Remote working in a far away timezone: Preparation

Skyscrapers is based in Belgium. I work for Skyscrapers from Bulgaria with a timezone difference from only 1 hour + a small distance to cover to visit to Belgium. Another colleague experiments with working in Ethiopia which has 1 hour time difference. Visiting Belgium from more remote places is difficult. But he was only worried about his internet connection.

I'm first at our company to experiment with working with a large timezone difference at the other side of the world. And yes I worry about internet connection too. So before I leave I try to prepare as much as possible to have a smooth experience.

Check what is the time difference

You do this beste before you leave. As this is the main base to prepare you calendar. There is a 5 hours time difference between Brussels and Bangkok.

You have several different once and as a hacker you can use your own scripts. But if you start doing this you will run in the wonderful world of Daylight saving time so I just use one of the already many available tools.

Equipment check

To make sure you can work at your new destination you have to make sure you have everything. So a quick equipment check is in order.


My electronic checklist is not so big:

  • Laptop
  • 2 Phones (one for Belgian calls and another for Thai+data)
  • Kindle
  • Cables for loading my laptop and my phones and kindle

Very important is that you have the correct power adapter with you. I can't count the times that I had to rush on arrival to a electronic shop to buy a converter. It happened to me several times on short trips to the UK which means I have several UK power adapters converters.


At Skyscrapers we're already working remote. So Our software tooling is already built with this in mind.

I learned some new tool from my colleague working in Ethiopia. As the internet connection is not always stable you can use Mosh. It's also great if you have to change internet connections frequently. It keeps your shells connected. Great tool.

But probably I keep using a VPS in the cloud where my shells keep running in screen. Yes cool kids I prefer screen over tmux. But as I'm open to learn new things I will try tmux during my trip. Just need to find out how to have sane keyboard binding using a azerty keyboard.


Most communication is done asynchronous at skyscrapers. Key word is most. Some Synchronous communication is still needed. There are several things you can do to plan ahead for synchronous contact with your team. Here comes in play our check for the time difference.

Sharing my travel plans

When I'm on the plane. When I land. I will clearly mark this in our shared calendar so my colleagues can check when I'm not even available to pick the phone.

Sharing meeting opportunities

I'll mark my availability blocks in my calendar but they will look like this:


It's a screen-shot from World time buddy which is a great tool to plan meetings with people in different timezones.

So it will be easy for my collegues to know when they can shedule a Hangout or skype with me.