9+ BEST Virtual Mailbox Services [2022]

virtual mailbox - get your postal mail anywhere

Virtual mailbox services are a must for the digital nomad and remote worker toolbox. If you work from anywhere – you have to have a way to get your physical mail. Fortunately, you can have a permanent street address and get your postal mail online.

I’ll walk through the ins and outs of virtual mailbox services, what they are and how they work. Also, how to choose a service that’s right for you, with several virtual mailbox companies to choose from.

Whether you are a digital nomad, frequent world traveler, student abroad, expat, snowbird, online business owner, or you want to take a month-long workation and work remotely on some remote island with Wi-Fi – you need to be able to access your paper mail.

The last thing you want is when you come back from vacation and or an extended stay and you’ve missed a check, a notification from your mortgage company, insurance, Christmas card, note from a loved one, a package…

You’ve probably experienced this more than a few times. Having a check reissued is a pain. Not being able to deposit a check when you’re on your remote island is frustrating, especially if you need to book another night in that lovely beach hotel (or order another drink), and can’t. Missing a notice from a bill collector and now you’re getting notices from collections. If you’ve already been on the road or if you’re just looking to go on the road it’s very important to not miss a beat so that you can enjoy your time, keep your focus, not add to life’s stresses, and simply just make life work!

Of course, you need to make sure you’re set up to be mobile and work remotely and that you are able to communicate while abroad – and you can’t overlook postal mail. Instead of using your energy trying to figure out who you trust to manage your mail when you’re gone (and you can still miss those important items) you don’t have to worry about that when you can have a virtual mailbox. Virtual mailboxes provide peace of mind and allow you to stay on the road.

I’ve had virtual mailboxes for several years and it’s a pure lifesaver if you travel often. It’s getting even easier now to manage your virtual mailbox even from your phone (there’s an app for that!). I’ve used several different services and I’m sharing my experiences as well as features and benefits from the best virtual mailbox providers for long term travelers, digital nomads, remote workers, etc.

Also if you’re an online business owner and would like to have a real physical street address for your mail other than your own house, having a virtual mailbox is a necessity. It’s only a small business expense to feel anonymous in your home and your personal address.

There is no doubt that the world has gone digital, and in as much as this brings with it convenience and the ability to work from anywhere at any time, there are still restrictions that may add to a rise in stress levels.

One such restriction is your mail. Frequent travelers, digital nomads and remote workers alike have access to almost every tool required to fulfill their responsibilities in the work sphere. But often run a risk of losing track of important mail delivered to their physical mailbox. The solution to this is a virtual mailbox service.

What is a Virtual Mailbox?

In layman’s terms, a virtual mailbox is simply a digital mailbox service that is accessible from anywhere in the world. Standard virtual mailbox services allow users to receive both postal mail, and packages, anywhere you are located. In short, one physical address associated with a mail center that provides you with mail scanning services as well as mail and package forwarding.

You just need a smartphone, laptop, or tablet (which, as a remote worker or digital nomad, you already have) and an internet connection to access your mail from anywhere in the world!

How does a Virtual Mailbox work?

Virtual Mailboxes are set up with physical or post office box addresses that are managed by virtual mailbox handling services. You set up an account through a virtual mailbox provider like Anytime Mailbox. You choose a real physical address from their list of addresses. This becomes your new physical mailing address, technically your virtual mailing address, for your personal or business mail. You can have multiple virtual mailbox addresses.

Is a Virtual Mailbox the same as a P.O. Box?

To be clear, it’s not a P.O. Box, however, it works the same way in that there’s a centralized location where your mail arrives. The difference between a local post office and third party mail centers is that virtual mail centers offer a mail scanning service. All your mail handling is provided by a third party.

Once your mail is received by the third party mail center (i.e. Anytime Mailbox), your mail is scanned, and a notification is posted to your mailing inbox. You can now access all your mail and manage your postal mail via an inbox! Cool, right? Your new virtual office, minus the vending machine (a virtual vending machine would make a great addition to a virtual office… hmmm, someday).

Here’s a screenshot of what it looks like when new mail arrives.  You can see my current inbox.  Also, you can see what happens if you don’t open your email on time (see storage fees that are about to apply, I’d better hurry. .).

Anytime Mailbox inbox

When you open your mail, you can see the actions you’re able to take – open and scan mail, forward mail, shred, recycle, deposit check, etc.

Actions to take virtual mail

 

Once you view your scanned mail, you get to decide what step to take next.

Is it an offer for a free car … aka spam mail? You can request to have your mail shredded and recycled.

Is it your remote worker W-2 or 1099? You can request to open and scan it. You can then either download it as a PDF or have it forwarded to your current home address.

Is it a package? Maybe you ordered a new backpack from Amazon and you need a new one asap. You can forward mail, including packages, to your current address.

How can you get a Virtual Mailbox?

Given that many online businesses are run from lounges, bedrooms, garages and internet cafes (in short, anywhere with a reliable wi-fi connection), virtual mailboxes have been largely used by businesses, but are extremely beneficial to remote workers, digital nomads and long term travelers alike.

Selecting a Virtual Mailbox Provider

Armed with a valid email address, your first step would be to select the best virtual mailbox service that can meet your need from a business or personal perspective. You’ll want to note things like: number of monthly mail scans, mail shreds, storage limitation, and monthly fee. Fees can quickly stack up if you aren’t checking your online postal mailbox frequently and telling the mail handler how to manage your mail. Speaking of, I need to check my inbox!

Pick a new mailing address in your city of preference

A virtual mailbox is, well, virtual, meaning you get to select an address wherever you choose. If your business operates remotely, you can choose a virtual business address in any city as your remote headquarters.

Addresses in premium cities, and premium areas, will cost more than those in less-dense cities. For example, if you choose New York or San Francisco for your new virtual mailbox address, you will pay more than cities like Cincinnati or Oklahoma City. If you choose Menlo park versus Oakland, also expect your monthly fee to be a bit higher.

Complete required documentation/notarization

You will need to provide some form of identification to authorize a company to receive mail on your behalf. If you’re located in the US, this means filling out a USPS 1583 Form. This provides authorization for your service provider to receive and open and scan your mail on your behalf (so you check your postal mail from anywhere).

It may sound like a hassle to do a bunch of paperwork. It used to be, but not today. I switched from Traveling Mailbox to Anytime Mailbox because they offer an online notary (and also for their global network of over 1,400 locations). I was able to fill out my USPS 1583 form and get the form notarized online within 30 minutes, versus taking several days.

Forward your postal mail to your new address

Now that your virtual mailbox is set up, all that’s left to do is to forward your mail to your new virtual mailing address. Or, fill out a change of address form. I use a virtual mailbox both for my personal mail and my business mail. I receive mail in Seattle and San Francisco and open it from my smartphone.

How do you choose a virtual mailbox service

Below we’ve listed the best virtual mailbox services for long term travelers, digital nomads, and online business owners.

TLDR; The best virtual mailbox service: Anytime Mailbox

The best Virtual mailbox services

1. Anytime Mailbox

I mentioned this above and why I switched – primarily because of the online notary service, smartphone app, and large selection of locations.

Anytime Mailbox has over 1,400 street addresses across the United States and internationally, giving you the freedom to select the perfect location.

There is a range of plans with prices starting as low as $5.99, depending on your chosen location and services. You get full control of your virtual mailbox service since you get to select your required features such as mail scanning, incoming mail forwarding, check deposit, and mail shredding.

Each account gets free unlimited online storage as long as your account is active. Anytime Mailbox is one of the most global virtual mailboxes for digital nomads and their online interface is user-friendly.

Ease of use:

  • Mobile app
  • Access from PC, tablet, laptop or smartphone, on Apple, Android and Mac

Prices:

  • Range from $5.99 to $79.99

Features:

  • International mailboxes (over 1,400)
  • Mail scanning
  • Free secure mail shredding
  • Mail recycling
  • Smartphone app

Pros:

  • Online notary service for quick setup
  • Lower starting rates
  • Unlimited cloud storage
  • Large global network of virtual mailbox addresses
  • Good support

Cons:

  • No physical locations, Anytime Mailbox providers are a network of locations and partners

2. Traveling Mailbox

Traveling mailbox provides virtual mailbox services to thousands of businesses, digital nomads, remote workers, travelers and families. They offer a flexible, affordable and simple to use the virtual mailbox for digital nomads.  I used Traveling Mailbox for many years without any issue after switching over from EarthClassMail. Read my earlier comparison of Traveling Mail vs. EarthClassMail.

Ease of use:

  • Takes time to get set up, but once you’re set up, it’s straightforward
  • User interface is outdated

Prices:

Prices range from $15 to $55 per month, and there are 3 plans to choose from, each with its benefits.

Features:

All plans include the following:

  • Junkmail filtering
  • Unlimited digital storage
  • Free mail shredding

Pros:

  • The freedom to change plans at any time
  • Trustworthy service

Cons:

  • Poor user interface
  • Longer setup
  • Scan rollovers not available on the basic plan

3. PostScan Mail

PostScan mail offers over 400 virtual mailbox addresses for online business owners and personal use, across the United States and internationally.

Ease of use

  • Mobile App
  • Available on all Android and Apple devices

Prices:

Prices range between $15 and $30 per month, based on the 3 plans offered.

Features:

All PostScan Mail plans offer the following benefits:

  • Unlimited digital storage
  • Shipment and delivery tracking
  • Local mail and package pickup
  • Unlimited recycling
  • Automated inbound mail scanning

Pros:

  • Free unlimited cloud storage for up to 7 days

Cons:

  • There are costs for every additional benefit requested
  • Packages are free to store for 7 days, thereafter a fee is charged
  • Some locations may charge a pickup fee for mail and packages.

4. Earthclass Mail

Offering some of the most comprehensive benefits, it’s easy to see why Earthclass Mail has made it into the top 9. Fun fact – I met the CEO of Earthclass Mail (ECM) when it was just one location and they were fundraising. The idea was very new and not well received at the time. Since then, ECM has grown into one of the larges virtual mailbox companies today. One of the reasons ECM is expensive is because it has its own physical mail storage locations.

Ease of Use:

  • User friendly, cater to businesses

Prices:

Not one of the cheaper options, with prices ranging between $19 and $79 per month.

Features:

  • 50 incoming mail items per month
  • Free shredding services
  • 30 days free physical mail storage
  • 20 pages of scans

Pros:

  • Physical mail storage
  • Business-friendly.  You may pay more for check processing but they have mastered this service.

Cons:

  • Every extra scan and mail item received is charged depending on your plan
  • Prices differ for these additives based on whether your plan was purchased before or after 7 June 2020.

5. iPostal1

iPostal1 is the ideal virtual mailbox service for small businesses and families, with no contract or signup fee. In addition, they’re flexible and offer plan changes at any time.

Ease of use:

  • Mobile App

Prices:

There are 4 plans to choose from. The entry-level is their Green Plan at $9.99, with the Gold Plan being the top of the range at $39.99.

Features:

Among the myriad of benefits, all plans include the following:

  • Free 30 day storage of all letters and boxes under 1.728 cubic inches
  • $100 insurance on shipping with FedEx, DHL and UPS, with Flexi shipment
  • Consolidation of letters into one package for forwarding

Pros:

  • 2 months free when you sign up for the yearly plan on any plan
  • Up to 5 recipient names per address for personal use, and 4 names plus 1 company name for businesses

Cons:

  • Limited 2GB cloud storage
  • Scanning, shredding and check deposits come at an additional cost

6. US Global Mail

With over 80,000 clients, US Global Mail offers ease with safety and security, allowing you to read, print, ship, and download without leaving your home.

