The Valencian

Remote Reflections

Even back before La Crisis, there was an old joke about the best way to become a millionaire in Spain: “It’s easy. Just make sure you arrive with 2 million”. Maya Middlemiss lives in Valencia and is the founder of Health Happy Homeworking and believes remote control can offer the best of all worlds, both to employers and workers…

The joke about becoming a millionaire in Spain by ensuring that you arrive with double that touches on a widely held perception. It’s true, especially for migrants, that Spain is not the easiest place to either find a job or set up a business, even in ‘normal’ times (remember those?) 

The lifestyle rewards, if you do find a way to make a living, are excellent – but for many people here, the best way to fund that lifestyle is to find work you can do remotely, either as a freelancer or working for an employer who is happy for you to work from home.

I’ve been working remotely in Spain for more than 12 years, and today I speak and write about how more people can do the same, if they want to. Helping people find ways to design a career and lifestyle that lets them live where they choose, with luck doing meaningful and interesting work at the same time.  Even moving from place to place nomadically – that’s what people want to do, because there are as many ways to ‘do’ remote as there are clichéd stock photos of people sitting under palm trees with laptops.

A lot has changed in the past 12 years, and never more so than in the last 18 months. Following the ‘remote revolution’ of 2020, more and more people have started to grasp the potential of being able to work from anywhere when not legally locked down at home, and lots of enterprises around the world have come to appreciate the benefits, too, of hiring people who are motivated by the great perk of location-independent flexibility. 

On the flip-side of that, the new wave of remote workers is having to navigate a brave new world of tax and regulation confusion, technical challenges, and wellbeing issues, as the ‘new normality’ catches up with the art of the possible, and the way people want to live and work today.

I can’t fix everything for you, in a regular column here. I am not an immigration lawyer, nor do I play one on the internet. But I am looking forward to sharing some great stories of people who have made remote working work for them, right here in Valencia, as well as exploring some of the ways to make it happen in your life. We’ll be digging into some knotty issues about roles and skills and boundaries and motivation. 

We’ll be busting a few myths – spoiler alert, I tend to do my best work sitting at a desk, rather than under that palm tree (sand in the keyboard tends to be a dealbreaker on any warranty).  And I’ll also be flagging up some interesting opportunities I come across, through the Healthy Happy Homeworking community, and my writing and consulting work. There is such a range of jobs and tasks that can now be done from home, or as part of a distributed team – going way beyond the traditional tech and creative roles which have previously tended to favour hiring remote talent.

So whether you’re a veteran homeworker, a Macbook-packing digital nomad enjoying an extended workation or simply remote-curious, I hope you’ll find something of interest in ‘remote reflections’. 

And if you’ve got questions, a story to explore, or a distributed dilemma, then hit me up @MayaMiddlemiss and let’s see what we can do. I’m remotely interested!

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