Brian Bailey

June 2, 2022

New Job, Same Desk

One twist of remote work is that when you get a new job, you don't get a new office. I started at 37signals last month. We make Basecamp and HEY (and HEY World!) The company is fully distributed, with employees around the world. I’m working on product strategy from my home office in Austin.

Which happens to be the same home office I worked from at my last job—same desk, chair, view, artwork, even parking space.  

Our brains rely on cues from the environment to shift our perspective. A coffee shop sparks creativity and connection, a high-quality restaurant suggests slowing down and savoring, and a hotel invites you to step out of your normal routine.

Walking into a new building on your first day is an unmistakable signal to start again. As you navigate to your desk, meet coworkers, and try a nearby food truck, you turn the page to a new chapter.

When your office is your home, the signals are murky. You know things are different, but the only changes are the faces on the screen. The desk for your onboarding call is where you sat when you announced that you were leaving. 

If you're switching from one remote job to another, look for ways to sharpen the line between old and new. Many companies provide funds for your home office. If you already have a desk and chair you love, see if you can use the funds for artwork, a rug, better lighting, or even a fresh coat of paint. 

Another option is to shift your habits. Head to a coffee shop, library, or coworking space a few times a week, workout at a new time, or try a different breakfast routine.

The transition is short regardless. New memories and connections quickly fill your mind and the past recedes. But be intentional about marking the transition to a new job. It's a big change and altering your surroundings is one way to highlight, and celebrate, a fresh start.