Ease of use:

  • Mobile App

Prices:

There are 2 plans to choose from for personal use, perfect for a virtual mailbox for remote workers and digital nomads, travelers and families. The Basic Plan costs $14.99 and the Plus Plan, R19.99. Their business plan comes in at 34.99. Each plan carries a $5 monthly discount should you sign up for an annual payment.

Features:

Among the myriad of benefits, All plans include the following:

  • Free check deposits
  • Free mail storage between 45 and 180 days, plan dependent
  • Junk mail filtering

Pros:

  • Customer standard and priority lines
  • $5/month discount when paid annually
  • 100% 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Savings of up to 80% on shipping with FedEx, UPS and DHL

Cons:

  • No mention of cloud storage
  • Scanning, shredding comes at an additional cost

7. VirtualPostMail

Virtual Postal Mail (VPM) offers same-day service while boasting a customer satisfaction rating of 98%. In addition, the are virtual mailbox services tailored to meet the individual needs of those seeking a virtual mailbox for digital nomads or remote workers.

Ease of use:

  • Website, email
  • No mobile app

Prices:

The Basic Plan costs $14.99 and the Plus Plan, $19.99. Their business plan comes in at $34.99. Each plan carries a $5 monthly discount should you sign up for an annual payment.

Features:

  • Limited free scans
  • Between 2 and 20 recipients, dependent on the plan
  • Envelopes allowed per month range from 25 on the starter plan, to unlimited on Premium

Pros:

  • One of the cheapest when it comes to adding recipients

Cons:

  • No mention of cloud storage
  • Scanning, shredding comes at an additional cost
  • $10 per check deposit on all plans

8. SasquatchMail

With only one plan offered on the mail forwarding service, solutions may not be as comprehensive as would be expected from a virtual mailbox service.

Ease of use:

  • Website, email

Prices:

$9.99 per month/$99.99 a year

Features:

  • Free shredding and recycling
  • Unlimited incoming mail and recipients
  • No postage deposit required

Pros:

  • Optional phone service at $9 with a free 60-day trial
  • Unlimited mail scanning storage

Cons:

  • $2 per scan

9. PO Box Zone

Self-acclaimed as the perfect solution for virtual mailboxes for travelers, PO Box Zone offers virtual mailbox services similar to an advanced post box.

Ease of use:

  • Mobile App

Prices:

Three plans are offered, ranging between $99 and $250 per year.

Features:

  • Free junk mail filtering
  • Shipping through FedEx, DHL, and UPS
  • Limited incoming mail and recipients, Unlimited on the top plan
  • Flat mail out fee charge

Pros:

  • No standouts on this one. Barely meets the basics

Cons:

  • Location is extremely limited (Nevada and Wyoming only)

Conclusion

A virtual mailbox is a requirement for anyone operating remotely – digital nomads, remote workers, online business owners, long-term travelers.

You can be anywhere in the world and not have to worry about missing a beat.

Anytime Mailbox is my personal choice to get a virtual address the best based on the value and convenience that they offer.

Best Accounting & Tax Software for Remote Workers and Digital Nomads

Tax & Accounting Software

Ah, the dreaded tax season. The good news is if your taxes are fairly straightforward, you can file your taxes online pretty easily. We’ve assembled a list of the best accounting and tax software for remote workers and digital nomads. Save time and stay on top of taxes – so you can get back to living and working from anywhere!

First, before you begin filing your taxes, you must be organized. Staying on top of your taxes throughout the year makes it easier to e-file and get your tax return (or know what you owe) more quickly.

Organizing your taxes

A simple way to organize your taxes is to keep a spreadsheet or notes of major purchases throughout the year. I use Google Sheets to list out expenses and income and any major purchases related to business. This helps me not only with taxes but keeps me thinking about my budget, managing expenses, etc.

I separate income: business income, 1099 and/or W2 income, rental income and expenses: maintenance/repairs, software and tools, and so on. Any time I have a major purchase or repair, I got to the sheet and jot it down so I don’t forget. As a digital nomad and business owner, you need all the tax deductions you can get!

Tax filing for W2 Employees

If you don’t have a business and are a W2 employee, filing taxes online will be straightforward. You will need to get a copy of your W2 from your employer. Companies may use a service like Gusto or ADP for processing payroll.

You may also use a service like Expensify for reimbursements. Note that if the company does not report the reimbursements, you may not need to either. Instead, you can take advantage of the $1,800 / year allotted standard deduction.

Tax filing for Independent Contractors (1099)

If you are an independent contractor you will have self-employment taxes. This means you will have more tax deductions you can consider.

It’s nice getting a large check for your total hourly rate without taxes deducted. However, you always need to keep in mind paying taxes – or you can quickly end up behind with Uncle Sam.

For some reason, I always choose to learn the hard way. This was true in terms of getting behind on taxes. “Leap and the net will appear” – while motivating, it does not apply to taxes.

So, now, I generally subtract and set aside 30% from the total amount received for paying the IRS. I know, it’s hard, when you could be investing in Bitcoin instead. But, pay now or pay later. Trust me.

Luckily, with deductions, you can reduce your percentage owed. But not completely.

An important part of tax preparation for your freelancing business is keeping your receipts and tracking your expenses. Luckily, there’s a solution to paper receipts – Expensify.

Keeping track of your receipts as you go will save so much time and hassle later on.  With Expensify, you can keep track of your own receipts, send your expenses for reimbursements, or reimburse business expenses. 

Best Accounting Software for Remote Workers & Digital Nomads

To keep more diligent track of your expenses, you’ll want to move from spreadsheets into accounting software. Some accounting software also allows you to file your taxes. But for simplicity, we’ve first listed the best accounting software.

Benefits of Accounting Software

If you’re working remotely, you probably already have a slew of apps/software you use each month for your job or online business.

So it makes sense to simplify your life and go digital in all areas, including accounting software. No paper receipts!

Some of the benefits of accounting software include:

  1. Linking your bank accounts
  2. Keeping everything in one place
  3. Be prepared for tax season
  4. Know what you’re owed or the amount you’ll pay taxes

Note: Something I also learned a little late – never co-mingle your funds. Always have a separate account for business and personal. This makes filing and reconciling sooo much easier. Recently I changed from having all my accounts at Bank of America (I originally did this, even with high fees, for international reciprocity) to Mercury. Mercury is very simple to set up – all online – and easy to use, unlike traditional banking software.

Quickbooks

An industry leader for a reason, Quickbooks makes it easy to set up your tax filing system. They have options for simple tax prep or more in-depth tax reporting.

Quickbooks Self Employed

If you are self-employed and want to take advantage of all your deductions, then QuickBooks Self-Employed is the best accounting software for you. If you have US or foreign employees, QuickBooks also makes it easy to manage payroll tax filings.

Xero

Another market leader, quickly on the tails of Quickbooks, Xero allows business owners to easily track expenses and differentiate between personal or business-related transactions. Xero makes it easy to reconcile your taxes by setting up rules. An example of a rule might be to group all gas stations into one category. This makes it easy to quickly reconcile the name and category of the expense.

Xero has a more difficult learning curve than Quickbooks, but it’s one of the best accounting softwares there is.  A lot of companies and CPAs are switching to Xero.  I find Xero to be more complicated in terms of setup, but easier to use once you get going.

Bench

If you don’t want to touch accounting and you prefer someone else to manage it for you, there’s a solution! Bench.co is a startup that specializes in accounting software and also tax filing. 

Bench has a managed service along with its software. Meaning, along with having some of the best accounting software, they also provide you with a team of accountants. An added bonus is that you can ask them for advice at any time. Not the cheapest, but if you prefer to have someone else manage your accounting and books – Bench is a great option.  Accounting, tax filing, and software all-in-one.

You can get a no-obligation trial and call with a Bench representative to learn more. 

Bench.co

Best Tax Filing Software for Remote Workers & Digital Nomads

Remote workers and digital nomads can use tax filing software to file tax returns without having to be in one place (yay, work from anywhere!). For remote workers, tax filing can be challenging. Tax software is an effective solution to your tax problems. Tax software provides security, convenience, and ease of use at a low cost and include:

  • Basic tax filing with tax deductions
  • Beginners to tax filing online without any tax knowledge or experience
  • Free tax return filing and tax support throughout the whole process
  • Basic tax filing with tax deductions

Let’s take a look at a few.

Free Tax USA

Started by a CPA in 2001 and IRS-approved, FreeTaxUSA has become one of the top tax filing software. It’s the best tax software for tax filers with simple tax returns. And, just like the name says, you can use FreeTaxUSA 100% free for your Federal returns.

FreeTaxUSA also guarantees that you’ll get the maximum return if you use their software. Not bad for free!

There are two editions – Free and Deluxe.

FreeTaxUSA – Free Edition

The free edition is easy to use, unlike other free tax software, and good for novices with simple returns.

You pay nothing for preparing and e-filing your federal return, and up to $14.99 for each state filing. FreeTaxUSA includes IRS forms including Schedules A, B, C, D, E, and K. These forms cover a wide range of situations and complexity, like online business and freelance income. Also deductions related to your home office.

All of your data is stored in the cloud. This makes it super easy to come back each year and use your previous year’s data. This is a huge time saver for tax preparation. You can also import from other tax programs like TurboTax, TaxAct and H&R Block to get your data.

The free edition has great customer support and typically produce a response within 24 hours (even on weekends). All help is provided by email. If you want to receive priority support, which you may need for more complicated taxes or to avoid an IRS audit, you need the Deluxe edition.

TaxFreeUSA – Deluxe Edition

If you’ve ever been audited then you know the nightmare of having to go back through every single receipt, deduction, claim, form, and so on. HR Block says “On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the worst), being audited by the IRS could be a 10”. So, yeah, don’t get audited.

Benefits of the Deluxe edition include:

  • In-house Audit Assist program that provides access to audit specialists
  • Priority support, including Live Chat during business hours
  • Unlimited amended tax returns

The Deluxe Edition costs $6.99 for federal returns and $12.95-$14.99 for state taxes. The main advantage to the deluxe plan is the audit assistance and live support. Taxes are not easy, so having someone on your side can really help. Especially for only $6.99.

Did I mention that they guarantee you’ll get the maximum refund?

Try FreeTaxUSA.

FreeTaxUSA

TaxSlayer

I’ve listed TaxSlayer because it’s the best tax software for freelancers or self-employed people. Typically this software is for digital nomads and freelancers who have some experience filing their taxes online.

TaxSlayer has some of the cheapest prices and they offer a free tax filing service.

TurboTax

Similar to TaxSlayer, TurboTax is another good option for people who have some experience in tax preparation. Both companies offer cheap prices, but I personally like how TaxSlayer helps throughout the entire process.

TurboTax tax filing software makes it easy to file your tax returns from anywhere as long as you have internet access.

H&R Block Tax Software

H&R Block tax filing software is for those who want the most comprehensive and accurate services possible, without having to pay hugely expensive fees.They also have a network of over 10,000 office locations across the US.

H&R Block tax software can find deductions that other tax services might not be able to. Deductions can save you thousands of dollars in taxes owed.

TaxACT

TaxACT is tax software for people with simple tax returns who cannot or do not wish to file online. But, still need an easy-to-use program that will guide them through the whole process step by step.

