The Remote Working Experience
Lisbon & Parma

In our new series, Work & Roam, we’ll be following our Product and Solutions Analyst John Williams as he travels the world, working remotely from 5 countries. Tune in to see what worked (and what didn’t) for John during each stop, and to dig into how working remotely affects both the worker and the team back home.

“The doors in Lisbon are way cooler than ours back home. I’m off to Bologna tomorrow and then on the train to Parma the next day. Anyone know of anything to do in either place?”

Location: Lisbon, Portugal
Timezone: GMT (NYC + 5)


What was the thing I could experience, that I wouldn’t be able to in NYC?

I hear it’s been cold in NYC so I have been enjoying the 60 degree weather and have had some great morning walks along the Tagus River. I also had an amazing dinner last night at Sol e Pesca, a restaurant that specializes in preserved seafood (lots of canned fish) which was pretty unique!

What worked great this week?

After some searching, I found some great coffee shops in Lisbon with strong Wi-Fi. I am compiling a list of work friendly coffee shops i’ve frequented, which could help anyone else coming to work in these cities.

I believe that this is something that would have been very helpful to me.

What didn’t go so great this week?

I don’t think that getting work done is that much more difficult here in Portugal than it was in Mexico, however, it has been a much bigger challenge to maintain a healthy work/life balance.


|Time Difference|


While in Mexico, the time difference from New York was only an hour or two. I was able to start and finish my work days early enough to get a few hours of sunlight in the evening before calling it a night. (which was great for balance.) This meant that after working I could read/exercise/explore the city.

In Portugal, I am scheduled to start work at 11am. Instinctively, I tend to wake up earlier and check my email, meaning that start earlier and work even longer — sometimes until 8 PM.

It’s also worth mentioning that, since traveling, my internal body clock has shifted tremendously and I notice that I am frequently tired. This is something that will hopefully improve as I spend more time here.


|Wi-Fi Options|


Lisbon is a much smaller city than Mexico City (with a Population of 23mil against .5mil) and it does not have the same coffee shop/work culture that I am used to in New York.

Many of the Lisbon’s coffee shops do not have Wi-Fi, meaning that I am limited to the few places I have found. Many of the coffee shops that do have Wi-Fi close early, some as early as 4pm.

Once again, i stress, having usable Wi-Fi at my apartment has been important!


General Thoughts

I don’t think that getting work done is more difficult in Lisbon than it would be anywhere else; I do however, think that you have to be much more proactive to maintain any healthy work/life balance.(something that I have not quite mastered yet.)

For this post I wrote more about what did not work than i did for what did, but I don’t want that to paint a negative picture of my experiences.

I am working in a beautiful new city eating amazing food and enjoying myself. I just have different challenges here that I haven’t quite figured out how to navigate yet.



“Since i’ve been traveling alone for the past six weeks I am excited to spend the holiday with family!”

Location: Italy (Parma, Santa Margarita, Milan)
Timezone: GMT (NYC + 5)


What was the thing I could experience, that I wouldn’t be able to in NYC?

Thanksgiving was Thursday so this work week was a short one. My sister actually attended culinary school in Parma and we got to go visit her old campus.

What worked great this week

My parents and sister are visiting so we can spend the Holiday together and family visits definitely have there perks! I was able to stay in great hotels and eat out at fancy restaurants! Having access to nicer accommodations guaranteed that I had access to consistent Wi-Fi no matter where I stayed.

What didn’t go so great this week

While it was great having my family in town, it made getting work done much more difficult. I think their expectations were to adhere to their schedule. The big timezone change meant that I had to work into the night, which made things like dinner hard to plan. Overall I really enjoyed having them here, but it’s much easier to work when I only have to worry about my own schedule.


General Thoughts

Italy has been amazing for food/wine/scenery, but because I have had the convenience of working from hotels, I didn’t have the need to search for a co-working space or coffee shop with Wi-Fi.

Because of this luxury I really don’t have a great idea of what it is like to work remotely from Italy. I haven’t seen a lot of people working on laptops in coffee shops, so it may not be easy. I would guess, similarly to Portugal, you would need to find your few reliable spots and stick to them.

Next week I am off to Slovenia, where Butterfly has team members located and working remotely. I am excited to see what they’re up to and see how their experiences parallel with my own.