gorges, and enjoy the experience along the way.
Lesson #5: Win the morning, win the day
Getting things done early ensures that the major things have been addressed before the day starts for the rest of the family. Waking up at 5 am not only allows you to see the sunrise, it also gives you quiet time to focus on the tasks at hand and proactively start the day. Again, this is a discipline, but you need to remember to give yourself a couple of weeks ‘work free’ at the start of the trip so that you can settle into your new living conditions, especially when you move from a good size house to a 5m x 2.5m space, it takes some getting used to!
So far, the adventure has been worth it, although I am keen to know what will change by the end of month two – wish me luck!
You can follow our trip on Instagram @leadingremotely