Pizza, pasta and PR: why I love free-range working from Italy

Bleisure. Workcation. Virtual offices. The working world as we once knew it is changing, and I’m excited to be part of a company paving the way.

As a young woman, I’ve always felt I needed to choose between my career and my desire to travel. Having both has never felt like an option to me – in fact, having both almost seemed greedy. The message felt clear the moment I graduated: you’re either in the office proving your worth on the corporate ladder, or you’re living out of a backpack in an exotic country – there was no in-between.

Today, I’m working at the desk in my short-term rental just south of Rome. I’ve just sat down (virtually) with a client to discuss their public relations strategy, followed by a coffee and digital catch-up with a colleague.

I’m building more professional relationships than I ever have before. My career is taking off. I’m being trained and invested in. I have everything I need to work efficiently: high-speed internet, a comfortable office chair, a sturdy desk, and perhaps most importantly, an employer who trusts me and sees the value in free-range working. And it’s very much changed my life.

A company with flexibility at its core

One of the first things that attracted me to Abode Worldwide (besides the job role itself, of course) was the company culture and values. Abode Worldwide prides itself on being honest, open, modern, down-to-earth, and progressive.

So, it’s no surprise that the company has a free-range working policy and believes that employees should work wherever is best for them, whether that’s the office or elsewhere. Abode PR sees potential in employees no matter where they’re based and believes in building a culture where team members feel supported and valued from any corner of the planet – something that boldly puts the company ahead in the corporate world.

Ultimately, I have the freedom to live the life I choose, and I don’t have to give up my career to do so.

Staying connected with the team

Our CEO Jessica Gillingham is working from Toronto for six weeks this summer, other colleagues are living in various places around the UK, and I’ve chosen to settle in Italy for a while. It’s been a dream of mine to live here for years, and being able to do so while keeping (and progressing in) my career feels amazing.

One main stigma associated with remote working is losing touch with your team. For me, it’s been the opposite. Abode Worldwide is well-connected; with weekly team meetings, individual catch-ups, and regular client calls, I never feel out of touch with my team.

Something which really helps with this connection is our quarterly ‘away days’, where the entire team meets up to spend quality time together – whether trying an activity, participating in a workshop or simply eating good food. On our last away day, we went on a long walk around the countryside; next we’re going paddleboarding (followed by an afternoon of collaborating, planning and training).

If I ever want to drop in or experience the office environment, I’m of course welcome at our co-working space in Bath, UK, where some of the team choose to work. But for me, I feel most creative and inspired out of the office.

More than just a laptop

Free-range working is more than packing a laptop and getting on a plane; for me, it’s all about finding an environment that works. The most important thing is accommodation. Every so often, I move somewhere new, but I only consider short-term rentals that tick the following crucial boxes:

  • A dedicated workspace
  • Fast wifi (it’s becoming more common for Airbnb hosts to upload their internet speed on listings – if they don’t, I simply ask for it)
  • Air conditioning (I need a cool and calm environment to focus when staying somewhere hot)

These three basics are an absolute must – but finding properties that meet my needs is easy. As remote working continues to take off and the lines between business and leisure blur, many Airbnb’s are remarketing themselves to business travellers, so I’m always met with plenty of options.

When it comes to working, I replicate the structure of my day at home: 8.30 starts, morning coffees, an active lunch break, and all my regular virtual meetings, check-ins, and catch-ups. The only difference is that when I look out of the window, I see a serene lake or a traditional Italian street, and I get to spend my weekends exploring new places.

What does free-range working mean for me?

Free-range working allows me to experience life, the world and different cultures while progressing in my career. When working for a worldwide agency that partners with clients across the globe, I feel it’s important to encounter different ways of living and working – particularly since we’re supporting the tech brands currently transforming the way we live, work, and play.

I’m staying in different accommodations, experiencing the short-term rental industry firsthand, and understanding the power of hospitality technology daily. I feel more engaged, more creative, and more inspired – in my work, in the industry, and in my role. I have the freedom and flexibility to live the life I want, and this only makes me feel more career-driven.

Is building a company that allows free-range working a bold move? Yes. Is it working? Yes! Do I believe this is the future of the working world? Absolutely. Abode Worldwide is not only a breath of fresh air in the public relations industry, but a breath of fresh air in the entire corporate world – and I’m so happy to be on board.

About Amy

Amy is a Junior PR Account Manager within our PR team. With a strong background in content writing and a degree in English & Journalism, Amy has recently moved from our Content team into PR. She harnesses her journalistic skills and experience working on transformative copy campaigns to support our team and help clients achieve their PR goals.

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