How to start working online - Évora Town Taster Round-Up

Takeaways and re-cap video from the local workshop held during Grow Remote's Town Taster in Évora, teaching people how to start working online.

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Grow Remote, a volunteer-headed initiative that started in Ireland in 2018, held a Town Taster in Evora, Portugal. Country lead June Bolneo was in charge of running this event. As one of the 60+ chapters spread across several countries, the community is very active, constantly finding ways to teach people about remote work, what this lifestyle and the future of work entails, and how to get there. 

What’s a “Town Taster?”

Its purpose is to bring remote workers into smaller cities and towns and introduce them to the fact that there are other ways to set up bases besides the big cities. The other hope is to start building a remote work community by showing locals the realized benefits and opportunities that arise from being able to work remotely. 

The Town Taster is composed of two things - remote workers visiting the town, and partnering with a local volunteer. A workshop is held for the locals there, teaching them the fundamentals of remote work. What’s it all about? What are the different types of remote workers? How can they personally get started? Does this mean working on a laptop at the beach?

The NERE - Núcleo Empresarial da Região co-working space sponsored the workshop location. We had a total of 4 speakers - June Bolneo, country lead for Grow Remote Portugal, Matilde & Miguel from TravelB4Settle, Fabio from Pipecodes and Josephine from Remoter

101 of working remotely

Evora Town Taster - June Grow Remote

During June’s talk, she highlighted Grow Remote’s missions and values. She covered the basics of remote work and highlighted numerous job boards and resources for people to get started. There was also a hard emphasis on the different types of remote employees — the difference between remote employees and freelancers/contracts came across clearly.

“Remote work has been here for a long time. It’s been said to not work because no one had helped to implement it properly. Companies that say, ‘it’s not for us’ were not set up for it! But we’re here now, and we’re here to help you.”

Evora Town Taster - June Grow Remote

The truths behind digital nomadism

Matilde and Miguel are online entrepreneurs/digital nomads who are teaching people about how they achieved their current lifestyle. 

Evora Town Taster - TravelB4Settle

An important takeaway 100% worth mentioning is when they talked about the disadvantages of digital nomadism, and the hardships and sacrifices they were forced to contend with on their journey. 

It’s not all fun and games when you’re cafe-hopping for decent WiFi to get work done or meet a deadline, or you think you’re doing fine — but then the cafe doesn’t actually have outlets readily available to charge your devices! Flexible work routines are incredible… but the consequences of not being able to shut off follows closely behind.

“You might need to live on a shoestring budget to build your own business!”

They also spoke about future goals for their business.  Their next logical step consists of crafting an online course teaching people how to work online and live as digital nomads.

Tools and resources for distributed teams

Evora Town Taster - Fabio Pipecodes

Fabio Carreto from Pipecodes was our local volunteer who actually lived in Evora. He talked about the tools he uses to thrive in his remote company. In his talk, he highlighted 4 crucial points that work in tandem within a distributed team:

  1. Physical distance
  2. Communication
  3. Collaboration
  4. Productivity 

His favorite thing about the popular team messaging tool, Slack? The integrations. He finds them ‘crucial’, especially for executing proper communications and collaborations. 

Creative collaborations for remote teams

Evora Town Taster - Josephine Remoter

Remoter’s Josephine talked about creative collaborations within her remote teams, highlighting one main example of how the Remoter team found a solution within a week for a problem at hand:

The Remoter Project is garnering a lot of interest. There’s a list of potential, interested participants now. What are our next steps? How do we, in our small distributed team of 3, categorize and present fresh, creative ideas to our project participants in a systematic way, with clear processes in place?

Meeting still - Remoter

Our distributed creative team of 3 at Remoter.

The problem to be solved was to adapt and create their own remote brainstorm workflow and prioritizing offline vs. online. The process was quantified into: 

Remoter - creative brainstorming for the Remoter Project

  1. Full Team via Google Slides:
    5 min. Brainwriting - we do this offline, synchronously
    5 min. Populating Easy/Med/Impossible. - we do this online, synchronously

  2. Team Leader via Google Slides, Sheets & Docs (35 min. to…)
    Consolidate everything & divide into the efforts chart.
    Take the topics and split them within the keyword research list.
    Create the final consolidation document for participants to see.
    This is completely asynchronous

  3. Full Team via Google Docs:
    Approximately 10 mins for the team to check and approve everything, make comments, etc. - we check synchronously

More about this in detail on Remoter’s Medium publication.  

One helping the other

The efforts of this organization are unparalleled. Not only do they focus on making remote work local, but they also revitalize communities further away from the big cities by introducing remote work to these areas. This will eventually help people in these smaller areas gain access to the same opportunities. 

All in all, it’s a huge initiative they’ve embarked on and a great cause. The people who choose to volunteer their time have felt the realized benefits of remote work, but also the hardships and difficulties/learning curve and are there to help those who are getting into it now. 

Specifically to those in Portugal: you should definitely keep an eye out for the next Town Taster to see if the crew will be in your area anytime soon!

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