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Telecommuting from paradise

Maria Korolov | July 30, 2013
With the right boss and the right broadband, these tech workers relocated to paradise destinations

Lawrence starts work at noon each day, since there's a four-hour difference with Washington during the winter months. In the morning, he goes to the beach, or runs errands. One thing he doesn't do is work on the beach, he says. "I have to work with my computer, and beaches and computers just don't get along."

It's important to plan ahead for all contingencies, he says. The Internet can be slow or intermittent where he lives, so his backup plan is renting a desk for a day at ConnectSpace, so that he can work uninterrupted for a long stretch of time.

Sunny Spain
Gibraltar-based e-learning company Tradimo is all about supporting remote employees in exotic locations, with half of its staff working remotely.

"We chose to set up the company this way because it offers some significant human resources advantages and the people who telecommute love it," says manager Mike Hofmaier. "Ironically, our head office is in Gibraltar, which is in itself paradise."

People commute from the United States, Canada, Germany, Poland and more exotic locations as well, like Thailand.

Workflow is organized so that it can be done remotely, which sometimes can create challenges.

"For some roles, it's important that we get the scheduling right, in terms of the time of the day," he says. "But for many positions, it's not super relevant what time of day they're operating in. We have a 24-hour cycle, and we can continue producing content and keep up with forums no matter what time it is."

Some staffers have to start their days earlier than normal, or work later than in a typical job in order to get enough overlap to hold meetings, he says. "In a lot of ways it works even better, because we can assign something to someone at the end of the day and when we wake up in the morning, it's finished."

There are occasional issues with connectivity, he says, but employees are expected to move to a different location, where they can get online, or fix the problem within a day or two.

"In the last few years, it's gotten to the point that if you can pay for it, there's a good Internet connection in any major city in the world," he says.

The company uses internal forums to manage workflow, with individual items moving from one board to another as they move between different stages. For example, educational content starts out in a new content conception forum, then moves to the new content draft forum, then to a forum where a content quiz is created, then forums for SEO review, content approval, and translation into all the different languages the company supports.


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