July 13, 2021

Working Remotely in Reykjavík

(I’ll preface this by saying that my family members and I are newbies to Iceland. If you’ve got better options or alternatives to what I mention here, I’m all ears.)

As part of our family’s transition to Iceland, I’ve been attempting to cobble together a home office set up that will allow me to work remotely, aka telecommute, for my job back in the States.

Plus, since I deal with (sometimes near-crippling) sciatic pain, there was an additional task of finding something that would allow me to both sit or stand throughout the day.

The first couple of weeks we were here, I was working from the kitchen table and that sciatic pain was flaring up just in that short amount of time. Luckily, Heather was on board with investing a little bit of money into something that wasn’t quite so, well, back-breaking.

An IKEA for desks… and everything.

First of all, how have I ever lived these 40 grueling years without an IKEA in my life? It’s a wonderland for someone like me — and, well, for anyone who likes quality products at affordable prices.

And, on that note, having an IKEA is incredibly convenient given how comparably expensive just about everything is in Iceland — especially when compared to life in the United States of Wal-Mart and Target America.

Obviously we didn’t pack up a desk and chair when we made our way out here so I was able to find a manual (hand crank vs. electric) standing desk and a comfortable, adjustable stool for an affordable price. These were about $275 and $90, respectively.

Note for when/if you go this route: the adjustable frame is purchased separately from the table top — but the price I just mentioned was for both. Note, part two: the product description when visiting the page on the Icelandic IKEA site translates into English as “electric desk.” It’s not electric.

In Iceland, finding a quality and flexible home office setup for less than $400 (roughly 40,000 Icelandic krónur) is a steal.

An alternative is the electric standing desk that Costco has been offering for a while. You should be able to find it in most stores — including the one in Reykjavík. And, yes, there’s a Costco right across from the IKEA here. Granted, a trip to this wonderland of shopping equates to about 2 hours of transit to and from the apartment but it’s been worth it.

My standing desk setup in my home office consists of an IKEA standing desk frame, table top, MacBook, a stand for it, as well as an external monitor, keyboard, and mouse.
Don’t judge my cable management. It’s not a long-term solution.

Wi-Fi at the usual spots.

If you’re needing a place to connect, Te & Kaffi is Iceland’s version of Starbucks — there’s three different stores within a half-mile of our apartment close to the Reykjavik Public Plaza, Ingólfstorg) — and, like Starbucks, Te & Kaffi offers free Wi-Fi to its patrons.

The Reykjavík City Library close to downtown (and other branches, presumably) also offers Wi-Fi. This branch also offers various “maker spaces” — including a studio for recording podcasts, etc. — available for reservation to those with a Kennitala (ID). How cool is that?

And, if all else fails, there’s Wi-Fi available at most restaurants and on pretty much every Stræto bus — but I wouldn’t count on the latter for anything mission-critical.

Bottom line.

The bottom line is that if you’re venturing to Iceland for a while and plan on working from wherever you’re staying, you’ve got some options.

Are you already working remotely in Iceland? If so, comment and post your setup. (I’m a big fan of r/workspaces.)

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