Jackson Hewitt

A tax return can be complicated for freelancers, remote workers and digital nomads with investments or rental properties. If you’re living in a foreign country or have foreign accounts, making worldwide income, you may want to consider hiring a firm. Tax firms help reduce your risk.

Jackson Hewitt allows you to file in person as well as online – by yourself or with a tax professional.

Tax preparation fees vary depending on what you need. If you want to avoid being double taxed, avoid paying too much in capital gains, know how to deal with foreign taxes (and U.S. taxes), foreign assets, foreign tax credit, foreign earned income exclusion, and other complicated matters – Jackson Hewitt has the expertise to help you through these things.

It’s not the cheapest, but having a tax advisor / tax expert for a complicated tax situation is worth the money spent.

Liberty Tax

Liberty Tax is similar to Jackson Hewitt in that it has both online options to file taxes as well as a network of local offices around the country.

I personally have had a tax advisor from Liberty Tax for years, and she owns two local offices. Many digital nomads or people working remotely abroad can benefit from extra tax advice. It is relatively easy to file online. However, when you have income from remote work in multiple states or multiple employers, property tax, health insurance, stocks, rentals, capital gains, various financial accounts and properties, multiple online businesses with remote employees – you really need a tax expert.

With Liberty Tax, you can file online, request a virtual tax pro (which I love and great for American digital nomads) or go into an office location.

Conclusion

Taxes are complicated, full stop. If you are a digital nomad, work remotely / work abroad, are living abroad and have multiple businesses and/or assets, it thickens the plot.  Having the best accounting and tax software in your toolkit will keep your books clean and your taxes a breeze.

The first step to being prepared is to stay organized and leverage a bookkeeper and/or bookkeeping software.  The best accounting software is one that will scale with your business.  If you want to go-it-alone, try Quickbooks or Xero. If you want a managed service, check out Bench.

Having tax software to file online is important when all you do is live and work from anywhere. FreeTaxUSA is the best tax software for free filing online. If you want to seek the advice of a tax expert, then you will also want to look at Jackson Hewitt or Liberty Tax.  Bench also offers tax filing advice and support (and, like you, is remote). Having someone to help advise you on your taxes while also filing online can save you many headaches during tax season.

Tax Advice for Remote Workers

Taxes Remote Workers and Digital Nomads

When working remotely, whether being required or by choice, there are many things to consider and understand where taxes for remote workers are concerned. Things like: where you live, type of employment contract such as remote employee or independent contractor, state laws where you live and where the company is headquartered, write-offs, eligibility, and so on. This article provides tax advice for remote workers and digital nomads so you can save money and have peace of mind.

70% of people worked from home during Covid, and 50% of those who worked from home are not wanting to return to the office. Remote work is the new norm. So how does this affect your personal income taxes?

In 2014, the Taxpayer Advocate Service estimated that there were about 10 million people who worked from their homes in some capacity.

Digital nomads and remote workers have been able to file their own taxes since the Tax Reform Act of 1986.

Working remotely comes with tax benefits including monthly deductions.

What are some tax deductions for remote workers?

Travel expenses

In order to be able to deduct travel expenses from your taxes, you need to have an itemized list of the date and mileage on gas receipts. Add up how much money you spent traveling and take that number as a deduction on your return.

Hardware and software purchases

Cell phone purchases, subscriptions, advertising, memberships in associations, charitable contributions, legal fees related to work requirements (such as tax advice and contracts).

Business meals, lodging, and entertainment

You can note entertainment expenses to be deductible when they are “directly related” to, or associated with, an employee’s job duties.

Home office space

Home office space, business cell phone plan and Internet service. Tax law allows employees to deduct expenses related to using a section of their house as a home office, which can save you up to $1800 in taxes per year. Tax deduction rules for a home office are not limited to the space you use specifically for your business, but also any supplies used in that area.

Deductions for travel and business supplies can be used as a pretax benefit if they are deducted before your income is taxed. This applies to taxes for remote workers and not independent contractors.

Where do you pay state taxes if you work remotely?

For a remote worker in the U.S., it’s a common, but important question. Tax laws are changing quickly to adapt to the growing number of workers working remotely – meaning that state taxes for remote workers can vary widely.

Tax is currently assessed by the state where you work, not the state where you live.

Generally, your income tax is based on where you’re physically located when earning the income. For example, your job’s office is in state A, but you’re living and working full time in state B.  You’d pay income and all other taxes to state B.

Avoiding Double Taxation – Important tax advice for remote workers

Rules due to the pandemic have changed quickly. To avoid double taxation, it’s very important to note if you work remotely but you live and work from a different state.  You should have your employer withhold taxes from the state in which you physically reside. Otherwise, the state in which your company is headquartered will withhold taxes.

If you work remotely and live in one of these states (Arizona, Washington D.C., Nevada, Tennessee or New Hampshire), your employer will withhold taxes on some of your income.

For example, I live and work in Washington state but I was employed by a company headquartered in Indiana. I paid a portion of my earned income to Indiana and paid no income tax to Washington, as it is one of the states without an income tax.

States without income tax include:

  • Alaska
  • Florida
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas (no personal income tax, but there is a corporate tax)
  • Washington

However, if you are working remotely for a company outside of one of these states, even if you are physically living and working in one of the states listed above, you will pay a portion of your income tax to where the company is legally headquartered.

If you reside in any other state that offers income tax incentives for telecommuters employers may report it as regular wages. This means less taxes withheld. These incentives include: Alabama Tax Exemption Program and Mississippi Tax Credit (for employees living at 50+ miles outside of area) 

So unless your employer is following your residency tax requirements for remote workers or one of these states offers tax exemptions to employees who work remotely, then chances are good that the company will not be withholding taxes from all of the income you earn. Tax exemptions for remote workers often require employees to work at least 30 days out of the year from their home state.

Taxes for Remote Workers – Convenience States

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act not only brought tax reform but also an additional option of filing your taxes as a nonresident of the state where you work.

If you live in one of these five states (Arizona, D.C., Nevada, Tennessee or New Hampshire) and work remotely for a company headquartered in one of these states, you will file your tax return with the state where the company is headquartered.  Tax withholding for employees working remotely, even if you are living in another state, will be sent to that state.  Meaning, no state income tax paid twice.

By working remotely, you may be entitled to tax relief, but it is up to you or your employer to file and claim such relief. This  depends on where you live and the laws in place within that state. It’s important to notify your employer where you’re living so it can withhold taxes from the correct state.

If you live in a state with income tax and work remotely for a company outside of one of these states, chances are good that you will be required to pay some form of personal income tax on the money earned.

Where do I file my taxes if working outside of the US?

Taxes for digital nomads can be difficult to navigate, especially for expats working or living outside of their home country.

When you are working remotely, i.e. living outside of your tax-home country, the first thing you should do is check if it’s necessary for you to file taxes at all.  This is especially true if you are earning less than the minimum income required for taxation in your host country.

If you are earning income in multiple countries, tax treaties between countries usually prevent double taxation of the same income. However, it is still possible that you will have to pay some taxes in multiple places. Tax treaties often also contain information about specific deductions (such as for housing).  These are limited to the tax rate of your tax-home country or host country where you work.

Wherever you earn your income, the process to file taxes stays very similar. Tax rates vary by country and place of residence, but if you are earning money in any country other than the US.  The general consensus is that people take care of paying taxes where they spend most of their time working.

How to Handle Tax Returns as a Digital Nomad

Working remotely has many perks. The biggest one is that you can pretty much live and work from anywhere in the world online — and there are no limits on where you can work. While this may be ideal for some, tax season can be a nightmare for others.

Taxes for Digital Nomads

When it comes to filing your taxes as a digital nomad, these are the three things you need to know:

1) You will have to file as “self-employed.” This does not mean you have to actually run a business. In order to claim remote work as your profession, you must be earning an income working at least part-time from home.

2) You are not able to claim housing deductions if you are staying with friends or family during tax season. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has said that people who live in the homes of others for free do not qualify for deductions while working remotely. Tax deductions are also not available to those who use co-working spaces or rent out a home on platforms such as Airbnb and VRBO. 

3) Tax deductions for housing and transportation still apply even if you’re living in another country. Taxpayers can only claim deductions when living outside their home country for 330 full days during a 12-month period. If you work 183 days (half the year) in another country you are subject to taxation laws in both countries.

Where can I get help and tax advice for remote workers and digital nomads?

Tax Software

While software cannot inherently give advice with respect to taxes for remote workers, it can help save money and speed up your tax filing.

KeeperTax – finding tax write-offs

Use a service like KeeperTax – for independent contractors, entrepreneurs, and remote workers to find hidden tax write-offs that can save you money. They’ve saved their members over $40 million and their average member sees an extra $6k annually in savings.

Quickbooks – accounting software

One of the best accounting software used today with millions of customers worldwide. Quickbooks allows you to upload your previous year’s tax return information. This makes filing taxes easy for the next calendar year. Tax advice articles are available on their website.  There’s also an accountant directory to help you look up accountants near you that specialize in tax preparation.

TurboTax – easy to use tax filing software

TurboTax is best for people who are not accountants or tax lawyers using sophisticated strategies. Turbo Tax offers tax advice articles that help guide you through common questions on your tax return submission. Tax filing with TurboTax is easy and a great way to get started with filing taxes. For more advanced or complicated taxes may want to look into either H&R Block software or TaxAct.

See Best Tax Software for Remote Workers

Seeking out Tax Professionals

Tax professionals in the US that specialize in remote work are slowly becoming more common. Tax professionals are crucial for any remote worker because they can make sure you are not missing anything in your tax preparation process.

A good tax attorney is just as important when trying to find a trustworthy accountant that has experience giving tax advice for remote workers.  Tax attorneys will be highly familiar with the unique tax laws and foreign income exclusion.

Tax professionals will also be able to keep your taxes organized throughout the following year.  Staying up-to-date makes sure everything goes smoothly with your taxes when April comes around. Tax professionals are also capable of making sure you are getting all the benefits that are available to you as a remote worker.

Taxes for Remote Workers and Digital Nomads – Conclusion

Working remotely in the US or even outside the US as a digital nomad certainly has its benefits. Freedom to travel, less of a commute, more time with family, to name a few.

As the laws change to keep up with the rise in remote work, in large part due to the pandemic, there are tax advantages – and disadvantages to be aware of.

As the laws are constantly in flux, seek out a tax professional in your local area who knows the tax rules and how to file state income taxes for remote workers. For tax filing, you can use tax software for remote workers or hire an accountant. Tax advice for remote workers is key in ensuring you are aware of the tax laws surrounding remote work.

Best Remote Jobs: Work from Anywhere

How do you find the best remote jobs out there? The best thing you can do is connect your passion with the world’s needs. Have freedom on top of that by being remote.

“Vocation is the place where our deep gladness meets the world’s deep need.”

Frederick Buechner

By the end of 2020, more than half of U.S. workers were doing their jobs remotely at least part of the time. Into 2021, the majority of those remote employees said they wanted to keep working remotely even when Covid-19 subsides.

2021 Remote Work Statistics

This isn’t shocking. Millions of people are finding they quite like working online – especially working anywhere from the world online. There’s a greater freedom to choose your lifestyle, from where you live to what hours you work. The ability to be closer to family and choose your work environment (and of course the lack of a lengthy morning commute) mean that working remotely is finding its way onto people’s lists of requirements.

If you’re interested in remote work but don’t think your current position is going to stay there forever, then you may want to put together a remote work career track for yourself. 

What are the best remote jobs out there?

