As digital remains the foremost way to communicate these days, many companies are rethinking how they operate. Is it necessary to fill corporate offices with employees, or is it more effective to have people work from home? It’s a question businesses are pondering, with many already abandoning the brick and mortar for a spot in cyberspace. With more people working from home, the way we work is changing.
According to an article published in February of 2021 by Fidelity Investments, 70% of surveyed employers said they expect to downsize office space, and only about 9% of office workers reported that they wanted to go back to a full-time office setting after the pandemic.
This shift has left many former commuters and office workers rethinking their lifestyles. Long drives and cubicles have been replaced with short walks to home offices, and workers have more options for where to live than ever before. In fact, according to Forbes, one in five people surveyed cited “remote working” as the reason they moved in 2020.
Did you originally choose the big city life because that was required by your career, but you’re really longing to raise your family in the suburbs? Are you wishing you lived in a community that was a little more affordable — or maybe one with a totally different landscape? Whatever your reason is, if you’re now working remotely and have no plans to return to the office, relocating to a new city is certainly a very real possibility.
Turning those relocation dreams into reality, though, takes some deliberation and planning. Before you officially make the leap, take some time to consider these aspects.
Consider your company’s policies
Can I move if I work from home? If so, how far can I move?
If you are going to move to a new city and continue to work remotely for the same company, it’s best to have a discussion with your manager or HR representative before making your final decision.
Whether you’re moving a few cities over or moving out of state, make sure you understand your company’s policies and expectations. In these unprecedented times, businesses are adjusting their attitudes and expectations along with their rules about working from home. But you need to understand where there’s flexibility and what factors are non-negotiable.
For example, if you work for a company that is going to expect you to attend in-person meetings on a regular basis, that should be a deciding factor in how close you need to live to your employer.
Keep financial matters in mind
Will moving affect my taxes?
Count on it — at least to some extent. Real estate, local, income, sales, and estate taxes are all subject to change according to location.
In California and New Jersey, for example, state income taxes can be more than ten percent, while there are none in Texas, Nevada, Florida, Tennessee, and a few other states. Consider consulting a tax advisor or estate planner for advice on how your finances may be affected if you switch states.
If I work remotely, am I taxed in my resident state or my business’s state?
You may have to pay taxes in both the state you live in and in the state where your company is located. Again, it’s wise to consider consulting a tax advisor if you are planning on moving out of state.
Will my benefits change?
Check with your current benefit carriers to see if they have coverage and accessible providers in your potential new area. If you’re moving to a relatively close area, this may not be an issue, but a longer move could affect your options. You may need to change providers, which could be an additional expense.
And as for your retirement benefits, state and local laws governing 401(k) contributions can vary, so do some research to see how your retirement plan may be affected.
Likewise, some states set limits on the number of vacation hours you can carry over at the end of the year with their “use it or lose it policies,” while other states pay workers for unused leave upon retirement.
Make “multi-tasker” your new middle name
You’ve weighed the pros and cons, and now its all systems go! You’re officially moving! But, as many remote workers know, it can be tough to turn off work and focus on home, especially since everything is happening in one place. With some organization and a little delegation, though, you’ll be multi-tasking — and marking everything off your lists — in no time. Here are some tips for finding that work/move balance:
Keep a schedule and take productive breaks
Scheduling your day can help you stay on track to accomplish your work goals and manage planning your move while working from home.
Make sure to pencil in some break times. You can clean off a shelf or clean out a drawer or load your car with donations in small increments of time. In fact, consider keeping a running to-do list for your move so you don’t waste time trying to decide what to do during those break times.
If you have paid time off, plan to use some for packing and moving.
- Choose flexible moving solutions like portable moving containers to help work at your own pace and ease some of the stress. What’s better: casually loading a container in your driveway as you go through belongings or haphazardly piling boxes into a truck as you race against the rental-period clock?
- Label everything.
|Pro Tip: Sharpies fade, but labels are your friend. Consider investing in a label maker.|
- Start packing your least-used items first, and save the essentials for last.
- Declutter as you pack. Figure out what can easily be sold, donated, or just thrown away. Stay away from the “I’ll just throw it in a box and deal with it later” trap, though. Don’t you still have some of those boxes from your last move? Admit it — and throw those away while you’re at it.
- Some companies offer packing and unpacking services. Take advantage of them, if that means you can cut down on stress and save time.
Clean up before clearing out
"Clean while you pack" is the new “whistle while you work.” If you have friends or family who offer to help, this is the perfect task to delegate. In fact, consider hiring someone or even a cleaning service to help take some of the pressure off so you can focus more on getting to your new place and settling in.
Be mindful of self-care
Self-care is important for everyone, but it is crucial for someone trying to juggle the demands of working remotely while preparing for a move.
Make sure you take some time for yourself, even if it’s five minutes to make a cup of tea or take a brisk walk around the block.
Have lunch with a friend or treat yourself to a shopping trip and don’t feel guilty. When you work from home, you have to get out of it every once in a while to maintain balance and sanity.
Appreciate your ability to delegate
You may think you have to do it all yourself, but you really don’t. There are plenty of qualified helpers. Take advantage of the extra hands when you can.
Most of all, though, stay focused on the positive and keep the big picture in mind. The moving process is only a temporary — albeit overwhelming — process. This too shall pass, though. You’ll be gazing out at your spectacular new view and watering your gorgeous new plants before you know it.
Sure, moving households is a daunting task for even the most organized among us. But for remote workers, it presents a challenging opportunity to maximize one’s time management skills and patience. With some careful planning and a little bit of research, however, you can keep your work-from-home game on point while you prepare for this positive change.
LB Gabriel is a freelance writer and frequent PODS blog contributor. When she’s not on a deadline, you can find her on a tennis court or golf course.