I’d take a croc over a four-hour commute any day

Tailah Warr moved to Darwin this year, but stayed with her Melbourne-based agency. It turned out that saltwater crocs were less scary than her four-hour daily commute. And while she didn't expect such a remote set up to be possible, she now thinks all employees should have the opportunity to make a move without handing in their resignation.

I put my agency’s open-mindedness to the test earlier this year.

Despite having a flexible arrangement to work part-time from home, after spending two years commuting from Pakenham to inner-Melbourne, two short holidays to traffic-free Darwin was all it took to think ‘maybe I should move here’. And those who live in the outer suburbs will understand when I say the risk of saltwater crocodiles and monsoons is less frightening than the four-hour daily commute.

“I’d take a croc over a four-hour commute any day”

After making the decision to chase a warmer, more relaxed lifestyle, I sadly handed in my resignation and was prepared to begin the job search once up north.

However, telling my first client proved more difficult (and enlightening) than expected. Rather than accepting I was moving on, they observed that our orange logo would look great in a tropical office and encouraged me to continue working for the agency remotely.

The seed was planted, and soon my MD approached me with the offer of staying on remotely from a Darwin satellite office. I had never asked for such an arrangement, or expected it would be possible, but the more we talked about it, the more it made sense.

Working from home and having clients outside of suburban Melbourne meant I was already well-versed at the long-distance relationship. I could simply fly down from Darwin at least once a quarter to see all of my clients and have face-to-face time with the team.

We already had a range of flexible working arrangements in place, which paved the way for mine. Once flexibility is no longer feared, but embraced to retain good employees and support different lifestyles, the idea of remote working no longer seems like such a big deal.

And it’s not just freelancers who should have the freedom to move. Agencies and clients should be open to their employees’ sea or tree changes, just like mine were. After all, relaxed and happy employees are productive and creative employees.

It’s not worth losing top talent over where they decide to live.

For me, my remote set up hasn’t made a difference to our workflow. I currently work from my home in Darwin, with the intention to move into a hot desking or shared space in the near future.

I miss the on-tap, creative brainpower of an office, but this means I’m just more organised scheduling phone brainstorms and catch ups – so I still feel connected to my Melbourne colleagues (if only they’d leave me off group emails about free desserts in the kitchen).

As for my lifestyle change, it’s been fantastic. Housing is affordable, the people are carefree, and the natural beauty is incredible.

Working remotely certainly isn’t for everyone. I’d recommend that anyone considering the same move trials working from home first. It requires a lot of discipline and comes with the inevitable challenges of loneliness and boredom – not being able to join the watercooler chat or office footy banter.

The only local custom my team asks I don’t adhere to is the laidback NT motto: Not today, not tomorrow, not Tuesday, not Thursday. Still, it’s best to ask me to do something on a Wednesday, just in case…

Tailah Warr is a Darwin-based senior account manager at Melbourne-based agency Communicado Marketing Communications


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.