A bi-coastal work-life dynamic is not for everyone, but here are ten lessons for an incredible experience.
For the latter half of 2016, I embraced the remote work experience, with much of that time as the single remote employee.
My wife and I lived in San Francisco for a few years, then decided to make a move back east to NYC this past summer. Albeit a bit biased, as a native New Yorker, I was excited to return. Hard to beat the bagels and pizza :)
With transition on many fronts – new city, new job for my wife, new apartment, etc. - I kept one constant. I stayed with my company. With our HQ in San Francisco, thus began a journey into a bi-coastal work/life dynamic.
Starting my career in the wild world of management consulting,
I was exposed to a few stints of the remote work dynamic. Having a couple different projects over my time where I was part of a distributed or remote team. But working on a remote team for an 8-12 week project is quite different than going full-time remote.
Nonetheless, I was ready to embrace the challenge and begin this adventure. And even after only six months, I have a lot of respect for people who have operated remotely long stints in their careers – and continued to progress and flourish in their trajectory.
It’s not easy!
So as 2016 came to a close, it felt like a good time to reflect on these ten key lessons I’ve learned in managing a bi-coastal work/life dynamic.
1. Don’t Be Shy When It Comes to Communication.
On the contrary, over communicate!
Be mindful and proactive when it comes to providing frequent updates. You may not be in the office, but you can still be an active voice in the company conversation.
2. Be Transparent about Activities.
Give your manager an easy way to see what projects and activities are in motion.
It might be as simple as a quick Google Sheet or using apps like Trello or Asana. But having a single source will help alleviate any uncertainty about where things stand, how your time is being spent or activities you’re working on with other teams.
3. Capitalize on Opportunities for Face Time When Possible.
Technology is very helpful when you’re bi-coastal, but nothing beats face time.
Talk with your leadership about expectations and figure out a travel cadence back to HQ that works for everyone.
4. Let Technology Be Your Friend.
Reality is you won’t be able to travel back all the time, but thankfully with apps like Zinc, Slack and
Hangouts there’s no shortage of ways to help you stay connected no matter what coast you’re on. Look for ways to mix in text, calls, screen shares and video chats throughout your work day.
5. Push for video when you can.
While it’s not quite the same as going for a coffee or walking meeting, it gets you a little closer. To start, look for ways to shift your 1-on-1s to video if you can.
Next- Bi-coastal work-life lessons 5 through 10
About the author
Dan heads up Market Engagement at Zinc, an enterprise startup transforming how we communicate in today's mobile workplace. Prior to Zinc, he spent four years at Deloitte as a strategy consultant where he helped clients in the public, private, and non-profit sectors transform their organizations through the use of digital technology. Dan graduated summa cum laude from Loyola University Maryland. Born and raised in New York, he recently returned and is now residing in Manhattan.Twitter LinkedIn