I firmly believe that anyone who wants to work remotely and live and work from anywhere should be able to do so.  Not everyone’s remote work career track may look the same. The beauty of remote work is that most skills and work experience can translate to an online position fairly well.  Your offline skills, in one way or another, can translate to the online world.  

If you use social media, use a computer, and have a smartphone, for example, you already have a basic skill set that can apply towards getting a remote job.  And, if you don’t know what to do, you can take a course in a field of your choice and at any level to get you on the right track for finding a remote job.  It’s really just a matter of finding the best remote job or career for you. 

And you might be surprised where you fit in the remote job world. Many people look for an exact analog of their current job in the online workforce, when really you could be looking for remote jobs that value your skills and passions more than your current position.

Here are some (but not all) of the positions that excel in the remote working world.  We’ve compiled the best remote jobs that pay well, aren’t work-from-home scams, and allow you to have a healthy income while working from anywhere.  You might be surprised at the diversity of remote work. 

If you’re completely new and looking to build your skill set for remote work, you can also check out entry-level courses to help you learn new skills to jumpstart your remote career or to expand your existing knowledge base.

Writing

Writing gigs have had remote options even long before “work from home” was a phrase. Authors and newspaper columnists were mailing their work in to publishers decades before the internet. Now in the digital age, the opportunities for remote work as a writer have exploded. 

Email, shareable documents and online work platforms like Slack and Google Hangouts make writing from home a viable career path for more than just novelists. Businesses need copy for their websites, content for their blogs and someone to draft social media posts. 

And you don’t just have to look for someone to hire you. If writing is your passion, you can work remotely as your own boss by establishing your own website or blog. There are plenty of ways to monetize your writing

Find the best remote writing jobs on the LWA job board.

Sales

Working in sales is more than just sitting in a call center cubicle. Every company needs product specialists to work with their marketers to get leads through the sales funnel. As a remote sales employee, you may also work to generate leads yourself.

While this might seem like more of an in-person job, online sales positions are actually common. In fact, 16% of companies are completely remote and need work-from-home employees to help them make sales. 

You don’t need to be a seasoned sales veteran to land an online sales job. If you’re interested in sales as a career, brush up your current resume with an eye for transferable skills. “Sales” isn’t really something you’ll see many people with a degree or certification in. Instead, people who work sales come from backgrounds like communication, business or even customer service. 

A good option if you’re looking to burst onto the sales scene is to look for sales work in an industry you’re familiar with. For example, an experienced ghost writer might excel at selling copywriting services. 

Find the best remote jobs in Sales on LWA’s job board..

Tech and customer support

As companies grow, they need dedicated support staff. These positions exist to support both customers and internal staff. “Tech support” might make you think of someone on a headset asking a belligerent caller to try restarting their computer, but there are many positions beyond that. 

Sure, there are those callers and technical issues, but companies need tech employees to handle internal support, as well. 

As for customer support, it’s also about more than helping customers when products don’t work. There’s also product ordering support, which is a huge component of sites like Amazon. 

Customer support has a fairly low barrier to entry and makes a good starter job for someone wanting to test out the work-from-home situation. Here are some of the most common places or industries to find a remote customer support job:

  • Online shopping (Amazon, eBay, etc.)
  • Healthcare / medical 
  • The mortgage industry
  • Airlines (Delta, Alaska, etc.)
  • Travel agencies

Find the best remote jobs in tech and customer support here.

Software design and development

It’s no surprise that a lot of tech jobs have made the leap to remote work very smoothly. And it’s not just tech startups that are looking for remote workers, many established companies are also hiring remotely for these positions.  Some of the best (and highest paying) remote jobs are in the tech industry.  So if you have a desire or knack for tech, you like jobs that are challenging and feel comfortable in an industry that is always changing, look no further.   

Also, there is a definite increase in software engineering teams going remote.  Prior to 2020, before Covid, 13% of engineering teams were fully remote.  As a result of the pandemic, that number has increased to 74% and now 66% of engineering teams believe they will continue to allow remote work after Covid has subsided.

You have options when it comes to remote tech jobs. It’s not just late night coding with 3 big screens, no lights, and a giant pizza box next to the always-full coffee mug at your side. For example you can work in design, product management or project management.  

Design 

There are various forms of design in the tech world.  From graphic design and illustration to user experience and user interface design.  We talk about this a little bit more below for front end developers, which can also be called front end designers. 

Product Management

Every product that’s created needs someone to manage the flow of tasks, project deadlines, features being released, etc. A product manager makes sure that the software developers are developing what the customers want.  This is different from a project manager who makes sure things are getting done on time. Product managers are closely tied in to the development process.

Development

If you’ve got some development experience already, you may be wondering where to focus your skills to land the best jobs. Which coding languages you should master depends on what kind of development you want to do. For example: 

  • Front end developer

JavaScript, Elm, TypeScript.

  • Back end developer

JavaScript, Scala, Python, Go, Ruby

  • Game design

Unity, TypeScript

  • Mobile app development

Swift, Java, Objective C, JavaScript 

Your most sellable trait in the online development space is adaptability. Make sure you’re learning and growing with the times, keeping up with the latest advancements and newest technology. Even if you’ve got past experience, it’s a good idea to brush up on your skills. 

There are many programming and coding schools that will offer courses for more experienced developers as well as complete beginners. Codeacademy is a good example. If you’re not able to invest a lot of money into learning coding right now, you may consider options like Lamba School or Microverse, where they offer the education for free upfront and you pay them back after they help you land a job. 

A coding school is a great way to get started in coding for little to no money and have a nearly-guaranteed high-paying job once you graduate.  

You can find entry-level software jobs on Liveworkanywhere. Already a senior level engineer and need to be matched with the best remote jobs on the planet? Go to our partner site, fullstackremote.

Operations 

This is a good category for anyone with strong basic office skills and business experience. Operations is just career lingo for every position that works behind the scenes to make sure business processes run smoothly. This can be program coordination, office administration and much more. For example, a company may have an operations team that focuses on creating internal training materials and building in-depth client onboarding experiences. 

General positions in operations can include everything from a business operations manager all the way up to a COO.  

If you’re just starting out, you can look for an entry level position as an executive or administrative assistant. These positions are looking for people with a strong grasp of basic office suites like Microsoft or Google products. 

A general operations position might be that of a business operations manager or a company executive. You’ll need more experience and a solid resume for this position, so if you’ve got your sights set on a high remote work position, you may want to get your feet wet in a lower level assistant position first. This will give you a good opportunity to explore a new industry at relatively low risk. 

Find the best remote jobs in operations. 

Virtual Assistant 

Virtual assistant is another term for an admin or executive assistant, but, of course, virtual. And again this can be anything from entry level to more advanced. This is one of the best starter jobs for people who want to enter the virtual workforce but aren’t sure where to start or get experience.  

How does a virtual assistant job differ from the admin assistant positions we just talked about? A virtual assistant involves freelancing multiple clients whereas an operations admin assistant is a remote job where you’ve been hired by one company. There’s even the possibility that a freelance VA gig could turn into a permanent remote position.

Search for the best virtual assistant or admin assistant remote jobs here

Freelancing 

The gig economy is growing. Even prior to the pandemic, freelancing was projected to make up more than half the workforce by 2027. So if you have specialized skills, you can get started working for yourself. You’ll need to brand yourself and gather clients. We talk more about this process here

If you don’t have the time to invest in becoming a completely independent freelancer, you can go to a business for help. Freelancing for a company like Upwork or Fivrr can help get you work fast. There are more specialized sites, as well, like Behance, Textbroker or Content Cucumber.

Marketing

Every company, non-profit and brand out there needs marketing, and marketers have traditionally fared pretty well in online spaces. With tools like 5g tech and the near omnipresence of Wi-Fi, many marketing positions have dropped the in-person requirements. 

You’ll find that many smaller companies are on the lookout for a “jack of all trades” or “full stack” marketer who can do a little bit of everything, from social media, to brand design, lead generation, advertising, messaging and content creation. 

Once you move up towards the larger businesses and corporations, they’ll be wanting marketing specialists. These are marketers who focus on one area, such as social media. You may see these two types of marketing jobs referred to as generalist marketing and specialist marketing.  

If you’re just starting out, you may want to cut your teeth on several varieties as you figure out what best aligns with your skills as passions. Then you can focus in on that specialization. In other words, start off as a general marketer and move towards a specialist track later on. Having a wide variety of skills is great, but in order to move up in your career you’ll want to focus in on an area of expertise and develop that more fully.  

Find the best remote marketing jobs on liveworkanywhere.

Finance

You may be surprised just how many remote finance jobs are out there. While the traditional image of a finance employee might be someone locked in a small work cubicle in a suit at the back of the office building, more and more companies have been hiring out their financial needs to remote workers or even remote finance companies. In fact, more than 70 percent of financial executives outsource at least some of their work remotely.

There are a few paths for a remote career in finance: you can look for remote accounting or bookkeeping positions, a Controller or even a CFO. You can work for startups providing accounting services or even more traditional accounting firms. 

Find the best remote finance roles on our job board.            

Human Resources 

The more that companies go remote, the more support they need for things like hiring and managing remote talent. This means handling benefits, salaries, payouts, employee training materials, onboarding processes and more. 

Human resource jobs can also earn you a nice stable salary, anywhere from 30k-100k/year.

And of course, many companies are looking for H.R. specialists to manage their increasing number of remote employees. Facebook recently hired their first Director of Remote Work to do this very job.  

Find the best remote jobs in Human Resources. 

Legal services

If you have a background in law, there are a lot of opportunities to take those skills remote. Paralegals and attorneys both fit nicely into the remote landscape, particularly for consultations and other services that can be offered over the phone or via Zoom. 

During the Coronavirus pandemic, many legal services (and even full court cases) transitioned to videoconferencing. And while in-person trials and consultations will resume again once things have calmed down, many law firms are finding that keeping remote options available to clients allows them to connect with global legal teams, reach out to more diverse clients and ultimately serve their communities better. 

There’s good room for crossover here, as well. For example, if you have a legal background and writing skills, you may be perfectly suited to an online legal writing position. 

Paralegals and legal support can earn 40-60k/year and attorneys can earn well into 6 figures. 

Find the best remote jobs in legal professions on our job board.

Medical 

Telehealth options have risen more than 50 percent since the CDC recommended these options to areas affected by Covid. However, telehealth was already a rising trend before that. While it’s not projected that telehealth will replace in-person care, it is a helpful tool for hospitals and clinics to have, and many of them are investing long-term. 

This is because telehealth options help doctors and other medical professionals reach a wider audience, including lower-income patients and those who cannot travel. 

Remote medical jobs exist for licensed medical professionals, such as doctors, nurses, counselors and physician assistants, but you can also work in this field doing the “behind the scenes” work. This includes scheduling, claims reviews, insurance work and more.

Go to Remote Medical Jobs to get an idea of what telehealth jobs are out there. Or search for the best remote jobs for medical professionals on our site

Teaching  

Nearly all schools had to transition to online when the pandemic hit, but we’re not talking about that. There are many teaching positions that are permanently remote, and were long before Covid struck. 

Of course, if you’re already a seasoned teacher or professor, you can look for remote teaching positions at universities or even high schools. But even if you don’t have a long background in teaching, there are jobs out there that make great side hustles (and can even transition to full time careers). 

