Workation in Thailand - a win for the AppUnite, a big win for myself.

I have spent the last five months working remotely from the north of Thailand and this has been the best time for my personal growth.

The idea of going to Thailand came to me unexpectedly. One day I realized my work is quite redundant. Even challenging projects were not so exciting as they used to be. I had a feeling I need a new, a bigger challenge. I told my wife about this feeling and that I needed a change. During one of these talks we came up with an idea to go somewhere away. Maybe a new place will help me recharge my batteries, a different culture would give me a new perspective and help me learn something new.

The next day I decided to talk with my boss Karol. I was a bit afraid that he wouldn’t like my idea. I thought that maybe there were more people like me, that needed to change their environment, to get off the routine and take a breather. So I offered Karol that we coild do something that would benefit more people and asked him to open a temporary office in some exotic place. He loved the idea and agreed to that.

I prepared a list of the places where we could go and we conducted a poll. Thailand was our first choice. There were a lot of people, even those who signed up to go there, that didn’t believe it was possible. There were a lot of questions and fears. It was quite a challenge to move 20 people (which was almost the half of the Company at that time) 8000 km away from our office. I realized that this was the challenge I had been looking for all along. I wanted to prove to myself and to everyone that we could do this.

The first picture taken in Chiang Mai. A bit tired after 30 hours of traveling, but everyone’s happy. Piotr, Magda, Andrzej, Weronika, Kasia, Maciej, Jakub and me.

Four months later, first group landed in Chiang Mai. During five months, we have transferred 20 people from the company (29 people in total with their families) and I was the lucky one who spent there 5 months. Let me summarize how it was.

I got to know 20 people anew.

I have been in Appunite since it was a very small software house. Six years from my first day and it is a much bigger company now. New people join us every month. Sometimes, there is not enough time to get to know everyone. In our office, the atmosphere is very friendly, we can discuss almost everything. I do believe this is something that has always been the strong side of our company, people have very good relations, they are something more than just coworkers. Even so, sometimes it is hard to get to know everyone. We work in different projects, we sit in different areas of the office and so on. We organize a lot of integration events, but I have a feeling that workation was the biggest and the most meaningful event.

Each month, a new group of people came to Chiang Mai. We have lived in one house, we travelled together a lot. From the first to the last group, I enjoyed spending time with every person who was there. Sharing experience connected us. I learnt a lot about my coworkers, their lives, their families and even hobbies. I made a few friends there.

I have learned that my problems are not everyone’s problems.

We spent many evenings talking about everything. A lot of times we were talking until late hours. There were a lot of opportunities to talk about AppUnite itself. I thought before that the needs and the problems of people were actually very similar. I mean, I knew that everyone is driven by something different, but during this trip I realized that it is much more complicated than I thought. I have learned that everyone has different perspective on our job. These talks opened my mind to a lot of new aspects. I have learned that my problems are not everyone’s problems and that everyone cares about different aspects.

Kamil, Magda, Marcin, Monika, Jędrzej, Paweł — second group travelling through montains.

I have a feeling that it wasn’t just me who learned something new about our work. We have a lot of time to talk what developer/qa/manager’s job really is. What is good and what we can improve to make more people happy. I think it will also cultivate our tolerance for each other. For me, that was one of the biggest advantage of going there with such a big group. I have changed my perception of many things. I would say that this also helped me perceive the world itself. I hope I will be able to use this knowledge to develop in my personal and professional life.

I have left my comfort zone.

Thailand is completely different from Poland in many aspects. People, culture, weather, food, nature, even traffic is different. It was quite hard to get used to all these changes. Some of them were pleasant and you can adjust to it very quickly, others were a bit harder. I was in a completely new environment with different responsibilities. Since I was the one who was responsible for the whole entertaiment I took a lot of pressure. I didn’t want to disappoint our boss, who put trust in me. The first month was a bit hard for me, but with time I realized that everything was going well, and I could chill out.

I try to keep up to date with technology. But I had a feeling that I was a bit lazy with soft skills lately. I realized that, and I have used time in Thailand to invest in my personal growth. Thai people are very friendly, even if their English skills are not so good and the North of Thailand is not so crowded with tourists like Bangkok and nearby islands. So, many times people approach you to talk, they are curious where are you from and what you are doing there. I had a lot of opportunities to improve my English. It was the first time for me- to learn and understand how small talk works, since it is not so popular in Poland. With time, I felt confident enough to approach others myself. I do believe that right now it is easier for me to talk with complete strangers about anything.

In Thailand, there is no better way to move around than on a motorbike. So I have learned how to ride and how not to die in the jungle of scooters, which are everywhere. Quite a few people fell in love with it and after going back to Poland they obtained a driver license for a motorbike. I think I will do the same. I started to read books about interpersonal communication. It helped me understand how many mistakes I made. Now, I’m trying to introduce new knowledge to my life. The first step is to work on my attitude, so keep checking me!

Oh, and I have learned how to swim! Yes, swim. Since we had a pool in our house, I could not miss that opportunity to get rid of this embarrassing fact, that I could not swim. Another success!

A big win for the Appunite.

We see a lot of profit from organizing workation. The people that went to Thailand speak about it in superlatives. There is no better proof for that than listen what they saying about it.

A big win for me.

Maybe it was the culture, maybe the people with whom I spent last 5 months with or maybe the time that I took to chill out, but definitely I can say that this trip affected me in a positive way. I am less stressed now. I have changed my priorities. I have different goals. I think I can even risk to say that I am happier now.

One more thing.

Yes, we are doing this again! We didn’t choose the place yet but the decision has been made and we are starting to prepare a plan for the next workation.

So what are you waiting for? Join us! Let’s meet during the next AppUnite Workation.

Building Tech Products @ Appunite. Poznań, Poland.