I need my computer and a stable internet connection, that’s it
Jorin Eichorn is telling Ruulers about the many perks of being an independent professional. “I am glad that I didn’t have to stay inside my apartment for weeks in a German city but could spend the first wave of Covid-19 in Bali/Indonesia, for instance. For me, that is enough reason to be convinced that location independence has its value.’
1- Please introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your work.
My name is Jorin, I am from Germany, and I am currently working in business development for the Citizen Circle. That is a German-speaking online entrepreneur community where I am responsible for creating new partnerships, making business connections, and coming up with new ideas to, well, develop the business.
Like all of our team, I am working full-time remote, enabling me to choose to work from wherever I want to. I need my computer and a stable internet connection, that’s it.
I was traveling a lot in my life already, and I am currently staying in Portugal, where the weather is relatively fine compared to the rest of the European mainland. I have learned 6 languages with time, often when staying in a place for a longer time.
2- Why do you define yourself ‘location independent by conviction’. Why did you choose to be an advocate for the freelance ecosystem?
There are many advantages to location independence in my eyes, both personal and professional ones. The mere fact that I do not have to commute every day, can choose the place where I want to live and, in my case, also when I want to do my work are reasons enough for me to strive for this option. Let’s not be silent about that working location independently also has some disadvantages like everything in life. It’s safe to say that it is not for everyone as you need high self-discipline, proper self-management and sometimes also have to work under contrarious conditions. I was already typing emails on my mobile phone, connecting my Bluetooth keyboard; the phone was squeezed in between the two seats in front of me when I crossed the Atlas Mountains in Morocco in a local bus.
I think that location independence, as I describe it, gives you more external freedom. If I can expand and explore the outside world, experiencing different cultures, countries, and people, I can also expand and explore my inside.
Also, the latest Corona pandemic proved me kind of right. I was already used to working remotely when other people hastily had to switch over to a home office setting, not knowing how that could work. Both companies, as well as their employees, had not been prepared to work in that way. I am glad that I didn’t have to stay inside my apartment for weeks in a German city but could spend the first wave of Covid-19 in Bali/Indonesia, for instance.
For me, that is reason enough to be convinced that location independence has its value.
3- What are your predictions for the future of work?
Well, I am not very good at predicting the future in general. I believe that artificial intelligence will play a significant role soon. More simple and repetitive jobs such as subway driver or working at an assembly line will be done by machines entirely.
Until recently, many jobs were to be done in offices will be possible to do from home. I believe that it was more the companies and their old-fashioned ways of functioning, and bosses who don’t trust their employees claiming that remote work wouldn’t be possible. My younger brother is an excellent example of that. A year ago, working from home was considered taking a day off at home by the management and the team itself. You can imagine that this has tremendously changed over the last couple of months.
Yet, on the other hand, there will always be jobs that, in my opinion, will never be possible remotely, even though some independent location disciples claim that. Everything which has to do directly with human beings will always require other human beings – on the spot.
I see many more transnational and global collaborations, many very small companies of 2-3 people running their own business.
4- How can distributed/remote teams work efficiently and constructively together?
From my personal experiences, there are a few things which need to be sorted out very well. Sure, you need the proper infrastructure and technical device to be able to work at all. But then there is a much more important part: team building and communication among the team members.
I worked in distributed teams where I didn’t feel like belonging to an actual team at all. And that wasn’t particularly the fault of the team members itself but the company’s CEOs. It is their task not only to find the right people but to hold up the vision, giving this whole thing a “why,” as I say it. A modern leader of the 21st century needs to have many social skills and understand his employees. And that is not an easy task to do. So one measure is to have regular team meetings in person. I would say that people in a distributed team need to see each other in person at least every six months. They need to interact not only on the screen but in real life. This ultimately bonds creates rapport, positively affects individual performance, and makes the right people stay longer, be more loyal to a company.
5- You have lived in Germany, Spain, Honduras, France, Australia, Turkey, Tanzania, Portugal, and Indonesia. Which place was the best? What would you recommend to freelancers when they are searching for new places to live in?
Yes, that’s right. It has become a little list already. Just to be on the same page: living in a country means that I participated in everyday life, learned at least a bit of the language, and have some friends there until today.
The question of which was the best place, I find it a difficult one. I was in those places in different stages of life respectively and had another purpose each time. I have to admit that I haven’t yet found my place where I would like to base for a longer time. That is my next goal in fact. However, I recognized that I am still most connected to Europe and would like to spend most of my year in a somewhat warmer place (read Mediterranean area). For the winter, I am inclined to go to some Latin American country like Colombia.
6- In one sentence, how do you define Ruul?
Ruul has a service that solves individual freelancers’ problems who need to act as a company but don’t want to go through all the legal hassle.
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