How to Work Remotely Abroad for a Week in Barcelona

Like any regular Thursday, I’m working away on the day’s tasks at Mikogo. But this week I’m abroad in Barce­lona, Spain, using online meetings and the Web to work remo­tely. Instead of going to Barce­lona for just a few days of holiday, I arrived in Barce­lona a week before my actual holiday begins. By prepa­ring myself to work abroad I have increased my time in Spain but can still easily colla­bo­rate with my colle­agues and get the job done. During the workday, I’m here at my laptop. Later I’m explo­ring the streets of Barce­lona.
These days just about anyone can do the same with a small bit of prepa­ra­tion. Here are my tips on how you can set yourself up to work remo­tely abroad.

What to Prepare Before Leaving for Barcelona

Prepa­ring to work abroad is not that diffe­rent from going on holiday: you book a flight, accom­mo­da­tion and pack. Here are the 5 things I had to consider before leaving for Barcelona:

  1. Getting there
    For flights to Barce­lona, I used which is a search engine for flights across Europe, to quickly find the best price for the dates and time I wanted to fly. Plus I could select my preferred airlines and airports.
  2. Find a place to stay
    This was the only step that required a bit of thin­king. Hotels first spring to mind. However I opted for Airbnb because instead of just getting a hotel room, with Airbnb I got a flat inclu­ding living room, kitchen, bath­room, and balcony. I can stay here and work comfor­tably. Like hotels, prices on Airbnb range greatly, depen­ding on what you want and where you want to stay.Tip: whether you stay in a hotel, Airbnb, or else­where, enquire about the Internet before making any bookings. I cont­acted the owner of my Airbnb place and she wrote back: “I under­stand your worry about wifi. Yes there is a good connec­tion, never since 2008 that I rent this apart­ment had a problem.” Also similar to staying in a hotel, when selec­ting an Airbnb place I have read the reviews from others.If you need the office envi­ron­ment to work in, consider a “co-working space”. Such office spaces are busy with small busi­nesses, start-ups, entre­pre­neurs, free­lan­cers, etc. – it’s a very inno­va­tive and proac­tive envi­ron­ment. I looked up Barce­lona co-working spaces and will visit one during my stay. It turns out that Spain is the co-working capital of Europe with over 100 such spaces in Barce­lona alone. I used Share­Desk, which is a direc­tory of co-working spaces in Barce­lona, and instantly found several places within just a few minutes’ walk from my Airbnb flat. Very easy.Finally about picking a place to stay, check trans­port links, if there are local shops, restau­rants or cafes around. All such info was written on the Airbnb descriptions.
  3. What to pack
    In my case, just about ever­y­thing I need for my work is already on my laptop which makes working from another loca­tion very easy. So all I need is my laptop and an Internet connec­tion. Before leaving London, I took note of ever­y­thing other than my laptop which I used during a work day: USB headset, wire­less mouse, USB drive, and pen/paper. For me that’s it making it very easy.
  4. Get in touch with custo­mers
    If you are going to a city where you have several custo­mers, this is a great oppor­tu­nity to get in touch with them, tell them you will be in town, and meet up with them for lunch or a coffee. You can speak to them face-to-face, perhaps for the first time, and chat about their busi­ness and how your service comple­ments their work. Great feed­back to take back to your colleagues.
  5. Ensure access to all online portals
    For me, most of the websites I use for work are online services and can be accessed from anywhere e.g. Dropbox, JIRA, Stream­send, etc. So nothing to do there. But there are others where we use the highest secu­rity measures to ensure only people in our company network can login. For those I’m using proxies unique to my laptop to access them remotely.
  6. Set up an ncon­nect account with nfon
    Of course I use Mikogo first and fore­most for VoIP calls and online meetings with colle­agues and others. But at times I just need to make a regular phone call without screen sharing. Nfon provides commu­ni­ca­tions as a service and with their Computer Tele­phony Inte­gra­tion (CTI) I can use my laptop to make calls. All infor­ma­tion about the call is displayed, along with a list of missed and past calls. The CTI can be used regard­less of whether I’m at the office, at home or here in Barcelona.

And that’s it. I’ve got ever­y­thing I need on my laptop and I have Mikogo to jump into online meetings with colle­agues and others at any time I want. Of course, on a side note, it is also a good idea to do a bit of rese­arch on where you’re going e.g. buy a travel book, read up on the main attrac­tions, etc. But that is very much the same for any time you travel.

Street in Eixample

Extend Your Holiday and Work Abroad

There’s no doubt many Mikogo users who use the soft­ware to occa­sio­nally work from home for a couple of days here. So why not work remo­tely abroad from your holiday desti­na­tion? What is diffe­rent from working in your own house compared to a hotel/Airbnb? You have your laptop, Internet connec­tion, Mikogo to meet with colleagues/clients, etc. But you can do it from Spain, Italy, France, etc.

So next time you’re plan­ning a holiday and want a bit more time to explore the surroun­dings, consider working remo­tely and get more time abroad.

Discus­sion: Feel free to leave a comment if you have in fact used Mikogo, and other tools, to assist you in working remo­tely from another city or country.

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