Most common are tutoring and teaching English as a second language. The demand for native English speakers who are available to teach remotely is incredibly high. The pay can range anywhere from $10/hour to $40/hour or more. How much you make will depend on who you work for, what experience you have and even what hours you choose to work. Some of these positions may require that you have a TEFL certificate, and these are usually the ones that have higher pay. 

You can often set your own hours for these kinds of positions. However, keep in mind that many English teaching positions might need you to be working early in the morning or very late at night due to the time difference between Asia and North America or Europe. 

Next steps: How to Get Started with Working Remotely

All this might seem overwhelming, especially if you’re new to the remote work scene. To start making progress towards your dream job, you’ll need three things:

  1. Be remote ready
  2. Know your strengths
  3. Know what job you want

1. Remote Ready: How do I prepare for remote work?

Home office

Set up a home office or workspace that’s going to help you be productive. Whether this is a dedicated room in your house or just a desk in the corner is up to you. However, all home offices need strong Wi-Fi and a steady source of power. 

Ready to take your remote career on the road? First be sure to check out our Mobility Criteria to make sure you can successfully live and work from anywhere in the world.

Tools

Your job may supply you with work from home tools or it may not. Applications like Slack, Zoom, and others allow you to be connected with your team and keep on top of your work. You will want to look into which pieces of software are most necessary for your position and then familiarize yourself with how they work. 

Communication

Over-communication is the name of the game here. If you’re silent, your clients or teammates won’t know what you’re up to. Be extra responsive to emails, don’t leave messages on read and reach out to those you work with regularly. It takes motivation to succeed in remote work, so be sure you’re ready to take initiative.

Limited distractions

Working from home can be distracting for some people. Here’s how you can identify and prevent common distractions:

  • Set up your office in a low-traffic area of your home
  • Talk with your housemates or family and explain what your availability will look like on work days
  • Consider getting a dedicated work phone

Calendars and time management

If you’re new to remote work, don’t jump into it without first preparing for a major shift in time management. You’ll be on your own getting your work done with no coworkers or a boss to look over your shoulder. Some people thrive in a self-starter environment and others need a little extra help.

Give yourself every advantage by:

  • Over-communicating 
  • Setting up a work calendar
  • Testing your internet and power supplies
  • Practicing using remote collaboration tools like Slack, Zoom, Google Hangouts, etc.

Not sure if you’re ready for remote work or not? Take a moment to really analyze your passions and your career strengths. 

2. Know Your Strengths: What are one of the best remote jobs for me?

Looking for remote work but not sure where to start? It can be overwhelming, but the key is to zero in on what you need. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Am I looking to transition my current career online or start a new one?

It is easier to search for a new remote position that matches your current one because you know exactly what you’re looking for. But you shouldn’t be scared to jump into something new if that’s what’s going to keep you happy and motivated. 

  • Do I want to be my own boss or work for someone else?

There are varying degrees of independence within remote work. Finding a remote job in an existing company is usually an easier path but may not give you all the freedom you want. For example, you may still be tied to traditional office hours and availability. 

Embarking on a truly independent remote work track means going into freelance work or starting your own online company. Both of these require a bit more of an initial time investment on your part. A freelancer needs to establish credibility and start selling their brand. Starting your own business means coming up with a product, developing your brand, setting up a website and more.

It all depends on what you’re looking for. Which of these paths is going to be the most rewarding for you? Answer that question, and then don’t settle for anything less.

Looking into building your own startup? Go to Anywherestartup.com for more help.

  • What are my current skills and what skills do I want to improve or learn?

You want a job that’s a good fit now but with room to grow. Identifying your strengths as well as weaknesses you want to work on will help you narrow down your search. We’ll go into more detail about skills and personality below.

  • What excites and motivates me? 

You’re transitioning to remote work because of the freedom and flexibility it offers, but it’s not just the “remoteness” of the job that’s important. The work you’re doing matters, too. Settling for a position you’re not interested in just because it’s remote will not make you happy in the long run. Instead, identify your passions and find remote work that lets you utilize them. 

How do I assess my skills?

“What are you good at?” is such a daunting question. If you’re struggling to pinpoint your professional skills and goals, you’re not alone! It can be tricky to identify just what you’re good at and even trickier to match your answers to the language you find in job descriptions. 

An online skills assessment can help you crack the surface. And once you get going, you’ll find that figuring yourself out is an exciting, lifelong journey.

What’s my work personality? 

“What’s your personality?” is even vaguer than the last question, but equally as important for finding your ideal job–online or otherwise. People are diverse and no one fits perfectly into any single category. However, an online personality test might be a good place to start if you need a general idea of the work environment where you’re most likely to thrive. 

3. Know What Job You Want: Where can I find the best remote jobs?

You can find remote work positions practically anywhere jobs are posted. All the common sites like Monster, Flexjobs and Indeed have remote jobs and you can usually filter your search to find just these positions. You can also take a gander at the Liveworkanywhere job board for remote positions in different fields. 

Still feeling lost?

You can start by taking some courses and dig in a bit more into skill development to see which path suits you best.

A career coach may be able to help you get started. If you’re dedicated to finding a new online career but still feel overwhelmed by the scope of your options, talking through your needs with a professional might be the jumpstart you need. However, to make the most out of a career coach, you may want to first  identify your skills and basic job needs and go to your coach with these answers already in your mind.

Remote work 2021 and the Future of Remote Work

Blue Pot Next to a Laptop Showing a Video Conference | Live Work Anywhere

Remote work is more common than ever, and it’s showing no signs of slowing. Remote work in 2021 is more robust and versatile than ever before, and it’s changing the professional landscape as we know it.

With companies like Twitter, Nationwide, Shopify and many others offering remote work options to all employees, it’s clear that what’s happening isn’t just a trend. While the Covid-19 pandemic has obviously spurred things along, the rise in remote work was always on the horizon. Even without the pandemic’s influence, remote work options were still projected to increase more than 80 percent by 2025.

Important remote work statistics 

  • Remote workers save approximately $7,000 every year on transportation, food and childcare (TECLA)
  • Working remotely just half of the time saves people on average 11 days each year by reducing commute time (State of Telecommuting)
  • Remote workers are 24% more likely to report being both happy and productive at their job (Owl Labs)
  • By 2028, 73% of business departments will have at least one remote worker (Upwork)

The three kinds of remote work

Remote work is a very broad term that includes a lot of different online jobs. These positions can be fully remote, hybrid or flex. We’ll go into each type of remote work below.

1. Fully Remote

Fully remote is just what it sounds like: a job or business built with the intention of being remote. 

These jobs will already be equipped with the proper tools for you to succeed virtually. Companies with fully remote positions will likely also have a better understanding of what to expect of their remote employees.

2. Hybrid

The key difference between hybrid remote work and fully remote work is the company. With a hybrid position, some of your coworkers may be in-office, as opposed to an all-remote staff. This changes the general culture of your workplace.

Almost any type of job can be a hybrid position, it just depends on the company. The CFO of a large hospital may be fully remote, so might an entry-level assistant position. No matter what your skills and work experience, there are remote jobs out there for you.

3. Flex

Some positions offer flex work. This means you go into the office some or most of the time, and have the opportunity to work remotely, as well. The number of remote days for a flex position could range from one or two a month to several a week! 

While flex work still requires you live near to your business’s office space, it does offer many of the other benefits of remote work like increased flexibility and the potential for greater productivity. With a flex job, you may be able to travel more, spend more time with your family or just get away from the noise of the office every now and then. 

Forced Remote

One more kind of remote work is forced remote. This is when a traditionally in-person position is forced online due to circumstance. Many people are finding themselves in forced remote situations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Not all companies were ready for the sudden switch to online work, and without the proper infrastructure and procedures in place, their employees had a difficult time. Odds are you may already be one of the more than a million people forced into online work by the pandemic, and you may have found it frustrating and difficult. 

The good news is that this doesn’t mean you aren’t cut out for remote work. You may just need to find an online position that was designed with remote work in mind. This is where remote first work and flex work come into play. 

The truth about remote work

Remote work requires just as much dedication and skills as working in a traditional office. Sometimes even more so. You need to be self driven and able to keep on top of your schedule and time management. 

And while you can work from anywhere given the right tools, transitioning to remote work probably won’t mean you’ll be putting together that project report from your beach towel. Remote work, like traditional office work, requires good lighting, internet and diminished distractions.

woman with outdoor remote office
Looks fun but full of distractions and shoddy internet.

Is remote work for everyone?

No. As exciting as it is that more and more people are being offered the chance to work remotely, some people–like some industries–are better suited to working on site. According to Buffer, loneliness, communication and the ability to separate work from one’s home life are the biggest challenges that remote workers face. 

The most helpful thing you can do now is make an honest assessment of your strengths and weaknesses as they pertain to time management and remote work. If you’re unsure where to start, try matching your personality type to your ideal remote career.

We also have tips and advice to help you stay productive while working remotely.

General trends of remote work

Industries embracing remote work in 2021

According to Owl Labs, the health industry, tech industry and financial services have the highest rate of remote workers.  But web development, design, copywriting and finance are also big players in the remote space. 

Some industries are less of a good fit for large amounts of remote workers, especially those involving events and activities. For people in these industries, there may be fewer options for remote work. Notice we said fewer, not none. You might be surprised how many traditionally in-person industries have remote options. 

Remote work encouraging exodus from large cities

One of the most exciting aspects of this changing work landscape is how cities and towns are adapting to these changes. Years ago, when remote work was rare, there were many jobs that were locationally locked to certain areas. Once upon a time, your only shot in a given industry might have required you pack up your things and move. Today, this is less and less the case.

With work no longer as rigorously tied to location, we’re seeing something of a migration as people choose to move to more rural areas to save money on housing, to be closer to family or just to get out of the city.

Conversely, this leaves more of an opening in larger cities for people who truly want to live there. People are leaving San Francisco for Sacramento, New York for South Florida, and all in record numbers. According to CNBC, 14-23 million Americans are in the midst of planning a relocation thanks to more flexible remote working schedules. 

Technology is innovating to support the growing online workforce

New innovations like 5g and satellite technologies are making it easier than ever to stay connected to your coworkers and career from anywhere in the world. Today, hopping onto an online workspace is quick and painless, and your team can coordinate work easy through e-mail, Dropbox, shared files like Google Docs. and the hundreds of other companies providing similar tools.

Video conferencing software like Zoom make synchronized online meetings a possibility. These technologies and remote work form a symbiotic relationship: as remote work options grow, bolstered by all these new tools, tech companies are encouraged to innovate even more to keep up with the rising demand for work-from-home software.

Remote work in 2021

  • 16 percent of companies in the world are entirely remote (Owl Labs)
  • 52% of employees work remotely at least once every month (Owl Labs)
  • Approximately 62 percent of employees work remotely at least some of the time (Owl Labs)
  • 18 percent of people globally work remotely full time (Owl Labs)
  • Less than half of the world’s companies (44 percent) don’t allow any form of remote work (Owl Labs)

How to work remotely

If you’re interested in working remotely, you have three options: working from home from your current job, finding a new remote job or starting your own online business and becoming your own boss.  

1. Transition your current job to remote work

Your current job may be able to accommodate a remote work lifestyle. Many companies are seeing the benefit to staffing more of their employees remotely. However, if your employer is one of the 44 percent that don’t allow any remote work, that doesn’t mean you can’t take your skills and experience elsewhere. 

2. Look for a new remote position

If your job won’t allow you to transition to remote or flex work, then there’s nothing wrong with pursuing other opportunities. Go to online job boards to see what positions are available in your field. Since you can work from almost anywhere for a remote position, you’ll likely find you have more options than you would were you looking for in-person work.

