Konnect Agency has three offices spread across the country in New York, Austin, and Los Angeles, with a few remote colleagues spread in between. A few of our coworkers from our public relations agency have relocated from Los Angeles to New York City and Los Angeles to Austin for temporary work assignments within the last year. Recently, I was lucky enough to do this as well. In January, I packed up everything I owned, put it into storage or boxed it up to send, turned in my car lease (and apartment), and moved from LA to Austin.
Knowing I would be working in the Austin office for approximately 6 months, I recognized I had to implement some rules for myself to succeed in a remote office, after being in the headquarters for almost 2 years. Below are some tips to create an effective work relocation for both work and personal lives.
- Before you leave, have meetings with all of your team members to manage everyone’s expectations on communication, internal check-ins, work hours and availability, goals for the work relocation, and your role in the new office, etc.
- Purposely engage with your colleagues!
- I used to hate using the phone, but I’ve realized that it is a much-needed tool in PR and have come to not mind it. I try to call (instead of email, Quip, text, any form of writing communication) a few of my team members every day so I can hear their voice.
- It’s also a great idea to send articles, contacts, pitch ideas, etc. to your colleagues more than you did before. Just another great way to stay at the top of your coworkers’ minds and be present!
- Stay organized and schedule appropriately!
- I create to do lists not only to stay organized, but because I love checking things off and feeling a sense of accomplishment. I’ve realized I’ve become overly organized in my to-do lists in Austin and started adding more things (even if they are very simple tasks) on my to-do lists to ensure I don’t forget about them.
- Also, the way I schedule my day has changed. I’ve made it a point to do the most important things (like pitching clients) or tasks that require a lot of attention first during the day. Where before I used to send an email to my teams that I was going into a work bubble, putting these tasks first (before most of the LA office is in) allows me the quiet and uninterrupted time that I need to get these tasks done. I’ve found that they actually take less time now!
- Be overly timely on work!
- Having team members in three different time zones is hard, especially when everyone work hours are different. I’ve learned to get work done well in advance even more so than before, so all team members can adequately have time to review and add their input for documents.
- Make yourself an asset
- Since I relocated from our lifestyle PR agency headquarters, I tried to bring a bit of LA to Austin. We have celebrated Galentine’s Day together, had Happy Hours, and even simple outings such as picking lunch up together. We’ve also celebrated “national days of the year” like National Pizza Day and have implemented Taco Fridays!
- Beyond bonding socially together, I’ve tried to make the office more collaborative, offered my expertise, as well as having my coworkers unplug their headphones to talk in the afternoon about a project or task that needs advice.
- Create a must-do list and check off a few things every month.
- I have an ongoing list I started before I even relocated, and it is a growing list. Being able to explore a new city after 8 years in Los Angeles is a fun and exhilarating experience that allows me to have a new perspective. It’s also fun to get tips and suggestions from locals, since they know their city the best! I’ve added things that I never would have done in Los Angeles
- Join groups and find your niche.
- I immediately was introduced to a running club through a coworker and make it a point to go every week. I went from knowing only my coworker to having a great group of friends who I hang out with outside of run club.
- Other suggestions include sports leagues, alumni groups, MeetUp groups, etc.
- Create a sense of home.
- Even if you are in the apartment temporarily, decorate it with details to give it a homey feeling. You will feel like it is yours and adjust better rather than feeling like you are living in someone else’s home.
- Create a balance!
- For all the fun I’m having in my new city, I’ve made it a point to transition some of the things I did in Los Angeles to Austin. I love meal-prepping, working out, and creating “me time” to balance out all the social activities and exploring I’m doing.