Many of us are growing increasingly accustomed to doing our work from anywhere, anytime. It’s a skill we will certainly need in the years to come. But as I prepare for my work stint in London early next year, I’ve been researching what it means to be truly location independent. To that end, blogger Sean Ogle has provided some excellent suggestions for being as safe and productive as you can while working overseas.
Suggestion 1: Reliable VPN
VPN stands for Virtual Private Network, and the primary purpose is to allow you to allow you to securely connect to a network remotely. A VPN can allow you to hide your actual identity or location. Many countries block certain sites completely, so the only way to access them is when connected to a VPN. A VPN can also make you look like you’re in the country, which can come in handy if you need location-specific search results, for instance. Sean recommends Express VPN.
Suggestion 2: Conference call tool
If you’re going to be doing meetings with a team in another country, a good con calling tool is essential. Sean uses Go to Webinar for big calls and webinars, Go to Meeting for smaller private calls, and Skype for one on one calls. Less expensive options include Free Conference Call, Any Meeting, and the video-based Spreecast.
Suggestion 3: Skype In number with Google Voice
By getting a Skype In number ($60/year) and a Google Voice number (free) you can use the GV number as your local number, and then have it forward to your Skype number. Essentially this means anytime someone calls you, it calls you directly on Skype. I am also looking forward to implementing Sean’s strategy of forwarding my Skype number to my local London cell phone. That way, people in the U.S. can call me on their cells, and I can answer with paying outrageous charges.
Suggestion 4: Device tracking
Apparently, traveling abroad boosts your risk of getting robbed exponentially, and the last thing you want is to lose your equipment and your work. Sean recommends installing software that will track your devices and wipe them clean in the event of theft. To operate, you simply log on to a website, report your equipment as stolen, and remotely turn on the webcam and see who is using your computer. The most well-known of these services is Prey.
Suggestion 5: Portable hard drive
Sean says that to prevent new media like videos and photos from getting lost, erased, or stole you should try to leave it in two places when you travel. Usually, a combination of an external hard drive, laptop, and SD card will do the trick. A portable USB powered drive is helpful too, since this prevents you from having to carry around a heavy, fragile hard drive. Sean uses the Seagate Portable 1TB.
Not only am I now excited for my sojourn as a location independent, but I’m relieved too. I hadn’t even heard of most of these tools before, and now I’ll be using them on an everyday basis in order to protect my physical and intellectual property during my European adventure.