You can start your job search here, on the Liveworkanywhere Job Board.

3. Start your own online business

You also have the option to cut completely free of your employer entirely and start up your own online business. The possibilities here are virtually limitless, so much so that we have an entire post on getting your remote business off the ground.

Getting ready for remote work in 2021

home office with laptop desktop and notebook
A solid home office is key to successful remote work. See how you can take yours on the go with our mobility criteria.

What do I need to work remotely?

I’ve learned that although you CAN work from anywhere, you aren’t very productive working from the beach with sand blowing on your laptop and overheating or from your car or from the rock of Gibraltar. This kind of setup puts you at risk of running out of power, losing your internet, getting distracted, or simply not having access to all the supplies you need because you left them in the other room.

A change in scenery now and then can be good for your productivity levels, but it’s best for you to set up a good home office first.  

Necessary home office supplies:

  • Your computer
  • Comfortable/supportive chair
  • Appropriate lighting
  • Good internet (you can write off part of your internet bill on your taxes)

As you work, you’ll find additional home office supplies that make sense for you and your job. Do you need a paper shredder? A filing cabinet? Don’t go overboard buying too many things beyond the necessities until you know you’ll need them.

You can see our full guide on setting up the optimal home office here. 

What does remote work mean for you

Your path into this new work world is yours to make. If you have the desire to embrace online work, then you may find yourself enjoying the freedoms remote work entails. You can write your schedule more freely, travel and live wherever you want to be, and accomplish all your career goals from your own home. 

Even if you don’t switch to remote work, the future is still exciting. As the urban-suburban dichotomy begins to shift with remote workers relocating, you may find an opportunity to seek out an in-person job in a place you never thought you could move to before. And your workplace will likely have more remote employees in the future, even if you remain in the office. 

No matter what your career, the changing work landscape may be your chance to get out there and reshape your career however you see fit.

FAQ

What specific skills do I need to work remotely? 

Remote work requires you to be self-motivated and a good communicator. Without being surrounded by coworkers or supervisors, you’ll need to keep your own schedule and know when to reach out to colleagues. 

As for job-specific skills, you’ll find that nearly all career skills can translate nicely to an online career. Some of the most sought-after skills in remote workers include:

  • Technical and computer skills
  • Writing skills
  • Design skills

Remote jobs exist for all positions, from beginner to expert, so don’t think so much about how you can gain remote work skills, and instead focus on how you can transition the skills you have to an online job. 

What remote work jobs can I get?

The sky’s the limit! Whatever your passion, you can find an online job that taps into your skills and career goals. Some of the most common online positions right now are:

  • Web developer
  • Recruiter
  • Writer
  • Accountant
  • Engineer
  • Finance
  • And even nursing!

Check out the Job Board on Liveworkanywhere to see where you might fit in.

Are remote workers paid less? 

No. Depending on your remote job, you may make more, less, or the same amount as an in-person position. In fact, on average remote workers actually see an annual income that’s $4,000 higher

It can be hard to say for sure whether transitioning to remote work will see you bringing home bigger paychecks or not, because there are so many variables. Some companies pay employees different salaries based on where they live, which means that if you live in a rural area but your coworkers are in the city, there’s a possibility you may be offered a comparatively lower salary. This is a company-by-company decision, however, and you also have to factor in the cost savings of remote work such as:

  • No commute
  • Opportunity to live in a cheaper area
  • Lower childcare costs
  • Home office tax deductions  

How much does it cost to set up a home office?

The answer is as much or as little as you need, depending on your job. You may need $3,000-$5,000 if you’re investing in a new desk, a new computer and upgrading your internet. 

If that sounds like a lot, don’t panic. Many people start off their their existing laptop and phone setup and pay very little for their home office. Doing so allows you to give remote work a try without being too financially invested. If you end up going back to the office, then you’re not out anything. 

Are remote jobs less stable?

No. A remote job is no more or less stable than its in-person equivalent. How stable your remote job is comes down entirely to the company you’re working for (or the industry you’re in if you start your own business). 

Know your worth as an employee and always do your research into a company before applying to work remotely for them. Remote work scams are a valid concern, so make sure you’re ready to spot and avoid them.

 

Personality traits and types for your ideal remote job or career

liveworkanywhere_Personalitytraitsandtypesforyouridealremotejoborcareer

Matching your personality traits and types for your ideal remote job or career – Packaging your skills and finding a remote job that suits you 

Having a remote job is a dream for many.  Thanks to COVID-19 the coronavirus global pandemic, we’ve had to shift to remote much quicker than expected. You may be wondering if you have the personality type for a remote job. The good news is that there is remote work out there for you no matter what personality traits you have!

But how do you know which type of remote job is right for you?  When you’re just starting out it can be daunting to figure out what path to take to lead you to the right remote job.  And it makes sense to make sure your new remote position is one that’s well-suited to what you’re good at.  There are several jobs in which you can translate your skills from offline to online.  But first, we decided to take a look at how your remote career maps to your personality type as a starting point to look at the type of remote career that’s right for you.

Mapping a remote career to your personality type

We’re all a little bit different. Knowing your strengths is key to excelling in your remote work.

There are many online resources that can help you build and manage a remote-ready skillset.

We’ve provided a list of courses, broken down by entry level, mid level, and highly skilled, and by area of expertise: marketing, finance, programming, and so on.

Once you’ve found the career that’s right for you, take a look at the Courses on LiveWorkAnywhere to dig deeper into your next remote career.

Have you thought about what skills match your personality type?

Not sure what your strengths are yet? A lot of people don’t think they’re good at anything, when in reality, they’re just not aware of what their strongest qualities are. Taking a quick personality test can give you an idea of what kind of tasks and skills suit you best. You can then identify the personality traits for your ideal online career and see if they match up with your personality type.

This Hubspot blog details seven different career aptitude tests for recent graduates and seasoned professionals alike. General personality tests like this one from 16personalities.com can be helpful, too.  No one test is a perfect representation of you. These are just tools to give you an idea of yourself and your strengths and get you started on your path to a remote career.

Personality types and the remote careers that match

The most common personality and career aptitude test, the Meyers-Briggs test, breaks personality types down by four distinct categories.

  1. Introverted vs. extroverted
  2. Thinking vs. feeling
  3. Judging vs. perceiving
  4. Sensing vs. intuition

Here are some examples of remote jobs that pair well with these broad personality categories.

  • Introverted: Software developer, proofreader, photographer.
  • Extroverted: Screenwriter, Editor, Copywriter.
  • Thinking: Sales representative, project manager, public relations.
  • Feeling: Social media manager, translator.
  • Judging: Managing editor, statistician.
  • Perceiving: Film editor, journalist, archivist.
  • Sensing: Management consultant, sales manager.
  • Intuition: Budget analyst, database administrator.

Of course these aren’t laws! If you find you don’t have the personality type for the remote job you want, that doesn’t mean a career in that field is beyond your reach. Experience with remote work can help you get a feel for how your personality type best fits with your desired career. For example, an introverted person can still work in an extroverted field like copywriting or editing.

How to get started

If you’ve never worked remotely before, then you’ll want to brush up on some of the essential skills. Here are some resources to help you kickstart your remote career, no matter which industry you choose.

Finding a Remote Job

This is an all-encompassing career management course designed to get your remote career off the ground. You’ll learn how to ace remote interviews, the warning signs of sketchy job positions and how to master the technology required for remote work.

Introduction to Personal Branding

This might be especially pertinent to anyone looking to land a freelance position. Selling yourself and your services to online clients requires a masterful grasp of your “brand”. Learn to start leveraging yourself like a company.

Introduction to Time Management

Time management is an essential resume skill for those looking to land remote work. Since you won’t be punching a time card, you’ll need to motivate yourself to get everything done on time.

Also, look at LiveWorkAnywhere courses for general remote work skills courses around productivity, time management, managing remote teams, communication, and skill-specific courses for entry level, mid level, and highly skilled remote jobs.

Remote work traits employers look for 

  • Independent – Independence is essential. You won’t have a supervisor keeping tabs on you all day.
  • Self-starter – Remote work calls for a lot of initiative.
  • Responsive – Keeping track of remote workers can be tricky, and employers want to know they can trust you to be available.
  • Introvert – Introverts handle down time well and are less inclined to feel lonely working by themselves.
  • Extrovert – Extroverts tend to be great communicators, and can keep their remote coworkers informed.
  • Focused – There are a lot of distractions in the world of remote work. Employers want employees who can stay focused.
  • Self-disciplined – Remote workers have to serve as their own supervisors sometimes, keeping themselves on task. Not sure you’re self-disciplined and structured enough to thrive in a remote environment? Don’t worry, you can create this skill set by working hard and establishing a daily routine.
  • Team player – All-remote teams need extraordinary communication and cooperation to function properly.
  • Resourceful problem solver – Remote positions call for adaptable employees. There will be times where you will have to get creative to work around technology failings and other issues.
  • Experience working remotely – While you won’t have this starting out, employers look to see how well you adapt to remote work.  One of the most obvious ways is by having worked remotely in the past, and if you haven’t, proving you have the chops to do so by being communicative, resourceful, and a self-starter.

Are you ready to make the move to remote work? Most employers will be drawn to applicants with previous remote experience. If you’ve never worked a remote job before, then now’s the time to put a remote-ready plan in place.

Remote Work Statistics – Why Remote Work is Here to Stay

liveworkanywhere_remoteworkstatistics

Remote work was once the “Future of Work”.  Yet even a casual glance at current remote work stats shows that the future has become the now and working from home is is the norm for many people.  But just in case you needed some proof, we’ve compiled a few remote work statistics.

Younger leaders are embracing remote work

Remote work stats show that the younger workforce is definitely at the forefront of remote and flex work. As the younger generations come to occupy more managerial positions, remote work options for staff are becoming more acceptable.

  • 69% of younger managers have team members with remote work options (Source: Upwork)
  • Younger managers are 28% more likely to utilize remote workers than Baby Boomers. (Source: Upwork)
  • 68% of graduating college students listed remote work as the top benefit in their job search (Source: After College)

Flex work is bridging the gap

Flex work allows traditional businesses a sort of “practice space” for online work. By allowing employees to work remotely just part of the time, companies retain the benefits of both traditional office work and remote work.

  • In 2015, 30% of the U.S. workforce had the option to work remotely part time. By 2025, this number is expected to rise to 50% (Source: Flex Summit)
  • American Express saw a 43% increase in employee retention by offering flexible work options (Source: Flex Summit)

Remote work is only increasing

Remote work options are now the norm for many companies. Growth in this sector has sped up in recent years and is showing no signs of slowing down. Remote work statistics show remote work options overtaking their in-office counterparts.

  • In the next ten years, hiring manager predict that 38% of their permanent, full-time employees will work remotely (Source: Upwork)
  • The U.S. freelance workforce is growing 3x faster than the overall U.S. workforce (Source: Fast Company)

Companies are seeing the benefits of remote work

Remote work can save companies a lot of money. While guaranteeing the success of remote work does require several unique investments, remote works stats show that these costs often pale in comparison to traditional office overhead.

  • Creative Commons went fully remote with a 25-person team and saved $250,000 (Source: Flex Summit)
  • 59% of hiring managers today are using freelance and contract workers, up from just 24% in 2017. This number is predicted to increase by 168% in just the next decade. (Source: Fast Company)

Culture is the key going forward

Remote work is fundamentally different from in-office work, and needs a different approach. Policies and work culture must adjust to accommodate an increasingly remote workforce.

