5 Lessons Learned From Remote Working in Japan

On paper, remote working in Japan doesn’t look good. Small hotel rooms mean it can get cramped working from a shoe box (my usual choice) to costly co-working spaces (costly coming from Thailand, that is!).

On the plus side internet is fast and stable and coffee shops with power outlets are everywhere.

Here are 5 observations I encountered traveling while remote working in Japan over the past 15 days:

1. Carve out work time

When you can smell hot ramen soup from the vendor next door or want to pop into that little cute Sake bar you’ve had your eyes on since checking into your hotel, for the most of us, we need to remind ourselves work does need to get done so we can keep on remote working.

I personally prefer getting up early and working to lunch, but I know many other startup founders prefer working through the night. Find out what works for so you can carve out a portion of each day for work.

2. Focus on what needs to be done now

Getting good at deciding what is urgent and what is not is a habit every remote worker needs to get good at, especially for those who travel and work at the same time.

Everyone’s inbox is filled with stuff that need’s responding to urgently (getting back to to your employees, for example) and stuff that can wait (partnership requests). Getting good at prioritizing your work will pay huge dividends for when your short on time.

Working at the Fraser Suites Apartments in Osaka for a few days.

3. Splurge when you want to work

This may sound counter-intuitive, but I found that by splurging on a nice hotel room or apartment, with a separate bedroom to a living room/office, I was able to prepare and stay highly focused and productive producing multiple x’s of work (unlike I was able to do in a $100/night shoe box). Just knowing I needed to make the most of the extra space and the great working environment did the trick.

Tip: the Fraser Suites Apartments in Osaka was perfect for this.

4. Hotels are cheaper than Airbnb

Every time I checked, hotels in Japan we’re always cheaper than similar sized pads available on Airbnb. With the added bonus of knowledgable staff at the reception desk, staying in hotels on this trip was a no brainer.

5. You need help.

Thankfully over the past few months, our small team at Founders Grid has grown and I’ve now got an intern helping me make sure our products run smoothly.

I can now delegate tasks, and know the next day I come back online they will have been handled. Remote working in Japan with unideal working setups really enforces why you (or at least me) need help.

Overall, remote working in Japan was doable, and more importantly; was a lot of fun.

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