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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

"We make a point of avoiding email for ongoing discussions or debate," he says. Other tools used include Skype, instant messaging, and a time-tracking tool.

One of the workers who takes advantage of the company's telecommuting policies is translator Alexander Noethlich, who left the "gray, horrible weather" in his native Mühlhausen, in eastern Germany in favor of warm, sunny Cordoma in southern Spain.

The Internet connectivity is generally the same in Cordoma as in Germany, he says. There was an outage a few months ago due to heavy rains.

"For three days, I had no Internet, and it was really critical for me," he says. "I was still working on a desktop, and those three days made me buy a laptop because I realized I needed the possibility to go to a different place to get an Internet connection. I cannot have a week offline, it would be harmful for my work."

Extreme telecommuting
If you think working from an island paradise is a stretch, try working while on a year-long trip around the world.

Cora Rodenbusch manages the employee website and online community for PGi, maker of iMeet and other collaboration products. She and her husband had been talking about taking an around-the-world trip for years. Two years ago, he was between jobs and it seemed like the perfect time except that Rodenbusch didn't want to leave her job.

"I have a great team, and I loved what I was doing," she says. "So I thought maybe I could pitch Sean [O'Brien, her boss] on keeping the job, and using the software we developed internally around the world, put it to the test."

He liked the idea. Plus, since the company has 1,800 employees in 25 countries, this was an opportunity for Rodenbusch to visit some of the company offices in person.

"It became almost a company initiative," she says. "We had just discussed my goals and objectives for the year ... and I put together a PowerPoint presentation what projects I could be doing better by being on the road, what hours I could keep. At the end the day, you're going to have to get your work done."

"We are big believers here at PGi that work is not a place you go, but a job that you do," says O'Brien, who is the company's executive vice president of strategy and communications. "It was a bit out of left field because I didn't see it coming, but I thought it was a great social experiment and an opportunity to put our software to the test, and an opportunity for her to be an ambassador for us globally. It was a no-brainer in my view and the experiment worked out great."


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