  • Asking remote employees to “shut down” after work hours yields as much as a 20% increase in retention (Source: Flex Summit)
  • 63% of employers have remote workers, yet most currently lack defined remote work policies

Home Office Setup for Working Remotely

Home office setup for working remotely - LiveWorkAnywhere

Setting up a home office for working remotely? You’re not alone! Every year, more people are choosing to work remotely, whether that be a traditional office job in their homes or a social media-fueled nomadic lifestyle. In fact, the number of people working remotely has grown 173 percent in the last decade. That’s an 11 percent faster growth rate than the general workforce! 

Working from home: the pros

So what makes remote work so popular? For most people it’s the freedom that remote work affords you. There’s no supervisor breathing down your neck, and you can get your work done your own way with no fear of judgement. Many people thrive outside of a corporate office and find that they get more work done. 

Working from home means: 

  • Increased productivity
  • No commute
  • Fewer distractions
  • Set your own schedule

Working from home: the cons

Nothing in life is perfect, and there are some downsides to working from home. For some people, home can be filled with more distractions, especially other members of the household. Many people unfortunately hold the assumption that because you are home, you are “not really working”. Striking that ideal work/life balance can be more challenging when you work remotely. 

Working from home can also mean:

  • Increased distractions
  • Loss of social connection
  • You may overeat
  • Can be hard to stop working

I attended the Boston Flex Summit in 2019.   At the summit, one of the main talking points was burnout.  Burnout can affect people in all types of work, but it can especially creep up on people who work remotely. Since your home and your office are one, you may start to feel obligated to work past quitting time and to take your work with you everywhere.  There’s no “off” button unless you are very intentional.  

That’s why it’s so vital to set your schedule and stick to it. Take the time to get plenty of sleep, exercise and fresh air. Burnout is an enemy of remote work, but you can tackle it with some determination. It’s up to you to decide for yourself whether the pros of working from home outweigh the cons.  

General work from home productivity tips

While you set up your home office and transition to remote work, here are some additional tips to help you avoid burnout and keep yourself focused and productive. 

  • Do not mix work and sleep

Creating a strong mental association between your bedroom and sleep is essential to getting high quality rest each night. Ideally you should be using your bedroom only for sleep. Bringing work into your bedroom will only make sleeping more difficult. 

Having a dedicated office space is ideal, so you can keep work separate from your home life. This isn’t always possible, depending on where you live, but make an effort to create a separate “work zone”. This can be as simple as packing up and putting away your work supplies every afternoon to help signal to your brain that you’re done working. 

  • Set a schedule and create routines

We humans are creatures of habit. Our brains love routine. In a typical office environment, there’s usually a very rigid schedule and many people take up remote work looking to inject a little flexibility into their work. This is great, but don’t completely do away with routine and schedule. You’ll be much more productive if you budget your time while you work from home. 

Here are some tips on setting up an effective work-from-home schedule

  • Set boundaries with housemates

This might be the trickiest part of all. While most people would hesitate to call your office or stop by your work normally, once you start working from home, there can be some issues with interruptions. To keep yourself productive and to avoid frustration, you should be upfront and clear with everyone else in your household about your work schedule. Make sure they understand that you are at work even though you’re physically at home, and that you shouldn’t be bothered. 

Having a dedicated home office can help with this because you can close the door. Another helpful tip is to set up a simple “yes, I’m in”/”no, I’m out” system. You can use colored cards – red for busy; green for it’s okay to interrupt.  

Home office setup for working remotely 

But one thing remains the same no matter what kind of remote work you’re doing: you need a solid office. 

Ideally your work from home space should meet certain criteria. I’ve talked about these mobility criteria before and they include access to things like: 

  • Power
  • A solid internet connection
  • Sufficient physical space
  • A structured schedule

In an office setting, you would have all of this provided for you, and there would be an unspoken guarantee that you would never be expected to complete a task outside of the capabilities of your provided office hardware. But when you work from home, a lot of the onus is on you to make sure everything is working smoothly. 

Let’s take a closer look at some of the specific hardware and supplies you’ll need to really be able to effectively work from home. 

Computer hardware

A laptop or desktop is a must-have. Which one you go with depends a lot on your job’s specific requirements. For the digital nomads out there, you’ll want to focus on something light and portable. (I’ve been reliably using a Macbook Air for years. IBM Thinkpads are also incredibly durable.)  

Don’t skimp on the power of your machine. If you need something beefy enough to run multiple applications at once, put the money into getting a dedicated machine. 

Make sure your computer is all your own. Don’t try to work on a shared laptop or a family computer. There’s too high of a risk that your work will be messed with and it will cause friction within your household if you’re all fighting over the computer. 

A good chair

You really want to invest in a comfortable, ergonomic chair. You will be sitting at your desk for hours, and if you’re not properly supporting your body, you’ll be sore, tired and achy. Definitely not the conditions for doing your best work. 

Noise-cancelling headphones

Unless you’re working from home in a quaint, European villa (in which case, congratulations!) you’ll likely be putting up with noises and distractions as you try to get your work done. Cars, neighbors, the sounds of the city, there are a lot of noisy distractions out to slow your productivity. 

Get yourself a nice pair of noise cancelling headphones. AirPods and Beats are both fine choices, it just depends on your personal preference: do you just want headphones or do you prefer the feel of a full headset? Having a quiet workplace will make a huge difference in how much work you’re able to get done.  

Software

Consider the apps and programs you need for your remote job. What kind of work are you doing? What pieces of software are essential to your job and which will help you work more quickly and smoothly. 

Internet / Wi-Fi 

Obviously you’ll need internet to work from home, but not all providers are made equal. I know a lot of areas don’t have a great deal of variety, but if you can, look for a provider that offers fiber optic. If there’s no fiber, then sign up for the strongest broadband connection available. You’ll need these faster speeds to remain productive. The minimum you should settle for is: 

Download: 20mb

Upload: 4mb

Not sure what speeds you’re currently getting? Don’t rely on your internet provider to tell you. They’ll give you “maximum” numbers that won’t be very accurate. Instead to go speedtest.net to see what kind of speeds you’re getting. 

We’ve also got a handy guide here to show you exactly what speeds you’ll need to comfortably run video meeting programs like Zoom and Skype. 

In rural areas where great internet isn’t readily available, consider mobile internet or satellite options, like Hughesnet. You can use your phone as a mobile hotspot or invest in a mi-fi device to assist you while you’re traveling.

If you end up using your phone as your sole source of internet while you travel, then I’d definitely recommend a T-mobile phone plan so you can get online without paying through the nose. 

Powering your remote office

When you work from home, you are at the mercy of your power company. If anything goes wrong and the power goes out, you’ll be left in the dark, literally. I’ve had many an important conference call be interrupted because some random event killed the power. 

While your old office job had some guaranteed stability surrounding these things, working from home means you just can’t ever know for sure. So err on the side of caution and set yourself up with some fail proofs. 

Pay the extra ten bucks and get a decent surge protector. Be sure you work on a dedicated outlet to minimize the risk of overloading. If you use a laptop, be sure to have a spare battery fully charged and waiting should the power go out (it’s not a bad idea to keep a fully-charged portable phone charger on hand, as well). 

But even with spare power, you might not be able to work because the internet will be down. It’s a good idea to take one of my travel hotspot suggestions from before and have it on hand in case you ever find yourself without internet. 

Additional tools

Here are some extra remote work tools that you can live without, but which do make your life easier. 

External monitor

Once you’ve experienced working with two monitors, you’ll never want to go back. You can get a second monitor and hook it up to your laptop or desktop fairly easily. 

Ergonomic keyboard

Similar to the ergonomic chair, an ergonomic keyboard may be what saves you from an expensive and bothersome carpal tunnel procedure. 

External USB microphone

You might not need this for regular meetings, but if you host or participate in webinars then you’ll really appreciate the extra clarity of an external microphone. 

External speakers

If you use a laptop, then external speakers are a good idea. Most laptops don’t have great sound to start with and even on those that do, the speakers tend to be one of the first parts of the machine to break down. 

Back massager 

This is a personal favorite of mine, but it’s just an example of one way to pamper yourself a bit. I can’t stress enough how important it is to take care of yourself and to find things that help you relax and ease any stress tension you may have built up over the course of the day. Maybe you won’t end up with a massager exactly, but make sure you find something that helps you unwind each day. 

Treadmill

Again, you might not need a treadmill exactly, but make sure your home is equipped to help you get some exercise. If you’ve got access to outdoor recreation, that’s great, but if you’re cooped up in a small home without a gym or park in sight, then get a treadmill, an elliptical or some other piece of equipment that allows you to get your heart rate going. 

Summary: 

It’s important to have a home office setup for working remotely that enables you to be productive.  

    • Desk and space in separate area of house/condo/van/boat/RV etc 
    • Ergonomic chair – for the amount of hours you’ll 
    • Upgraded hardware with ability to use the applications you need for work 
    • Software – the applications you need to install for work
    • Ergonomic chair, headphones, mic, monitor
    • Internet – strong internet with backup wi-fi using mi-fi, hotspot, or satellite
    • Power – devices fully charged, backup power, surge protectors 

Remote Work Tools – How Companies are responding to the CoronaVirus

Company responses to remote work COVID-19 Coronavirus

With the spread of COVID-19, many companies are being forced to adopt remote work options and policies. Even industries with poor remote infrastructures have found themselves scrambling to give employees a way to work from home. 

Even when the dust settles and we are no longer in the midst of a pandemic, I believe a lot of this remote work will stick. When people realize the benefits of working from home, there will be an increased demand for remote work from here on out.

How companies are responding to COVID-19

Many companies are sending employees home with laptops and forcing them to adjust to remote working at an extremely fast pace.

To help this massive transition go smoothly and quickly, several companies are offering their remote office tools for free.

Here’s a list of what some companies are offering to help you work from home

Adobe

Adobe’s Creative Suite (including Photoshop, Lightroom and more) is available for free to students. Adobe’s web conferencing service, Adobe Connect, is now free for all until July 1.

Airtable

For the next three months their online databases and spreadsheets are free for any non-political, humanitarian efforts combating COVID-19.

Atlassian
Team collaboration and project tracking softwares are free for teams of ten people or fewer. There is no “trial” limit to this offer.

BlueJeans
For 90 days, BlueJeans’ video conferencing service is free for all first responders and NGO’s.

Box
The business edition of Box, which allows for unlimited cloud data storage and protection, is also free for 90 days.

Calendly
This scheduling software is no longer charging for integration with remote meeting tools like Zoom and GoToMeeting. Its premium services are now also available for free to all teams working against COVID-19.

Carto
Carto makes spatial-analysis software and these visualization tools are on offer for free to all public and private organizations combating COVID-19.

Cisco
Cisco’s video conferencing software Webex no longer has time limits and can now support up to 100 people on a single call. All this is offered on the free version of the product.

Comcast

Comcast has a few services they are offering to provide people with access to Internet. Xfinity is offering free WiFi for everyone at Xfinity WiFi hotspots across the country.  They are pausing data plans for 60 days giving all customers unlimited data for no additional charge. There are no disconnects or late fees during this period. Internet Essentials new customers receive 60 days of complimentary service.  

Dialpad
Dialpad Talk Pro is a cloud-based phone system and video conferencing tool now free for two months to any business in North America or Japan.

