Grab your laptop or device of choice and off you go: work from wherever you want, at whatever hours you please, using whatever methods and tools you like.
It’s what makes remote working so popular — it’s not tied up in generalised work policies that regulate your hours, restrict your location, and dictate how you should get things done.
But although this complete freedom and flexibility is the way of working’s main benefit, it can also be its biggest curse. Whether it’s struggling to find reliable internet and hunching over a laptop or not getting sick pay and suffering from chronic loneliness, remote working is far from perfect. And being something that’s just recently taken off on a mass scale, it’s desperately lacking in adequate solutions.
In attempt to address these issues and make remote working work in the long run, many services, sites, apps, and platforms are cropping up with their own unique answers. Here we’re going to look at three of the more promising that are already gaining traction, and as such, could very well be paving the way for a brighter future of remote working.
Nomad List: Connect and Live
With over 50,000 users, Nomad List is one of the most popular sites for finding remote-work-friendly places to live and connecting with other like-minded professionals.
Its data is crowdsourced from users all around the world, covering everything from wifi speeds to rent costs, quality of life to level of English. All this info is also brought together to establish which is the ultimate nomad city — Canggu in Bali currently sitting in first place, Bangkok in second, and Budapest in third.
Many of Nomad List’s features are free, including a job board, flight search, and a map function that distinguishes city neighbourhoods according to the type of people they may suit best — suits, hippies, normies, rich, uni, and tourists. But for features like the chat, forum, and travel planner, you need to sign up and pay.
Despite being one of the most comprehensive guides for remote workers in choosing a place to live, as this is a choice that will always be subjective, it can never be anything more than a guide. For instance, I’ve lived in four of their top six locations (Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Ho Chi Minh, and Barcelona) and, at least for me, I wouldn’t rate them anywhere near as highly. Whereas for my actual top three favourite cities, Antigua comes in at 86, Hoi An at 140, and San Cristobal De Las Casas, my number one, doesn’t even appear on the list of nearly a thousand.
Copass: Cowork Anywhere
One pitfall of coworking culture is that, apart from the ping pong table in the corner and not having a manager breathing down your neck, on the surface, it’s scarcely different from office life. Largely because you generally have to rent out a space on a monthly basis, you show up and work from the same desk and same four walls each and every day.
Copass is one service that may have a solution to this. With over 750 independent coworking spaces in its network, Copass members can work from a wide range of diverse locations around the world. They have 17 in the UK, around 400 others across the rest of Europe, and many more in places as far as Armenia, Kazakhstan, and Madeira.
With the exception of a few big US players like WeWork and Impact Hub, who have well over 100 each, coworking companies that offer its members more than a handful of locations is a rarity. So, for perpetual travellers, or those who simply like variety in their workplace but also value stability, Copass may be worth the €299 (£263) monthly cost.
The way it works is that Copass acts as a mediator between users and coworking spaces. Companies list their spaces on Copass for free, are advised to set prices at a discounted rate for users to encourage traffic, and Copass makes their bit by taking off 6 percent fee off every transaction.
Workfrom: Work Anywhere
With cities and coworking spaces covered, Workfrom is the place to go to find coffee shops, hotels, restaurants, and any other work-friendly spaces around the world.
Available on the web and as an app, it’s the largest and most practical platform of its kind to date. Although at the moment most of its top 20 locations are cities in the US, it offers specific data on popular remote locations that you won’t find anywhere else. Searches can be filtered by parameters such as fast wifi, level of noise, late hours, and dedicated workspace. Recommendations also nicely include details from other remote workers, commenting on things like power outlets, drink prices, and ambience.
With a huge and growing community of ‘scouts’ — the people that list suggested places to work from — the site also runs the top-ranked Slack community for “remote and independent professionals.” Its idea is to create a global community of people who work remotely and offer a “modern-day water cooler” around which they can connect.
It features a few general channels and many dedicated ones where things like remote jobs are posted and advise can be requested. You need to upgrade to be invited to the channel — $50 (£37) a year — but for the price, you also get first access to new products and features and get in the loop on community events.
Know another service or platform that’s not mentioned here and is changing remote working for the better? Let us know what it is and why you like it the comments.
Joseph Pennington is a freelance writer and long-term traveller from the North of England. Find him on LinkedIn or Medium exploring remote working, technology, meditation, and everything in between.