How to Settle Into a New Location as a Remote Professional

My question is how can I meet other people who work from home? I recently moved to Pittsburgh, PA. Typically in an office setting you work alongside people in your field allowing you to talk about side projects, the latest innovations or even stuff like book recommendations. This is difficult to translate to the home office. I’ve thought about renting workspace in a co-work space or working in public but this will take me out of my home studio where I need to be to complete hands-on project work. Being a part of something is intrinsically human – working from home, you lose some of this. Do you have suggestions for filling the void?  – Signed Loving Pittsburgh

Hi Loving Pittsburgh,

We’re so glad you love your new home! Pittsburgh is such a cool place with so many fun things happening these days. Glad to hear you are settling in J Starting in a new place is always a little tough and it can be awkward, but some of our suggestions may help you to learn your new neighborhood as well as address your question about remote work. These techniques will also help you build networks that will open up things in all sorts of ways.

Working from home is definitely different than office life but there are lots of ways to connect thanks to cool technology and big, big communities of remote workers to connect to if you are motivated. Let’s be clear when you work from home, you have to take the initiative to build your networks differently. This is tied to something larger than remote work – whether you work in an office, move to a new place or start a new job; you are the “new” kid on the block and that’s awkward.

Do the work to build a new network. When you are a remote professional, it can be even more awkward because of your situation. That’s why it’s even more imperative that you build networking and “touch points” into your schedule so you get the contact you need AND you develop a network both local and virtual that is there for you when you need them. So where do you start? Happily technology helps in many ways. Finding local stuff has never been easier when you use tools like Event Brite to check out all the events current scheduled in your new home town. We did this for you to get you started:–pittsburgh/events/  – check it out (there are at least 5 or 6 things we’d love to go to ourselves!). Granted this is a big long list and there are many things there that might not directly pertain to you and your work, but we see this as a plus.

Try new things just because you can. Initially, when you get to a new place, you need to do the groundwork to identify what is useful and what is not. We recommend keeping an open mind and trying a bunch of different things to see what’s right for you. A new place is a great place to be someone else as there are no expectations. No one knows you yet and no one is waiting for you to arrive. It’s up to you to make the first move and put yourself out there.

Embrace your “new person” status. Luckily, as the “new” person, you have a great opening line – “I just moved to the area – do you have any recommendations for ______?” Use your active listening skills and help folks talk with you by asking good questions and letting them tell you stuff. People love to talk about themselves and they love to give recommendations. Don’t be surprised if they invite you to stuff. Say “yes” and try it out.

Lead with a positive attitude. People like hanging with folks that are smiling and fun. Let people know how excited you are to be in your new home. How you can’t wait to really get to know the neighborhood. While no one is waiting for you to arrive, you can certainly cultivate a happy vibe that people are sorry to see go.

Volunteer for stuff. People with kids get volunteered for stuff all the time. Meeting people comes naturally with being a parent meeting other parents. If you are single or a young couple, then you have to be more creative. Volunteer in your local community doing something you think is meaningful. Every non-profit organization needs folks to do stuff.

Not everything you try will be a win. But with every step, you learn more, meet more folks and before you know it, you’ll forget that you are the new kid on the block. Put yourself out there and see what happens and let us know how it goes!

Photo by William Daigneault