Dropbox
The uber popular cloud content collaboration tool is now offering HelloSign Enterprise, which handles electronic agreements, free for 6 months for qualifying nonprofits and NGO’s.

Enview by Civic Eagle
Enview is legislative policy management software.  Now more than ever with a global pandemic policy is being written daily and Enview is offering its policy software for free through the end of April.

Facebook
Facebook’s Workplace Advanced, which offers video calls and file sharing is free for emergency services and government agencies for the next month.

Google
Educational services can now use the advanced version of Hangouts Meet (which allows for conference calls of up to 250 people) for free. Meetings can be recorded and saved on Google Drive.

Headspace
Headspace isn’t strictly for “work” purposes, but it’s pretty handy for helping you weather the storm of uncertainty and stress as you shake up your life and work routines. Headspace offers guided meditations for those who may never have tried mindfulness before. Here’s a Business Insider article that explains it pretty well. Right now they’ve increased their number of free meditations.

Hubspot
Hubspot helps businesses manage communications and customer support. They’re offering three months of their video software free and decreasing their starter package price from $112.50/month to $50/month for the next year.

Jamm
All of Jamm’s voice and video collaboration tools are free for the next three months.

Krisp.ai
Krisp.ai lets you easily mute background noise so you can get your calls done with minimal “I’m sorry, what did you say?” interruptions. They’re offering 120 minutes per week to hospital staff, students, teachers and government workers.

LinkedIn
LinkedIn hosts professional development videos on working remotely and is offering many of them free of charge.

LogMeIn
LogMeIn offers software for managing the many devices and apps remote workers have to juggle. They are offering a three-month license for free to healthcare, educational and some government programs. Some of these extra tools are available for free to regular site users, as well.

Loom
Through July 1, Loom will no longer limit its free users on how many videos they can make. The free trial period has also been extended to 30 days.

Mailchimp
Governments, schools, healthcare providers and nonprofits will have access to free mailchimp accounts to send newsletter communications out throughout the COVID-19 crisis.

Microsoft
There is no longer a user limit on Microsoft Team’s free version. Programs like Word and Excel are free for six months to organizations.

Panopto
Panopto allows users to record and send video content and is free for three months with no limits on content.

Salesforce
All existing customers and nonprofits get Salesforce collaboration software for free through the end of September, 2020. Salesforce is also allowing free access to its Health Cloud service for all response teams and health systems.

ServiceNow
This software helps teams digitize their tasks. ServiceNow has developed more apps alongside the Washington State Department of Health to help emergency agencies manage incident-response workflows.

Shopify
Shopify is an e-commerce platform that is now offering 90-day free trials instead of 14-days.

Slack
Slack’s premium online workplaces and communication tools are being offered as free upgrades to all organizations involved in COVID-19 research or response.

Stripe
Stripe is helping offline businesses transition to online payments.  They are fast-tracking supporting telemedicine platforms providing consultations for COVID-19.  Many businesses in the US can proactively add funds to their balance to cover refunds or chargebacks.

TechSmith
TechSmith Snagit is a screen recording software. The company also provides collaboration platforms for video review. These softwares are both free through June.

Threads
Similar to Slack, this online collaboration tool will be available for free through July 1.

T-Mobile
T-Mobile offers free international calling to help you stay connected to everyone in your personal and professional life.

Vidyard
Vidyard’s new services, a remote video communication tool meant for internal use is free through June 30.

Zoho
Zoho is offering to waive application fees for up to 20,000 small businesses and has created a new set of tools for online meetings, calls, file sharing and more, all of which are free through July 1.

Zencastr
This is a lot like Zoom except that there’s no need for a download. Create videos as well as podcasts with their simple, easy-to-understand interface. All recording limits have been waived.

Zoom
Zoom is a go-to for many companies when managing remote meetings, and now the 40-minute meeting limit has been removed for all students and teachers in U.S. K-12 schools.

 

Do you have a service to add that we missed?  Reach out

Virtual Mailbox: Get Your Postal Mail Anywhere You Are

How to Get Your Postal Mail When Traveling: Virtual Mailbox - via LiveWorkAnywhere

No one has embraced the all-digital lifestyle more than our band of globe-trotting freelancers and entrepreneurs. We run our businesses on laptops and wi-fi from beaches, villas, cruise ships…and airport terminals, parked cars, and rural bus stations.

We do everything via email, Trello, Slack, and other messaging and organizational apps. We hold conferences using Skype, Zoom or GoToMeeting. We use everything we can to stay flexible, available, and above all, free.

But the rest of the world hasn’t entirely caught up to us.

Death to Snail Mail 

No matter how hard we try, there are still companies and government agencies who insist on sending us snail mail. Paper messages that have to travel to a fixed, physical location, and that often need a prompt response. It’s the one remaining thorn in our ever-roaming paws, and for a long time there wasn’t a good solution.

You can have the post office hold your mail, but when you’re gone for weeks or months at a time the odds are good you’ll miss something important.

You can have your mail forwarded anywhere in the world, but that option has a host of problems: expensive international forwarding fees, mail that doesn’t keep up with your frequent travels and multiple destinations, the need to plan ahead instead of enjoying spontaneous trips.

You can have a friend or family member pick up your mail and look for anything important, but the privacy and reliability concerns are real.

I’ve been doing this awhile, and I’ve tried it all. The best solution I’ve found, far and away, is a virtual mailbox.  Short of not having any snail mail to begin with—which is still a dream of mine, but one the world has yet to accommodate—it’s the best thing out there when it comes to staying up to date with all of your important correspondence.

There are a few virtual mailbox services out there.  I do have a favorite, and I’ll let you know who it is in a second. First, I want to explain the concept of a virtual mailbox just so we’re all on the same page.

(Page! Get it!?…OK, moving on…)

How Virtual Mailboxes Work 

It’s pretty simple, really, like most ingenious things are. You get a mailbox and a postal address provided by your virtual mailbox service. This is a real, honest-to-goodness physical address where the USPS is perfectly happy delivering all of your mail, just like a post office box or private mailbox you can rent from the USPS or any number of private providers—except the top virtual mailbox providers give you a completely unique street address, which looks more professional and inspires a great deal more trust than a PO Box.

The big difference with a virtual mailbox service is what happens after the mail is delivered, though. Instead of simply holding your mail until you either come pick it up or have it forwarded to a new location, a virtual mailbox service opens and digitally scans your mail (ensuring complete privacy, of course), then uploads the digital images to an email inbox so you can read your mail from anywhere in the world.

You can also have your mail forwarded, of course, and packages can be sent along wherever you happen to be, too.  I find that the more we become digital, the less I need to physically forward my mail.  But this is a handy option.

A quick bulleted recap for the article skimmers:

  1. A virtual mailbox company contracts with a physical location to aggregate postal mail in one location, in multiple cities.
  2. The mail is received and the front cover of the mail is scanned.
  3. You then receive an email letting you know that the mail has arrived.

Some Types of Postal Mail You Might Receive (and don’t want to miss): 

  • Client Checks
  • Bank Statements (go digital if you can)
  • Mortgage Statements
  • Student Loan Documents
  • Legal Documents

Virtual Mailbox Signup Process

When you sign up for a virtual mailbox service, here is the signup process in action step by step:

  1. Select an address in one of the designated pick up cities.  For example I have a mailbox in New York.  I live there part-time, but I don’t have to in order to have a local address.  It can also help make your business look more official by having a local mailbox (versus PO Box) especially in a world renowned city.
  2.  Select a plan that suits your needs and budget
  3. Give out your new address to clients and agencies
  4. Receive an email when new mail is received
  5. Decide if you want to open it (have it scanned), download, delete, recycle, or forward to a physical address.

Important:  Make sure to include your MAILBOX number or the mail will not be delivered.

Virtual Mailbox Services: EarthClassMail vs. Traveling Mailbox 

I have personally tried two of the leading virtual mailbox services:

  1. EarthClassMail
  2. TravelingMailbox

EarthClassMail  EarthClassMail Benefits via LiveWorkAnywhere

A catchy name and a service I used for years, EarthClassMail, offers

  • A physical address for your business
  • Mail scanning
  • Secure mail shredding and handling
  • Free physical mail storage for 30 days
  • Check deposits

Prices start at $49/month for residential and $99/month for business accounts.

See a list of virtual addresses for EarthClassMail.

TravelingMailbox 

TravelingMailbox vs. EarthClassMail via LiveWorkAnywhere TravelingMailbox offers three plans that you can pay for annually or monthly.  The lowest tier includes 40 envelope scans and 35 page scans per month, which I’ve found is usually plenty for me. The mail comes in, I get a PDF of each envelope emailed to me, and I decide what I want to happen with each envelope.

Nothing gets opened and scanned unless you select that option, so you don’t end up burning through your monthly scans on junk mail. There’s no additional cost for shredding the mail you don’t want, and forwarding mail and packages only costs $2 (plus postage fees—but by bundling your mail, Traveling Mailbox helps you save there, too).

TravelingMailbox vs. EarthClassMail via LiveWorkAnywhere If you end up receiving more envelopes and/or needing more pages scanned than your plan covers, overage charges are only $0.25 per envelope and $0.50 per scan, and if you’re paying monthly you can switch to a higher plan if you’re expecting a higher-than-usual volume of mail in a given month.

Tip: Save the PDFs of your important mail in Dropbox, Google Drive, and/or on your computer and delete them from your Traveling Mailbox account to avoid going over your storage limit and getting hit with additional charges.

Depositing Client Checks from your Virtual Mailbox – a Quick Hack

Remarkably, I still have clients who prefer paying by check. Traveling Mailbox offers a check depositing service, where they mail your checks straight to your bank to be deposited, but they do (understandably) charge a handling fee and postage.

To get around that, I have the back and front of my incoming checks scanned then use the PDFs to deposit checks through my bank’s mobile app.

The bank keeps a copy of the check handy in case there are any issues, and I get paid without any extra fuss.

  • Client sends me a check
  • I request a scan and open the mail
  • I use my mobile phone banking app to screen capture and deposit the check directly into my bank account
  • I save pdf of the check to my dropbox
  • Lastly, I delete the scan to save space and costs
  • Done!

Which Virtual Mail Service Should You Choose?  

I’ve used both and I prefer TravelingMailbox for three reasons: it’s cheaper for most freelancers and solo travelers, it got my scanned mail to me faster, and the customer service was fantastic (surprising given that they’re the budget option, but hey—some things that seem too good really can be true!).  It may not look as sexy as EarthClassMail but it does the job!

Want to Avoid Paper Altogether?  

Tip: Use programs like Photoshop and Automator on Mac to turn PDFs into editable images.  Use your smartphone camera to make signatures and documents digital, make edits in Photoshop, and combine docs in Automator or Photoshop.

Slowly you can make your life free from snail mail and completely digital, but it starts with postal mail being virtually managed.

Unfettered Travel with TravelingMailbox

Physical mail used to be a barrier to flitting about the world while running a freelance business or entrepreneurial venture, but not any more. Traveling Mailbox is one of my favorite services as a remote working entrepreneur, and saves me tons of time, money, and stress. With my virtual mailbox in place—and virtual phone and fax services set up—I stay accessible across all channels without sacrificing my love of travel.

It sure is a sweet time to be alive and virtual!

Speaking of virtual services, check out RingCentral vs. Grasshopper – virtual phone services and faxing for mobile entrepreneurs.

Is there another service you use or recommend?  Or another hack you have to share?  Let us know in the comments below!