Monday, October 18, 2010

Same Company, Different Enviroment: Culture Shock?

Most of my career, to date I should add, has been spent as a remote employee. This is my fourth week officially working in my company’s headquarters in Toronto. Though I have worked for the same company for 10 years, it is amazing the culture shock that comes with moving from a home office to a head office. Just getting up in the morning, getting dressed, hair done, packing a lunch, commuting into the office, working with people walking by your desk, the sheer volume of meetings … and the list goes on. I am very lucky that I have friends at work who have gone through the same thing and can provide a sounding board on how to adjust.

Here’s what I have learned moving from a home office to headquarters:

Learning #1: My time is more stretched now in head office due to more in person meetings. While working remotely I was better able to multitask while on conference calls to accomplish more things on my plate. Was this good or bad? Jury’s still out on this one.

Learning #2: Due to time differences, I used to end my day with 2 full hours without emails/meetings/phone calls. This was a great way to wrap up my day making check marks on my ‘to do’ list. Now I am working on the same time zone as the majority of my colleagues. How am I adjusting?  I am working on better delegating and distributing workloads within my team. I am blocking time in my calendar for getting projects done. I am also being more critical of my attendance in meetings to ensure that I absolutely need to be there or determine if someone else could attend.

Learning #3: Building relationships is much better in person than on the phone. Those little drop by’s about a project or an update allow me to be a stronger manager in knowing the little wins & challenges my team face on a daily basis. I love this part of my changing environment! When working remotely, I tried to meet a colleague for a coffee/lunch every few weeks to stay in touch with the team, get out of the office & get some “water cooler time” – it was something I actually had to schedule in. I love that this happens now as a part of my daily routine without even trying.

Only a few weeks in, so these are just a few of my learnings… more to come about onboarding an employee moving office locations and creating engagement with remote employees. 

I would love to get your thoughts: has anyone else made this change or gone from a headquarters to a remote home office? What were your learnings, challenges, frustrating, wins & tips?


  1. Chelsea,

    For years, people have been writing and talking about how to be productive when working remotely. It's refreshing to hear your perspective and advice on going from home office to head office!

    - Kendra

  2. Thanks for the note Kendra. I have found it so interesting making the reverse shift. I think it takes a certain person to work from home & be productive and I think I really had it down to a science. Making the transition into working in the office has been a real adjustment! More tips to come so stay posted. Thanks for reading!