By December 21, 2012 Read More →

Working from home in London and Sardinia

What’s it like working from home in two countries?

Work from Home Wisdom - working from home in two countriesI spoke to Giuseppe Colombi about the reality of what sounds like an enviable lifestyle!

Hi Giuseppe, you operate your accountancy practice by working from home in both London and Sardinia – how did this come about?

My connection with Sardinia started when I was a young teenager. When I got a chance I went to visit this incredible island. I still remember my first crossing, it took 8 hours.

Over the years I decided that I would eventually buy a piece of land and design and build my own house, which I did about 5 to 6 years ago. Caught between the desire to live a life close to nature and enjoy the buzz of the wonderful town that is London, I felt that there was only one way to achieve this i.e. use technology more efficiently and split my life working from home between the two places.

We started in 2008 from one of the bedrooms upstairs in the London house, with just a few clients. That was at the beginning of the recession. Within 2 to 3 years, the database had grown to about 300 clients. Today we have more than 500 clients and employ 5 people including myself and my wife. We all have a separate desk in what was the living room and there is space for another employee.

We have transformed our dining room into a cosy little area for two. In addition I let two of the rooms upstairs to a couple of close friends who keep the house running and in good order when we are not there. The two sections of the house are alarmed separately and so there is a clear division between office life and home life.

How often do you make the trip to London?

In theory I should come to London once a month for a week. In practice I come to London every other week. Most of my clients know that I live abroad. I was worried about this at first, but the vast majority are OK about it as our service has not suffered and in actual fact it has improved with me having a more strategic role. Many of my clients think that it is quite clever to do what I do, working from home in two places, although I have to say that at times I wish I could retire and have a nice rest in Sardinia.

Are there any downsides to working from home in this way?

Yes of course. This life style can wear you down as you are divided between work and leisure. Also travelling is tiring in itself. On the other hand change is also refreshing and you feel less bogged down by the problems peculiar to each country.

The important thing is to like and love the people of both countries. I have spent 33 years in London and I have great relationships with both clients and friends. At the same time I have developed many good friendships in Sardinia too. I think it is important to realise that however beautiful a place is, it is the people you share your life with that really count and help you to have a more meaningful existence.

Giuseppe Colombi runs Best Choice Accountancy Ltd and his clients are contractors and sub-contractors, construction companies and self-employed individuals in the construction business.

In the second part of the interview Giuseppe talks about his different impressions of home business in Italy and the UK.

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