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Etienne Clergue has been able to move continent and still keep his job due to the flexible model operated by his employer. It’s a model that has won Mahon Digital Marketing the Workingmums.co.uk’s Top Employer Award for smaller SMEs.
He started working for Mahon Digital Marketing two years ago on a freelance basis, writing blog posts while he was working as an online marketing manager at Paypoint.net. He had met Mahon’s director Saija Mahon through her previous job and kept in touch after she left to set up Mahon Digital Marketing. Gradually his hours for Mahon have risen and he would like to eventually be full time for Mahon.
He knew when he started working for them that he was going to move to Thailand. Etienne’s wife is Thai. They met in the UK. “She had had enough of the UK weather and wanted to go home,” he says. He asked Saija if he might be able to do some freelance work from Thailand, but there was no guarantee that that work would be ongoing. He spoke no Thai and knew that would make it difficult to find a job in Thailand. “Knowing the UK market and working for UK companies was the easiest way for me to make the transition,” he says, adding that he did one day a week for Paypoint.net too.
He moved in January 2012. He has regular clients for Mahon and works on monthly contracts which are based on hours worked so he is not chained to his desk.
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Etienne works from home, which means he can see his new baby. He says: “In the UK it would have been very different as I would have had to commute to work. It would have been more stressful and I would have had less time with my daughter.”
Thailand is seven hours ahead of the UK so Etienne tries to keep any conference calls or Skype meetings for the morning UK time and checks his emails into the evening.
There are some adjustments he has had to make, such as not being able to meet clients face to face, but he says the advantages of how he is working far outweigh the disadvantages. He says: “It means I can basically work anywhere in the world as long as I have a computer and the internet.”