All The Way From California To London And Cornwall: Caitlin Enjoys The Beautiful Beaches With A Little Bit Of City Life Thrown In.
1. Where are you from originally?
I grew up in San Diego California and went to university in Northern California at UC Davis. As a student I decided to study abroad in London and fell in love with both the city and a nice British boy. Upon graduation I moved back to London and settled here. As the British boy and I weren’t ready for marriage I exercised all visa options (holiday, student, partnership) and eventually settled 5 years later with a Indefinite Leave to Remain Visa based on partnership status. I married the British boy and have fully settled into my UK life, though I still miss San Diego, especially during the seemingly never-ending British winters.
2. Where do you live now?
Two years ago my husband had the opportunity to buy and set up his own restaurant The Watch House in St Mawes, Cornwall. I had been with my current company, Distilled for over 2 years and had a great relationship with the company founders so I put forward a plan for me working from Cornwall so we could make the move work. I was extremely fortunate that Distilled is very open minded and allowed us to give it a go. So we packed up and set up a new life in the small idyllic Cornish seaside. I now spend 3 weeks in Cornwall and 1 week in London every month. This is the perfect balance for me as I get the benefit of living in Cornwall but also get to touch bases with the London team.
3. What first attracted you to remote working? Was the change for work or for lifestyle?
Remote working was the only way we were able to make the move to Cornwall work. For me it meant I was in a position to support my husbands dream without giving up on a career that I’ve been working hard to build and a company I love working for.
We’ve set up a very nice office for me in our spare room. I do most of my work from here as its nice to have a work zone that I can shut myself into. It helps me stay on track and helps me get into the professional mindset I need to be in for the day. However I do sometimes need to get out and see people, so once a week I might drive into Truro or Falmouth and work from one of a few favourite spots there. The buzz of people around me and ready access to coffee creates a nice change of pace and needed injection of something different.
5. What do you do for a living? Do you attend meetings in person or online?
I am the Global Client Development Director for an online marketing agency. I look after a team that consists of people working in London, New York, and Seattle. This was part of the reason I thought working remotely would work well. As I was already managing two teams remotely, I knew I could make it work.
I tend to have most of my meetings online (video chat) or over the phone. However if there is a really big pitch for a new client I might fly up to London for the meeting. I try to visit the teams in the US at least once a year.
6. What is the internet connectivity like where you are? What software do you commonly use on day-to-day basis? What would be your top tip for online working?
We are really lucky in that our part of Cornwall has great internet access and speeds. They are also about to put in Super Fast Broadband as a part of the national roll out – so Internet isn’t really an issue. There are the occasional drops in service, but no more than you would get in London. One challenge I’ve had to face is actually a lack of Mobile signal which can be annoying and means I really need to be at my desk if I have an important phone call. But to date this isn’t really an issue.
Our company does a lot of cross office communication between the 3 offices, so we are pretty proficient at working outside a traditional office environment. We make the most of gmail, gchat, hangouts, and tools like Go To Meeting for international calls. Using these tools means I’m constantly connected to my teams. They know when I’m online and can chat to me instantly. I can also have quick “face to face” conversations with people from any of our teams whether they are in London or Seattle.
My biggest tip for someone working remotely is to make sure that you work very hard on your communication with the other people you are working with. Make sure you don’t just send e-mails. Pick up the phone, talk to people, stay connected.
7. Does your wage go further working remotely? What are the common cost savings you think remote workers enjoy? What do you save more of, time or money?
My wage does go a lot further in Cornwall. Where we live there is very little to spend money on and I tend to have all my coffee’s and lunch at home which has made a huge impact on my spending. Commuting is also a major saving as I walk across my hall to work. Cornwall is also a cheaper place to live than London, so you have savings everywhere from your rent to the cost of a drink at a bar.
8. Do you have children? If so, how did they adapt to you working from home/remotely?
I don’t yet, but I’m actually expecting my first child this summer. So maybe ask me in 9 months time when I start planning my return to work.
9. Do you find it harder to separate work from home?
It was a tough transition at first. I have a habit of overworking even in a normal office environment, so when I started working from home, it was very hard for me to define when the work day should end and I should make an effort to “have a life”. I also felt like I needed to prove myself to my company that I could make this work, so found myself over working most weeks. However, after a few months into it, I started to feel more confident in the situation and relaxed into a semi normal work schedule.
10. Is your life better than it was before? If so, how?
This is a very tough question. I love London and I really liked working in such a vibrant interesting city. However, I used to be a lot more stressed out and I’ve noticed a real change in my over all levels of health and calmness from moving to Cornwall. There is something about lunchtime walks on the beach with my dog that just does great things for happiness levels!
11. What are the best things about remote working? Has the move been good for the whole family?
I get to see my Husband a lot more than I would if he was working at a restaurant in London, so that is a huge contribute to happiness from our new lifestyle. While I do miss London sometimes, with a family on the way, I think Cornwall is the right place for us.
12. What are the most challenging things about remote working?
As I’m one of 2 people at Distilled who work remotely full time, it can be easy to feel like I am missing out on things that happen in the office. However, my company is so good at sharing things online via email and other online communities that I’ve managed to overcome this a bit.
I’ve also had to get very good at priority and time management, so I keep on track and stay focused on the right things. However, I have to say, being remote means there is no one else around to distract me – which actually lets me be a lot more productive.
13. Are you a remote worker for good? If so, why? If no , why not?
I think I’m an opportunity based remote worker. If I was given the budget to open an office in Cornwall I would do it in a second. I like working with other like minded people around me and being a part of a team. However, I think I would always want to work for a company where I had flexibility in my work. So for example while I may go back to an office job, I’d like the freedom to work from home or a coffee shop when I need to get my head down and get something out.
14. Any partings word to people thinking of remote working?
Remote working can be a great option for people who want to maintain their career but also want to live in a more remote place. However you have to make sure that you can be disciplined enough to work from home and that remote working suits your job responsibilities. I make sure that I NEVER turn on the TV during working hours, keep to a strict lunch schedule, and set my self daily goals which help keep me on track for the day.
Caitlin Krumdieck works for Distilled as a Global Client Development Director, responsible for client development and sales across UK and US Distilled Offices. Caitlin has over 10 years experience in Sales and Marketing roles and during her time at Distilled, has ensured aggressive y.o.y revenue growth for the past 4 years. She currently lives in Cornwall with her husband Will and when not at work can usually be found on the beach with her dog Tilly.