“Where do you go all day?” That was the question I was asked by the hotel concierge at the end of my week in Hanoi, Vietnam, where I was staying during my time in Asia between conferences in India and Hong Kong. She saw me leave the hotel in the early afternoon and not return until after dinner, and she was very curious as to what I did all day. I was so excited to tell her about the great Wi-Fi café I found which became my office-away-from-the-office. I was using this café as a quiet space to work and focus on my workday.
Many people work remotely, and I have the opportunity to when I’m in Washington DC, but always prefer going in to the office. I like the routine, the camaraderie, and the separation of work/home. As I worked remotely from Asia, I had to figure out a new routine to finish my work. The café was a great location, about a 15-minute walk away from my hotel, which gave me the separation that I needed. They also didn’t rush me, and let me sit there for hours on my laptop.
Figuring out the timing was a bit harder. I had 2-3 calls each evening between 9 pm – 12 am, which meant that I was working until about 2 am most days. Then, I’d sleep-in, eat a late breakfast, and do a brief email check to handle anything urgent. I’d then take a few hours to see the city or relax before going to work in the café. In the evening, I’d make my way back to the hotel for calls with volunteers, the board, and the team, and then wrap up in the early hours of the morning.
Work looked non-traditional in terms of location, hours, and routine, but it was still team-oriented and productive!
Read more about Emily’s Asia conferences and travel:
Lost and Found in Translation
One Size Does Not Fit All: Planning an International Conference in India
Managing Multiple Teams Globally