Remote worker life: Gregory Penrose

September 30, 2021

Name: Gregory Penrose

Job: Nomadic Software Engineer

Current location: MaltaCurrent devices:  Macbook Pro

Did you have an objective at the beginning of your career to work remotely?

Working remotely was more of an accident than a planned venture. It was only due to the pandemic and the forced working-from-home situation that encouraged me to work remotely. I saw my colleagues return to their home countries during this period and I decided that I would like to try the same. So I asked my manager about the possibility, considering other colleagues had traveled already, he was supportive, and so I moved to Rome to work remotely for a month. I then wanted to continue working remotely, so I decided to move to Malta after Rome, and I’ve been practicing ever since.

How do you find working remotely?

Since March 2020, everyone at the company has been working remotely, albeit mostly from their homes (or bedrooms) in Ireland. This made working remotely abroad a lot easier as we already had a lot of the protocols for remote work in place. The beauty about working remotely abroad is the freedom to travel to holiday destinations whilst also maintaining your full-time job!

What is your typical daily schedule?

I’m not a morning person, so typically I wake up 10 minutes before my morning standup, shower, then make a coffee, and then I begin my day with the team meeting. I typically work from 11-18:30 due to the hour difference between here and Ireland, and at 18:30 I usually log off to enjoy my evening.

Could you please share your current office?

My current office is a desk in my bedroom with my Macbook and wired headphones for meetings and listening to music.

What are the benefits that you found since you started working remotely?

The freedom. Working remotely from my bedroom back home felt limited and lonely. Once I realized the possibility of international travel while working from my laptop, the freedom and possibilities became endless. I moved to Rome and lived and worked there for a month, instead of coming home I moved to Malta on a whim and lived and worked remotely from there for several months. Now I’m thinking about where I want to go next, will I stay in Malta, or travel to Barcelona, or Paris, maybe I’ll head down to Morocco, as long as I have my laptop, I know I can go anywhere.

What are the challenges that you had since you started working remotely?

The tax. Since my designation is not technically remote, and I’m a full-time employee based in Ireland, I’m only able to be outside the country for 183 days before double tax becomes an issue. This has been the major blocker in most of my travel decisions.

What are the top 3 most important things for you when you work remotely?

A decent workspace, coffee tables, or cafes won’t cut it, I need a desk and a proper chair (This is for long-term remote working, a day or two on a coffee table would be fine)Contacts or friends. Working remotely is lonely enough as it is. Where I travel, I want to know that I can meet new people and go out with friends. I recommend Facebook “ex-pats” groups for finding friends on your travels.

Good internet connection. Struggling with connectivity problems and not being able to work due to lag, or network issues is just one more stress you don’t need when working remotely. Always book an Airbnb with good WiFi.

Have you ever traveled while working remotely?

Of course. Working from home and working remotely are two different things in my mind. It’s only when you travel do you realise the biggest benefit to remote working. It’s the ability to work in any country in the world without having to constantly find new jobs.

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