Guide to Relocating for Work
You might be thinking about relocation for a number of reasons. Your priorities may include moving to find new and better work opportunities, your current employer may be asking you to relocate, or you might be moving for other reasons and now need to find a new role. Whichever reason it may be, it can be a difficult journey, but one many other people are going through. This guide is here to talk you through the different steps you may encounter when relocating for work. There’s a lot to consider, so start to weigh up the pros and cons and go from there.
Relocation isn’t always just about you. You need to think about whether it is a viable option for you and your family. Everyone’s situation is going to be different, so it’s important to know that there isn’t one specific way you should go about this. We are all on our own career journey, so look to others for advice if you need it but try not to compare your journey to theirs.
A new job or a new home? Which one are you prioritising and why? There are usually 2 different reasons for relocation, finding a new job or being offered a new role for your current employer and moving home for other reasons, meaning you have to relocate from where you are now. Both require some time for thought and equal amounts of research.
If you’re looking specifically for a new role, relocating can open up your options. It doesn’t limit you to one place and you can really take the time to find something that can offer you everything you need in a job. Whether that be salary or other necessities, looking somewhere new can help you solve any job seeking issues you may have been having.
When you start job seeking, it’s normal to start looking for jobs near where you are now. Whether it be hybrid working or a manageable commute, it can still restrict you to the confinements of a certain area. So, if your job is your biggest priority and you’re happy to make changes for a new role, expanding your horizons and relocating might just be a good option for you.
However, there are other reasons you might be thinking about relocation. Your current employer may have asked you to change role or offered you a promotion that is either somewhere else in the country or abroad. This obviously takes time to agree to but is another reason to relocate.
Then there is finding a new role to match your new home. There is many a reason that someone may decide to move and with a big move comes a new job. If your employer isn’t happy with working from home or it just isn’t possible, then your job may be something you’ll have to give up. The ideas behind relocation are the same whichever situation you find yourself in. Take time to think about the decision and reflect on how this change can positively affect your career.
Just like you would visit a new home before you buy it, you should visit your possible place of work before you agree to anything. Your job is important to you and can help career progression, but you want to ensure that you are moving somewhere you like. Work is important but it’s not everything.
Visit the town, ask to come and see the workspace before agreeing to any form of employment and more importantly get to know the place a little better. What’s around that area? Is there an easy way of commuting, is the surrounding area safe and if it applies to you, is it a family friendly area? These are all important questions you should be asking yourself and the people in your life. Afterall, a big change like this won’t only affect you.
You don’t want to find yourself making a big life change and regretting your choices later down the line. Yes, things can be changed, but you won’t be able to reverse it. Money and time gets invested into relocations, so really take the time you think you need.
One of the perks of visiting a new place before you agree to anything is a chance to see how things run there. How is the public transport and what would your route be into work every day? Things that you may not initially think are important to your decision but can impact your everyday life.
First thing to think about may be how far the new place is from where you currently live? Is it something that needs a full relocation or are you happy to commute in and out of work every day? For example, you might think an hour and a half commute there and back is better than you had before, or you might be happy to catch the train and do a bit of hybrid working. But you need to do what is best for you, not what someone else suggests. We have all got used to a working environment that doesn’t always need a commute, so if you don’t want to give that up, then moving might be the right option.
However, also think about how to commute will be from where you will move to. Your new home may not seem far from the new place of work, but we all know how public transport can be sometimes. If you’re not driving or cycling, a 20-minute journey can be turned into an hour journey by train if you don’t have access to the right connections. Look into things like this and even do a test commute to see if it’s something you can handle every single day.
As mentioned above, getting to grips with the new local transport is a must before accepting any role. The availability of trains and busses etc. can have a bigger effect on your day than you may initially think. It might be a good idea to test out the route to work a few times before your first day in the office / workspace. This ensures that you know the usual time that the train / bus arrives and roughly how long it takes to get there.
It also gives you a good idea of what rush hour might look and feel like and can allow you to ‘pencil in’ traffic and other issues that may potentially slow down your commute. There’s nothing worse than being late to work on your first day and testing the waters before then can really help you feel more comfortable.
Of course, you can never really get a full understanding of what might happen on any given day, but if something does go wrong and you need to find an alternate travel route, you know your way around and this can be resolved in a quicker and more relaxed way. It always makes me feel better knowing that I have a back-up route to work. Don’t leave this until your first day in a new job, especially in a new area.
This might seem like an obvious point to make, but only make relocation arrangements when everything is set in stone. Ensure you have discussed start dates, timings and notice periods before you begin to make big life changes. Although obvious, there can be things that get in the way or change before you sign a contract. If you are relocating, most employers will be understanding about the extra time this takes. They need to take into consideration that you need to find a home, take the time to move in and also work the notice you have in your current job. Things like this can take a lot of time but are worth it in the long run.
If you’re in the situation where your current employer is asking you to relocate, then they should provide you with the specific arrangements. Are they finding you accommodation or is this something you have to do yourself? Are they going to fund the move or again, is this coming out of your pocket? The financial side of relocation can also take some time to iron out, so don’t be surprised if things get put on hold until this is resolved.
Ensure that it’s what you want. Whether you are paying your way, or your employer has offered, when large sums of money get invested into something like this, it can be hard to turn back. Take the time to think, plan and organise thoroughly to ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible.
One of the main things to consider is the long-term effects of a relocation. You have to think about yourself, what you want from a job and more importantly, your home. It’s important to consider how this will affect you, but what about the other people in your life? Are you in a committed relationship? – If so, how will this affect them? Will they be able to leave their job and find a new one, are they happy to move and is this change going to fit in with your overall lifestyle?
There are so many different questions and things to consider, this will be different for everyone. But a relocation might be good for you and your career, but do you want to sacrifice the other things you have in your current life. You might have kids that are happy in their current school, family that you care for outside of work and a massive change will affect this drastically.
There are ways around this, but it’s your choice and life change. It’s important to include the people around you in this choice and is always a good idea to check in with friends and family before you make any firm decisions.
A good way to do this is make a list, weigh up the pros and cons and go from there. Does the good outweigh the bad?
Another big question to ask yourself is why. Why are you doing this and what are you going to get from it?
There a so many reasons as to why someone would relocate for a job and just a few might include:
- Salary increase
- Career growth
- A new place to live
- Paid accommodation
- Many other company wide incentives!
That is just a short list of reasons why relocation might be a good idea for you. You have to factor in the other elements of your life and see if it’s a good fit for you. Ultimately, once you have answered the ‘why’ it will be much easier to move onto the ‘how’ and start making changes to get ready for this big step in your career and life.
It’s important to consider all of your options, it’s never just a simple yes or no and taking the right amount of time is key. Employers would never usually rush your decision, but if you are set on moving for a new opportunity, then sign the papers or start your job search!
Remember though, nothing is permanent. You might be asked to work in a different office for a set amount of time, asked to travel for work or even try out part-time work in a new city to test the waters. There is more than one way of doing this and you can always change your mind if it’s all moving a little bit too fast.