Remote Letter #11

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"Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be." - Abraham Lincoln

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News & Views

Work from Bali: Indonesia opening up to foreign digital nomads with working holiday regulation
Indonesia plans on issuing a regulation that would allow foreign travelers to work while holidaying in the country, one of the country’s top ministers said yesterday. “Foreigners who are experts in technology or IT, they [can] work from Bali […] we are already pushing for this. It’s just the regulation aspect we’re working on,” Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Pandjaitan said during a virtual event yesterday.

Remote work is changing how productivity is measured
The moment entire companies moved their workforces remote, business owners and employees alike both started to realize new realities about their jobs. For years, people had been told, “It’s essential for you to be in the office,” only to suddenly realize that being in the office wasn’t so essential after all. Zoom calls easily replaced dozens of weekly in-person meetings. Manual tasks such as filling out paperwork suddenly couldn’t be performed the same way, forcing companies to accelerate their digital transformation efforts. Processes that seemed to work fine in a physical office space suddenly showed how dated and inefficient they were. And every executive or manager’s fears of remote employees doing nothing but watching Netflix and playing Xbox all day at home instead of working were eased. Companies all over the world have realized that working from home is not only more efficient but more suitable for the wants and needs of today’s workers. According to one company interviewed by Forbes, as well as research by Harvard Business Review, working from home boosts company-wide productivity—it doesn’t squander it.

A Step by Step Guide to Moving to Barbados
In early July, the Barbadian government announced the creation of a 1 year (renewable) remote work visa and set off a rush of interest in moving to the most stable and wealthy island in the Caribbean. A small group of colleagues, friends, and I decided to make the move, so I put together the step by step guide to help others avoid the pitfalls we experienced (like having to rebook our flights three times). I’ll address why we’re doing this in a separate post. This guide is targeted predominately at US individuals and folks traveling from other Covid high-risk countries (as defined by the Barbadian government). Following this plan will get you to Barbados and allow you to evaluate living there longer-term.

These companies enabled the Work-From-Home transition of 2020. Here's what they learned.
For many enterprise organizations, 2020 has been the ultimate test of agility and scrappiness under pressure. The initial logistical scramble to comply with stay-at-home orders has morphed into a long-term strategic challenge to anticipate how COVID-19 will affect industries in the future. As professionals across the country enter their sixth month of working from home, we checked in with leaders at companies building the products and services that have enabled that mass work-from-home transition. They include cybersecurity software providers, work-from-home hardware distributors, cloud-based collaboration tools and even platforms to help parents find safe childcare services in a pinch.

The future of air travel is going high tech due to coronavirus
MY RECENT PLANE trip from Washington, D.C. to Eugene, Oregon, didn’t feel different from a circa-2019 flight. Apart from an airport gift shop T-shirt that read “I’m sorry for what I said when we were quarantined,” the experience was familiar—even with masked passengers and half-full planes. But experts say that our future flights could be very different. A tech revolution in the aviation industry was already in motion before the pandemic. But the medical and material demands of COVID-19 have brought urgency and velocity to the race to make passenger air travel safer. On the ground and in the air, robot cleaners, new PPE uniforms for flight attendants, and mandatory medical screenings could become standard aspects of future air travel.


Discussions

Cosmopolitan but not-so-big cities around Europe?
We are looking for options for a stay in a city in Europe, preferably Ireland, Italy or Spain. Madrid, Barcelona, Milan and Rome are out of the question due to the cost of living and our dislike for huge cities. But I also find I need a city in which I can a) find a nice and modern gym I can work at/relax (steam rooms and such), b) opportunities for volunteering (I looove charity shops) and c) opportunities to mingle with all kinds of people and not just locals so I don't feel like the odd one out (book clubs, community theater companies and the sort).

What Stops You from Switching Remote US Only to Remote Same Time Zone?
If your company is Remote US Only, what would it take for your company to start employing people at the same skill level, with the same culture, language, same time zone, same experience, just not residents of the U.S. Is it distance to fly into your HQ? Guadalajara is closer to Bay Area than New York. Medellin is just as far as Bay Area from New York. Is it payroll and compliance? Deel, Pilot, etc., are like Zenefits/Trinet for Global Payroll. Is it experience? There are engineers residing outside of the U.S. in Canada and Latin America that work or have worked for Automattic, Auth0, Gitlab, AI Fund, NodeSource, Ooyala, WolframAlpha, Auth0, etc., They are all on linkedin. I want to understand the variables that if changed would make it so your remote U.S. only company has employees that reside outside of the U.S.

Working remote = no promotions, slow income growth. True?
Was wondering if people here thought this was true, and if there were any resources comparing the income growth of full remote workers to the income growth of in-office workers. My feeling is that remote workers will have basically stagnant career growth and slower income growth than in-office workers. Reason for asking is that I'm thinking of going full remote after COVID is over. Thoughts?

How do you handle referrals you know don’t have an adequate budget?
I had a client refer a friend to me who has a little side business that my client said could use my help with. After two emails I could tell this person would not have the budget for the work my client and I knew that she needed. I took the call and I was pretty upfront about the budget I thought she needed, we’ll see if I ever hear from her again. I honestly just feel bad. It’s like a movie where the kid comes in with his life savings for a toy that costs 5 times what he has. I’m curious how others handle these sorts of situations?

The 2020s are the Remote Work decade
A few predictions of what is likely to emerge


Podcasts

How Coronavirus Pushed a Shift to "Total Freedom" (Happiness at Work)
Alessandro Fossato, founder of Interlogica and self proclaimed facilitator for technological change, explains how his company went remote in just four hours when Italy went on lockdown due to the coronavirus and how now they'll never look back. Learn how his company dealt with the shift and why their new merit money system changed the way people think about giving gratitude.

How to Build Remote Company Culture & Communicate Efficiently with Magda Sowierszenko (All Remote Podcast)
In this episode, Magda Sowierszenko, Head of Communications at Remote-how, takes the stage to talk about what it takes to be a good remote manager, how to communicate efficiently, and what constitutes a solid company culture.

Nomad Stories EP7 with Racheli Aye | Greece to Mongolia in Fiat Panda (Nomad Stories)
Racheli is an American/Israeli currently in Bali. She is an avid adventurer living a non conventional lifestyle. She is obsessed with traveling the world over land and that usually means by motorcycle or car. Racheli blogs, vlogs, and shares her adventures through the content she creates on social media, and she hopes to inspire other young women to step out of their comfort zone and dare to explore.