Remote Location


I work with a company that I like…a lot! Especially when compared to some of the previous places I’ve worked at. So leaving this company is not really something I’m too anxious to do.


Though I have lived in my area for about ten years, I am not from this town originally. A recent trip home has made me realize that I want to be back in the same area as my family and the city I am from (Kansas City).


I have decided to have a chat with my boss (the owner of the company) and see if we can’t work out something where I can still be the rock star designer that I have been, but just do it from KC instead of Milwaukee. One thing that I can see going in my favor is that we recently relocated a sales guy from this office to the KC area (he was also from there and wanted to be back in the area). So there would be two of us there.


Does anyone have any thoughts on being a designer working from an outside office? Can it work? Are there any tricks / tips to help ease the transition?

I think you can do it, especially if you were a good, self-motivated type (the type that doesn’t need a drill seargent telling them what to do). Get a good high speed internet connection, make sure you’re close enough to a fedex location, cell phone and you’re good. The way things are today, you can fax and email sketches + correspondance quickly. The only thing you’re missing by not being there physically would be actual building facilities, touching models, swatchbooks, etc. As long as you keep the communication hassle free by being accessible, it’s not much different than you working on the far side of the office where you’d call and email instead of running up and down stairs, then just meeting face to face during big meetings, show + tells, etc. Good luck. I hope it works out well.

I think it may also work to my advantage that I am not looking to do this immediately. I’d ideally have it work out for me to relocate before May 1st of next year. I’m hoping that kind of lead time will make the boss-man more willing to mull it over, and give me more time to lobby…

But it is important that I discuss this with him sooner than later. Would you, the throbbing brain that is the Core77 forums, agree? If not, why?

If you have the right computer, software, etc and can do the work from home then there really isn’t any reason why you can’t do it.

When I left my last job there were a lot of projects that needed to be wrapped up and I agreed to help take care of things. They set up a VPN for me to access the company servers, ftp access to the company website, and the boss even offered to pick up part of my high speed internet costs.

It worked out pretty well. If I needed anything I called them through their 1-800 line or we would do instant messenger sessions. Then I produced the work and sent it over.

Once that was done we kept everything open in case they needed me on small freelance gigs and if the situation called for it I would drive up or fly in to visit the office.

I think you can get flights from KC to Milwaukee through Midwest Airlines at a decent price, and they serve warm chocolate chip cookies.

…i’ve worked as a virtual independent designer for 5 years and for people i have never met …however, even a rock-star staff designer (such as yourself) is going to need a value proposition of some kind (money, time, etc) to make something like this fly…i am sure that the sales guy had one…my hometown is lawrence, ks and i can relate to your desires but i will hold off for another 15 years or so…good luck and let us know how things worked out for you.


I don’t know if there is any value for him in this proposal. It will mean a bit more work in communicating and probaly some higher phone bills etc. But I see it this way:

They basically have me tucked away in a corner of the office anyway, I don’t go to many meetings and I don’t have a lot of work-related interactions with the folks in the office. So for all intents and purposes, I could very well do what I do from any location.

The second thing is that this is a very young, smnall company and I am the first and only Industrial Designer they’ve ever hired. And I know for a fact that they are loving the job I am doing. So this move would be mainly a move to make me a happy camper. If they don’t let me relocate, I’m gonna figure something else out. One way or another, I’m going to be moving to KC. They can either accomodate, or find a new guy when the time comes.

I really don’t intend or want to throw down an ultimatum, but it is still one that I am operating under. I would think that it is only fair to let him know what is going on.


Midwest Airlines is the bomb- unfortunately the chocolate chip cookies are hit and miss. Over the past few years, they’ve scaled back on some of the perks that made them so sweet.


I did exactly what you are proposing. My family hated living in NJ (too expensive) so I told my company I wanted to migrate back to the midwest - with or without them. We had a very good conversation about the pros and cons. I was open to different midwest cites, so we choose Minneapolis so I could work with our Target buyers more easily. That makes my circumstances slightly different than yours because I was pulling double duty. Both design and sales in the new city. So far it’s worked out great. I sold over $5 million worth of our products to Target last year and have earned my keep here in our new city. We love Minneapolis and don’t plan to leave any time soon.

A few thoughts for you:

  • Make sure your boss doesn’t feel like he’s getting a “no-option option”. Even though it may sound like an ultimatum, you need to soften it so he’s not backed into a corner.
  • Make sure you aren’t replaceable. There may be easier and cheaper options for your company. I was pretty entrenched when my company moved me.
  • Technology makes it very simple to communicate from a home office. We use Skype video conferencing (free) like an intercom system between our very decentralized product developmemt team. It works great. It’s like we’re all sitting next to each other.
  • Your productivity will go up exponentially once you get out of an office environment. Less meetings - more deliverables. Once your office is in your house it becomes tough to separate work and home life. Keep a balance!!

Good luck.