Cultivate Blog

Van life: Working on the road

Posted by Tara Doherty on 4/7/22 2:00 AM

Over the past couple of years, one trend, in particular, has been growing in popularity since its introduction: remote work. A recent Forbes article predicts that by the end of 2022, 25% of all jobs in the United States will be fully remote.

Multiple studies say the list of benefits of remote work is continuously growing. One advantage is how remote jobs change people’s perspectives on how we value autonomy and workplace success. A common misconception among companies is that one of these things would have to be compromised for the other to flourish. Now, thanks to remote work, we are discovering that autonomy and a successful career can both thrive simultaneously.

In this week’s blog, we dive into this topic with Cultivate’s Accounting Manager, Christina Thomas, to learn how she manages to travel with a full workload. Since we transitioned to a fully remote company, Christina has combined her love for travel with her girl boss attitude to create a life that she finds meaningful. Hop in and buckle up as Christina reveals what it’s like to work on the road, the benefits and challenges, and tips for anyone interested in doing it themselves.

Q&A with Christina

Where did your love of travel stem from? I have a lot of family members who live overseas in Germany, so I’ve been traveling since a young age. That is probably where it started. However, now I travel more to explore beautiful places on my feet—my van is just a base for that.

When and why did you first start working on the road? When I decided to build out a van, I knew I wanted to have the flexibility to work out of it. I decided to install a built-in monitor that I could easily attach to my laptop and a desk so that I could work from anywhere comfortably. The flexibility of remote work has enabled me to live my dreams of traveling and exploring mountain life while maintaining a satisfying career.

Being able to work from anywhere is growing in popularity. For people who may be considering a similar lifestyle, what are some challenges they should prepare for? Be prepared for your needs. For example, if you need a secure network connection (WiFi), using a hotspot is not the best option. If you have a meeting and need a quiet space, it can be challenging to find that if you’re camped in a loud or busy area. One of my favorite solutions is to find a coworking space I can rent out that offers a quiet place to work and a secure network connection.

Traveling and working requires planning for things like a WiFi signal, attending meetings, communicating with your team, and being available when and if projects or priorities change. With so many variables to consider, do you have any planning tips? As I mentioned above, it is your responsibility to be available. I always travel to places knowing that I’m going to be able to take that last-minute meeting or work on a project. The biggest thing— specifically in a finance role—is having a second monitor. Making sure that you have access to the resources and tools you need to succeed is key to working from anywhere.

How do you strike the right balance between working and getting to explore? If I am working out of the van, most of the time, it’s at the end of the week, so I have time to enjoy the weekend. For example, Moab is a 6+ hour drive, so driving down after work on a Friday and heading back Sunday isn’t worth the trip. Typically, we utilize the van to get to our destinations during the week, so we can enjoy the places we are visiting on the weekend. 

In your opinion, what’s the most rewarding aspect of working from anywhere? Feeling like you’re not stuck in one place is super rewarding. It’s hard to live a life where you look forward to just the weekend or your 10-day vacation. Being able to work anywhere allows you to see new things and still accomplish the career goals you set for yourself.

Would you recommend working on the road to a friend or colleague? Definitely, I think specifically with Cultivate, we have done a fantastic job being mobile from anywhere. If you can travel and work remotely—whether in a van, Airbnb, or hotel—I would definitely take the opportunity.

You heard it here first: If you have the opportunity, the willingness to try it, and the means available to you, why not? Take Christina’s advice to research and plan to ensure you have the resources you need to work successfully on the road and be prepared for the unexpected.

If your company has switched over to working remotely, don’t forget about the importance of connection. Treat people to an on-site Event Gifting program or show them how much you appreciate their hard work with Virtual Gifting. No matter which gifting solution you go with, our team is here to help. Connect with a Gifting Expert to learn more! 

Topics: Wellness

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