I’ve just spent 2 months living in New York. Here’s what I learned.

New York bull

I’ve spent the past 2 months working from New York. Here’s what I learned….

>I rented access to a coworking space, and I’m very glad I did. It was great to be around people, and get to know a few. Our goal was to experience living in New York, and had we worked out of our apartment the whole time, the experience would have been significantly lessened.

>Work out when your 8 hours of sleep is going to be and get into that routine as soon as you can to defeat jet lag and get productive asap. For most of this trip it was 1am – 9am for me, to work in with Australian business hours.

>The technology piece was fine, and a VPN proved unnecessary (in fact it caused headaches).

>There was usually a very slight lag during Teams meetings with clients, which meant we sometimes talked over one another. I got better at working with it as I went along.

>Baseball at Yankee Stadium is a tonne of fun when the Yankees win!

>Do some small group tours early to quickly get up to speed with your local area. We did a hidden bar tour and a music history tour. Learned heaps, got great local tips from the guides at the end, and one couple we met invited us out for lunch the following week to their favourite local restaurant, which was great fun.

>My team were fantastic in my absence. It pays to have and invest in great quality people and robust systems.

>We held our normal morning team catch-ups via Teams. In that sense my remote working didn’t disrupt the normal business cadence, other than that I wasn’t at the Monday meeting as it was still Sunday in NY, and our weekends were for exploring the city. (No point living in another city if all you do is work!)

>Despite these daily interactions, I did feel somewhat disconnected from the team, isolated, compared to when we are normally all in one office. The little conversations had during the working day when in a physical space together are not superfluous. Not a reason to prevent further similar adventures, but worth acknowledging.

>Which leads on to what I found to be the biggest challenge, the time zone difference. I worked from early afternoon NY time until around 10pm, which meant I covered the morning in Melbourne/Sydney. But morning meetings don’t suit everyone.

>Working remotely from the other side of the world is doable if your role is one where remote work is viable. It is certainly a great way to experience a city. All the best things we experienced were tips we got from locals that we befriended, connections we likely wouldn’t have made on a traditional holiday.

>It’s worth also noting that visa wise, 2 months was fine, and that looks to be the case everywhere I’ve looked. But much longer and it would be quite difficult in many countries.  Certainly the US.

Working from another city for 2 months is something my wife and I plan to do annually for the foreseeable future. Next year will be Lille in northern France. If you’ve done something similar, I’d love to hear your learnings.

And if something along these lines is on your agenda, reach out if I can help in any way.