Life at our home away from home

Our remote office experience is nearing its halfway mark, so now’s a good time to reflect on what has happened, what’s different from Finland and what it’s like to work remotely from another time zone.

Leaving Finland

One of our party took a head start and spent her Christmas holidays in Asia, but most of us woke up early on January 2nd and met up at the airport. The moment we’d all been waiting for was finally here, and the wild idea we’d had during a late summer picnic was transforming into a reality.

After some quick baggage shuffling and balancing, our gear was within the weight limits. That early in the morning the security check was a breeze and we had some time for breakfast. As we sat there waiting for our flight to board, we watched as the first snowflakes danced down from the sky, the first signs of what was in store for Finland. We wouldn’t need to worry about it, at least for the next 30 days.

Arrival

Flying is always tedious, but the long flight was rewarded with a warm welcome at our destination. We soon realized that even the lightest possible traveling attire from Finland was an overkill in this climate. All our baggage came through and nothing had broken. We found our arranged chauffeur and he took us to our villa. With travel weary eyes, the local traffic felt downright chaotic.

Villa

Our villa resides in the Rawai region, which is a slightly quieter part of Phuket, but we still have grocery stores, fresh fruit sellers and restaurants all within a walking distance. The centerpiece of the villa and the biggest attraction on the arrival day was our own private swimming pool.

The biggest question mark related to the villa was the internet connection, as it was something we could only hope would work. So far the Internet has been working well, our villa has a 15/1 ADSL connection and surprisingly it has held its word. We brought our own WiFi router with us so we can work wirelessly by the poolside or even from the pool, which in fact was how we surprised our colleagues back in Finland in our first video call.

Working

So what’s it like to work remotely from the other corner of Eurasia? We wake up around 8 am local time and eat a light breakfast, after which we’re ready to tackle last night’s e-mails, as our only commute is a quick morning dip in the pool. Some of us brought along external displays and accessories like keyboards from Finland, so the kitchen table was instantly converted into a remote code post and our bedrooms serve as Skype conference rooms during the daytime.

Due to the time difference we’ve had to pack all our meetings into a few overlapping afternoon hours here, but this hasn’t caused problems and the villa internet can handle multiple simultaneous Skype calls. While the afternoons are reserved for meetings, our mornings are comfortably quiet for tasks requiring concentration. During midday we have a longer combined pool and lunch break, when we wander to local street kitchens. Finnish lunch vouchers don’t work here, but on average lunch costs around 100 Thai baht, which converts to roughly 2,5 euros.

Attractions

While we’re a bit stranded to our office during weekdays, the weekends and Epiphany have provided us with time to roam around and get acquainted with local beaches, the underwater world and other attractions. On that front Phuket has something to offer for everyone: serene beaches, gorgeous sunsets, buzzing city life and everything in between.

Reflecting on the past two weeks

Thus far we’ve experienced some minor power outages and short internet connection breakages, which we’ve been told are both common here. Somehow the traffic doesn’t seem as hectic anymore, and our fair skin no longer burns as easily in the midday sun. Our work is still very much the same as it is in Finland, but here when you need a coffee break you can soak yourself in the pool instead.

Follow us on Instagram @Franticremoteoffice to get a better picture of what working from Thailand looks like.