In 2017 i visited the States twice, once in March to California with a bit of time spent at Outsite then the second time in Seprermber, on the East coast visiting New York. Firstly, the pros of working remotely in North America! California is 9 hours behind of London. By the time it hits 9am in L.A., the working day has already finished back home. I found this to be a great way to manage emails, by the time I responded, work had finished back home so it was rare that I ever received a response. I found this to be extremely positive for my productivity, allowing me to actually work on projects rather than spend half a day responding to emails then replies of emails.
While that did kind’ve act as a positive, it also meant while waking up in the morning your email box was stacked! In addition to this, project did tend to slow down due to the fact that you were only emailing once during business hours. While the time difference is less significant in New York, I believe the overall time difference in the States was the hardest to manage. In California I never slept correctly, often waking up at intervals to check my emails and sometimes respond. I think I had a dull headache for the majority of my time there from never getting a full nights sleep and recovering from jet lag.
In addition to this, being available to answer calls at 3am is hard work. It was better in New York, certainly manageable but I often found myself playing catch up on work during the day when I would have 4 hours of emails to run through before I could move on to projects.
While spending a significant time in Spain, the time difference is only 1 hour ahead of the UK but I always found that 1 extra super useful. In some situations I would start work at 7am, by the time 10am is reached I have had 3 hours of work under my belt and my clients are only just starting. This gave me a great start to the day and clients were always impressed when they had answers to their questions before they reached their desk in the morning.
There are also those times when you can’t resist the warm summer evenings and may stay out longer than expected! That extra hour is truly a blessing when you need to catch up on sleep. As it only being 1 hour, it really doesn’t effect what time you call clients either as your working day pretty much mirrors theirs.
Thailand really gives you the best of both worlds, plenty of time to concentrate on projects or allows you to actually have a holiday and switch off for a few hours every day..
Having experienced the States earlier on in the year, I was confident that going to opposite way could be beneficial. With being 7 hours ahead, if your looking to knuckle down and make some serious progress on a project, I feel like I have two working days in one here. My first working day consists of answering emails. With the time difference I have the bonus of no replies just like the States. I then have a free day up until 4pm where I can either enjoy my new surrounding, be a tourist or use the time to work on one of my own personal projects.
By the time I leave Thailand I would have spent nearly 3 months here and it has been hugely productive. There is no way I could have achieved this in the States. Managing emails at the end of the UK working day would have slowed down project significantly while making calls is hugely disruptive and has a negative effect on your sleep pattern.
By the time you reach 4pm your second work day starts and I generally begin to focus on my clients projects. Unlike the States, the time difference plays in your favour and there is no issue taking calls or making them to clients. If you are someone who also likes to enjoy themselves, with the UK working day ending around 12 midnight in Thailand, you have plenty of time to go out and enjoy yourself with the safe knowledge that you can have a good lie in before work begins the next day!
Thailand really gives you the best of both worlds, plenty of time to concentrate on projects or allows you to actually have a holiday and switch off for a few hours every day and enjoy the beach or be a tourist without checking your emails! If you are running a busy business and always on the move back home, I don’t think there is a better way to combine a holiday while not effecting the management of your business. I have had holidays in Europe due to the need to address issues, emails and calls.
Top tip: Google Boomerang.
Google Boomerang is a great Google Extension which can help you manage time and becomes invaluable while travelling. Personally I used Gmail as my email client as I find it extremely easy to use and easy to set up. If you are using Gmail like me, then Boomerang is perfect to help you manage your time.
We all have some client who like to send a tonne of emails, they always answer super quick and you know they expect a quick response. With Boomerang, you can write an email and then set a time that it will be sent out. By doing this, you can slowly train your clients to not expect an immediate response. It also means you can time your emails to go out later in the day so you are not inundated with responses when you really would like to concentrate on other projects.
Another way it can really help is if your are working abroad and you wouldn’t like your client to particularly know about it. For instance, in Thailand I begin answering emails at around 2am UK time. I don’t want them to know I am in Thailand, nor do I want them to think I am a party animal! For that reason I use Boomerang to time my emails to send out around 7/8am UK time. This way you look like an early riser and they have the answers they need by the time they have reached their desk.