This May, Ekaterina Zhegalina, our Marketing Manager, has spent a month in sunny and warm Agios Nikolaos, a  quiet village in West Mani Municipality, is located 50 kilometres southeast of Kalamata. We asked her to share some tips with anyone who is planning a similar experience. 

How easy is was to organize the trip?

We’ve been discussing this idea to use remote working opportunities with my boyfriend some time ago and decided to finally make it real about a half a year before the trip so we had a plenty of time to plan it. First point was to find a time period that works for both of us, meaning there are no work trips, client events or meetings that require offline presence and so on. May 2022 happened to be the month. Then I confirmed it with my team at QOCO to make sure everyone is aware and it won’t be a problem in terms of communication. We have an international team located worldwide and often we work remotely so everyone was quite excited for me. 

Then we selected a location, the main requirement was the same or close time zone as in Helsinki, two-rooms as we both need offices, good weather, fast wi-fi connection. Agios Nikolaos happened to be the right location. We rented a nice 2-floor villa with good view after all.

So in general, organizing the trip and making all arrangements was relatively easy. 

Was teamwork as efficient as if you were in Helsinki with the team? Any struggles in communication?

As we are used to working remotely, there were no struggles in our teamwork or communication. However, when my colleagues from Dublin visited Helsinki to meet clients when I were in Greece and I wish I could catch-up with them in person, not online. Obviously, nothing can substitute f2f meetings when you want to build relationships with a team. 

Also, in general, I try to be at the office 2-3 times a week so I started missing the rest of the QOCO crew that I used to see regularly. Probably one month away is my absolute maximum. 

 Anything that worked better than when you are home in Helsinki?

Weather in May in Helsinki was not the best, especially comparing to the sunny and warm Agios Nikolaos. Sunshine, sea view from the balcony truly makes wonders with your motivation to work and energy levels. I was able to do much more work and be 2000% more productive there. 

We were also able to go for a swim or run during the lunch time, spend evenings and weekends hiking in the mountains. Agios Nikolaos is a small village, and we both with my boyfriend enjoyed a slow life after busy year.

Any good-to-know that you would appreciate knowing before leaving for a trip?

There will be surprises, be prepared. Wi-fi might not work well so have a back up for that (e.g., buying Prepaid card in Greece was not as easy as we thought). If you go to the remote location, try to research this in advance. Also, some other small thing may happen, such as getting lunch during typical Finnish lunch time was not possible for us there as all restaurants are closed or it takes a long time to get food. We ended up cooking more than during the entire year in Helsinki. I would recommend arriving on the weekends to set all up before work week. 

Also, remember to spare some time to have fun and enjoy your life. Explore new location as much as possible. It could be small things, like taking a longer lunch time and going for a walk, working in a beach bar or actually taking a week off. 

QOCO fully supports remote work and temporary relocation to another country or city. Many of our employees are often traveling abroad, whether visiting families or just exploring new cities. Sounds like a perfect job for you? We are rapidly growing and looking for new talents. Check out our Career opportunities.

Local swimming place
Agios Nikolaos port
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