Rolling remote with Leilani Franklin-Apted

Leilani is the head of experience at Unsettled, an organization that runs coworking and coliving retreats all over the world. She works with the team of trip leaders to design what living Unsettled looks like. Bangkok is her home base, but pops in on retreats around the world to live, work, and adventure with the Unsettled community.

“Everyone brings their whole lives on the road and this means that my environment can be highly social even though the people around me are not my work colleagues,” explains Leilani. “I love the diversity and companionship while still getting all the autonomy of working remotely on my projects!”

Breakfast to fuel Leilani’s work day | Submitted by Leilani Franklin-Apted

Quick-fire profile

How many years have you worked remotely? 4 years

Where are you based? Bangkok is home, Mexico City is my current base, and on the road living Unsettled is my norm! (This year has had me on retreats in Nicaragua, Peru, Mexico City, Barcelona, Marrakech, Tuscany, and Ireland with side trips to Thailand, New York, Madrid, and Beirut…just to name a few!)

Where do you spend most of your remote work hours? It depends on where I am! Learning to work at home took some time, but now it feels natural. On the road I love a good coworking spot or coffee shop to (un)settle into. Favorites include Outpost in Bali (they have a great set-up, delicious smoothie bowls, and sunset views) and Tierra Garat in the Roma district of Mexico City (fantastic hours and an amazing tea selection).

Are you most productive in the morning or at night? Night owl

Coffee or tea? Anything other than coffee–fresh coconut? Green juice?

A gathering of the Unsettled crew | Submitted by Leilani Franklin-Apted

Leilani’s workspace setup

What type of desk do you use?

Whatever’s in my local coworking or coffee shop… or whatever I can get my hands on… Moroccan rooftop bed with a view? Yes, please!

What type of chair do you use while at work?

Whatever seat and or surface that is available–never underestimate the value of a good floor or edge of the bed work session!

What features do you like most about your work space? 

One of the best features of my work space is that it is super portable (I love being able to make a pop-up work space anywhere I go) and having a ton of variety in my work setting! From getting to enjoy new views and trying new tasty treats, to different decor, music, and company…every new spot means new features to try and enjoy!

Do you share your work space with anyone? Tell us about them!

I get to share my physical workspaces with the incredible Unsettled participants and my digital workspaces with our global Unsettled team! (Our team meetings look like Google Hangouts on crack!)

Remote work pros and cons: Leilani’s take

What are the biggest pros and cons of remote work for you?

Pros: Feeling like work is a choice rather than an obligation! Taking down the boundaries between work, life, and travel–feeling more like a whole human! Oh, and not having to wear pants if you don’t want to! #teamnopants

Cons: There is less face time with coworkers for sure–water cooler chit chat gets lost and the ability to go for a spontaneous work coffee. Working remote takes a lot of effort to stay connected, stay focused, and to remember to stay balanced and take time off!

I would also say something to keep in mind (not always a con, but takes energy for sure) is when you are mobile you have to constantly be deciding where to be, looking for a new work spot, recalculating time zones…these little things that eat into your decision-making energy! The things that are all decided for you in a more traditional work environment.

Weekly face time can be key in keeping remote teams working well together | Submitted by Leilani Franklin-Apted

Working remotely tips and tricks

What software technologies do you use on a regular basis?

Trello, Slack, GSuite, and Whatsapp, I would be lost without it!

What habit allows you to be more productive during the day?

  • Weekly meetings to stay connected with the team
  • Finding routines within new places–like a great spot to keep going back to
  • Taking some time away from working in busy environments if I really need to focus…quiet work time beyond headphones and chit chat can be wonderfully refreshing

What are the 3 items you can’t live without while working remotely? (If you have a brand you love, please name them!)

  1. An extra-long computer power adaptor cord and converter plug so I can reach even the furthest away plug in any spot I go!
  2. My mini black Anello backpack that magically can fit my giant laptop!
  3. My Everlast Rocketbook erasable notebook and Pilot Frixion Pen that have helped me go paper free this year!

Answers have been lightly edited and links were added.

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