Home office far from home

Home office far from home

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Corona has given many people the home office – and some have made a virtue of necessity and relocated their “home” to where it is most beautiful.

Erica Scouti lives in a beautiful apartment in the trendy Koukaki district of Athens. When she walks outside, she passes small cafes and shops and has a breathtaking view of the Acropolis. It’s not far to the beach by bike. The autumn sun is shining, the sky is clear at a mild 18 degrees.

In London, where Erica’s place of work is actually, it’s foggy at three degrees. She teaches art history at a London university. The lecturer was on vacation in Greece when her country locked down – and she decided to stay here. “At the end of September, I began to seriously wonder why I should return when the number of infections in England continues to rise but the government is not taking it seriously and the weather is also turning bad.”

More luxury for the same money

One month turned into two, and now Erica plans to stay in Greece until at least January. She can teach her students online from Athens without any problems. Both countries are in partial lockdown, so you have to network digitally with your friends and colleagues anyway. “So I can somehow still be in England, but at the same time enjoy the advantages here: the weather, the mentality and the smaller town. That makes my life very pleasant.”

In London, Erica lived in a house with five roommates. She is now paying the same price for her own apartment in the heart of Athens. Her British salary allows her to live comfortably in Greece. “You can definitely afford a better life here for the same money. And you don’t waste so much time and money on commuting because everything is easily accessible on foot. So far, there have been no difficulties for her. Only sometimes she misses British culture.

Surprised by lockdown, made the best of it

Jack and Emma were more or less taken by surprise. During a short trip to the Greek holiday island of Hydra, Greece suddenly canceled all flights to England – the couple got stuck. He is a researcher, she is a photographer. They could have come home via detours. But what for? Both worked from home in England. The idyllic landscape of Hydra seemed more appealing to them than a lockdown in Leeds, says Jack.”It didn’t look like there was much for me to do at home. I could do my work from here without any problems. And it’s nicer and warmer here.” The year taught them both to be flexible, adds Emma. “The crazy thing is that this year you had to get used to so many new things that this decision was easy for us in the end.” It is not unusual for a researcher to work anywhere in the world, says Jack. But without Corona, he would certainly not have landed on this lonely island.

Among writers and friendly locals

Emma would normally have had assignments in England too. With a laptop, hard drive and good Wi-Fi, however, it also copes well here. “To wake up and see blue skies in November is fantastic. I have the feeling that we have managed to make something good out of this crazy year and simply take away a positive experience,” she enthuses.

Word of the positive experiences of the Corona emigrants got around on the net, and so some of them have made their way to Greece with their mobile workplaces in recent weeks. The residents of Hydra are used to this: many writers spend the winter on the island. Strangers are welcomed in a friendly manner. Jack and Emma also find out that they are now paying local prices for their coffee. They have not yet made any return plans.


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Gordon Robinson

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