Remote control

We asked Philips expat partner Francesca Galloni to share her experiences of running a law firm in Tuscany, Italy from her home office in Eindhoven.

The new normal

“After we relocated in 2018, I used to travel back to Italy twice a month. Then the pandemic came along! But that actually made things easier for me in the long run. Clients, who previously expected to meet me face to face, all quickly got used to having an online consultation via Zoom or Google Meets,” says Francesca, a mother of two. “On the flip side, I miss going back to Italy regularly, as I get to see friends – and enjoy my mother’s cooking!”

Worth a shot

“In the beginning, I wasn’t sure if it would be possible to run a business in Italy from Eindhoven, but I decided it was worth a try! My husband and I really wanted our daughters (now 12 and 15 years old) to have an international experience, so I have no regrets. But, of course, there are pros and cons when it comes to my career…”

Unexpected benefits

“I definitely miss the social side of work – eating a long lunch with my staff; meeting up with clients or other lawyers for coffee in the afternoon, or a drink after leaving the office. But working at home with no distractions means I get much more done! In fact, I have actually taken on more clients and opened a second firm back in Italy. I never imagined that would be the case when we relocated!”

Local networks

“Sometimes other expat mums will invite me to attend an event during the daytime but I rarely can as I am too busy. But I have made friends with other mums, through my daughter’s school, and I know many other Italians living here, so I have plenty of opportunities to meet up with people for coffee or a meal, when I have free time,” says Francesca, who used to discuss consumer rights twice a month on RAI TV. “I’m still very active with consumer rights. Occasionally I will attend a conference in another European city which is a great way to meet new people and build my business in other EU countries. Of course, I still go back to Italy from time to time, usually during school holidays, and get to see clients face to face, meet old friends and enjoy my mother’s cooking!”

Photo: Francesca Galloni