Kat Christofer Works Remotely
WooCommerce Documentation Editor
Digital Nomad Employee
Digital Nomad Life
% Time Traveling
|Past Year:||50 Cities||16|
|Career:||300 Cities||40 Countries|
* All figures approximate as of October 2016
How and why did you start working remotely?
I worked as a journalist previous to tech, so reporting offsite and on location was part of the job. News agencies needed spot news, and I was happy to file stories for them by email. I also had private clients for whom I built websites, and no physical presence was needed in an office.
What advice would you give someone considering a remote job?
Know thyself. You must have a high level of self-awareness, self-discipline, and self-management to be productive and successful and maintain life/work balance. When people hear that we can choose our own hours and location, it sounds like a dream; and for most, it is. But not everyone is suited for remote work.
What are the biggest benefits to working remotely?
Freedom. Freedom from commute and negatively impacting the environment. Freedom to choose the hours that are most productive for me and for my company. Freedom to change locations and travel without having to take vacation days. Freedom to spend with people I think are the bomb-diggity or on pastimes I wish to develop.
What are the greatest challenges to working remotely?
Explaining to others that we do indeed work. We are accountable and passionate, which often has us working more hours (and not less, as they believe).
Do you keep a regular remote work schedule? What is it?
I have no fixed schedule, but I do have a few rules that work for me.
- Work early morning.
- Travel on Sundays whenever possible.
- No AFK on product launch days or meeting days.
How do you avoid becoming distracted when working remotely?
Life is distracting by nature, but you can minimize as much as possible if you know what you need and when. I go AFK if focus wanes, do something physical, come back.
What is a remote work pain point, and how do you address it?
Having the most amazing coworkers and not spending enough IRL time with them. We have limited time at company and team meetups, so the most we can do is try and see each other at conferences or on personal trips.
Do you use coworking spaces? What are the best ones?
Coworking spaces don’t work for me. I find them distracting and unproductive. If I’m in the city of a colleague, I’m open to going to one with him/her/them but it would never be my suggestion.
What gear can't you work remotely without?
- Sennheiser ear buds
- UE Boom 2
What apps or websites can't you work remotely without?
Do you work from a home office? How is it organized?
I’m nomadic 24/7 and currently have no home office.
How do you stay in touch with virtual teammates?
We use Slack as a company. My team uses Google hangout to see each other every other week. In weekly one-on-one meetings, we use Google Hangouts or voice calls. Every team is different. Then we have team meetups in person twice a year; we have a company meetup once a year. Colleagues also meet each other at conferences or WordCamps throughout the year.
What’s the best way to find a remote job?
Look on job boards dedicated to remote working opps. Follow distributed companies you admire and position yourself to fill a need.
Would you consider returning to a traditional office job, or are you remote for life?
I’d love to say I’m remote for life. But I know better than to never say never.
How has working remotely impacted your career plans?
My career has advanced, so I’d say remote work has had a positive impact or at least not been an obstacle.
How do you stay connected with your local community?
I attend meetups in cities I visit, and I contact colleagues when I’m in town and hang out with people they know. I do not have a local community “back home.”
What's the best way to develop professional contacts while working remotely?
It’s possible to make contacts both online and offline; I’ve met many virtually via social media channels or online communities, but also IRL at conferences, meetups, and socials. I also have a mentor.
How has your remote job impacted your life outside of work?
Working remote and being nomadic have killed my dating life. No problem at all meeting new people, but finding the right person and staying connected is definitely a challenge because I refuse to compromise standards. The majority of remote couples were partnered previously and are doing it together; it’s rare that you find someone suitable on the road.
How do you manage work life integration?
There needs to be intentional separation or the line between work/life is blurred. Even with the one laptop I use, I have a browser for work and a browser for personal. There is no overlap. That said, there have been times when something at work took priority and I took care of it. And vice versa.
How do you stay physically active while working remotely?
I do SEALFit as part of a small, like-minded virtual group—the program includes endurance, cardio, strength, and yoga. I swim up to 1000 meters whenever I’m near a pool or beach. I walk if the distance is 45 minutes or less, unless I’m on deadline.
How does working remotely impact your diet?
Working remote has no effect on diet, but location impacts possibilities. What I mean by that: How equipped a kitchen is, what ingredients are for sale, whether I can read the language in that country, how far the market is, whether I need to kill/grow it myself.
How do you cope with feeling lonely while working remotely?
I enjoy being alone at times, and rarely feel lonely and never isolated. My non-work friends are spread throughout the world, so working remotely actually helps me see them more than when I was geographically limited to a certain country/office.
How do you stay in touch with friends and family while traveling?
My friends and I WhatsApp/Viber/Skype on a regular basis, and I also post photos and status for general consumption on Facebook and Twitter. I make certain to see friends and colleagues in any city I visit.
What are your tips for making friends while working as a digital nomad?
Be OK with making small talk wherever you go because the world is big and there are a lot of awesome people in it. Be safe but not paranoid, and use common sense. It’s OK to walk away from people who make you uncomfortable or don’t get you.
What are your favorite cities in which to work remotely?
My favorite cities, in general, are Cape Town, Barcelona, Stockholm, Berlin, and Lisbon.
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