Recently I had the lovely opportunity to work remotely from Prague for just over a week.
I work full-time with Buffer, a 100 percent distributed company and this was my first time traveling and working remotely full-time. I've worked as a freelancer before, but I was so flexible with my schedule I would say I worked closer to 25-30 hours a week, and I didn't have a team of people to be accountable to. Needless to say it made this trip a little different. I was keen to keep a regular work schedule and have reliable access to Slack and email at all times.
At the same time, I couldn't wait to see Prague and work remotely from coffee shops around the city. I was fortunate enough to be shown around by my best friend (Martina) a Czech-Canadian, so she quickly filled me in on a lot of the local etiquette and tricks. I wanted to combine her advice on etiquette combined with my experience working remotely there for the first time.
When Walking Into a Cafe
This one goes for more than just remote work, but when in the Czech Republic, it's custom to say Dobrý den (Good day) when you walk into a cafe or restaurant. At first, I was a little skeptical about calling out when I walked into a store, but soon it felt natural and wonderful.
If you're heading into a cafe to work for the day, remember to say Dobrý den as you walk in.
Working From a Cafe for the Day
There are so many lovely cafes in Prague, and most of them seem to have free wifi! The best part is that the Czech pastries are incredible so if you're looking for a great treats, you're in the right city.
Two cafes I totally adored were Globe Cafe and Misto.
Both of these cafes are non-smoking, however if you pop into others be mindful of "smoking" and "non-smoking" sections. Everyone has their preference, I was partial to the "non-smoking" areas, but they crowd up quite quickly. (Note: This isn't just cafes, watch for non-smoking sections at bars and restaurants as well.)
One piece of etiquette that was brought to my attention is that it's unusual to take calls in cafes. Most people will be having a quiet meal or coffee so they might not appreciate the loud talking. I avoided taking calls in cafes as much as possible and instead made sure to have reliable wifi at my Airbnb so I could take calls there and be as loud as necessary.
Settling up and Taking off
Once you're done working for the day and ready to pay, there's another piece of Czech etiquette to keep in mind. Generally in the Czech Republic you don't hand cash directly to another person. You put it on the counter in front of you, and they'll do the same with your change.
This one took me a few days but once I caught on I could tell people appreciated it. There are also sometimes plastic plates to make placing money down on the table more easy.
Balancing Working, Exploring and Taking Calls
Since I was in Europe and a lot of my colleagues are in North America, I was able to take most of my calls in the afternoon and head back to an Airbnb for then. Which meant that the morning and afternoon were prime time for exploring and working from different cafes.
Here's one of the ways I structured my days that worked out really well for me:
- Walk to a nice cafe in another part of town (Exercise + Exploring)
- Hang there for awhile
- Walk to a lunch spot (more exploring and exercise)
- Walk back to the Airbnb / Hostel for Wifi
- Take calls in the reliable Wifi
- Head out after all my calls for dinner and more exploring (without the laptop this time)
This flow also worked really well for me in Vienna, where I even took really long afternoon walks to do a bit more exploring. There are so many incredible sights and parks in Prague that it won't be hard to find a nice place to walk to in the afternoon!
And that's it! Have fun running around Prague and working, I know I sure did!