Virtual Robinson Crusoe

For those of you that missed it there was a great remote worker story in the papers over the weekend.

French businessman Gauthier Toulemonde wholeheartedly believed that “workers, given the right equipment, can labour more or less anywhere“, so headed off to a desert island to prove his point!

The Guardian writes:

It took six months to identify a suitable island, a 700-by-500-metre island in the Indonesian archipelago (the Indonesians made him promise not to reveal its exact location) 10,000 miles from Paris, and a few more months to prepare.

Deserted Beach Saona Island by Ian Bruce, Flickr

Deserted Beach Saona Island by Ian Bruce, Flickr

On 8 October, he left his home in Lille with four towel-sized solar panels, a windmill, a laptop computer, a tablet computer and two satellite phones. He was also carrying two tents to protect him, and the equipment from the humidity and the seasonal heavy rains.

He writes about his experiences in his blog (in French) Web Robinson.

The experience, on the whole, was a positive one though Toulemonde did live in fear of the electricity going off! He also had a lot of problem with the rats who co-inhabited the island (see this Daily News post which gives a slightly less positive spin on the venture.) He concluded that “it is indeed possible, though not necessarily desirable nor particularly cheap, to relocate staff “offshore“.

And after 40 days on his desert island his thoughts were that:

Life can get a bit dull without someone to say “bonjour” to every morning.

Doing everything virtually has its limits. Working from a distance is certainly doable, and with the internet and Skype you are never alone. But I’d say 40 days is about the limit.

But it’s not the same as physically meeting someone. Nothing can replace human contact.

Hmmmm, I think Ramblings of a Remote Worker came to that conclusion a long while back, but I still wouldn’t say no to a month on a sunny shore. 😉


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