Min Engels and Alex Christensen liked their jobs with Shakti Mats in Christchurch, but wanted to move to the North Island to be closer to friends and family.
They approached their boss about working remotely, and were pleasantly surprised by how open he was to the idea.
No one else there works remotely, so we didn’t know how it was going to go down,” Alex says. “But he said if we made a remote work plan and figured out a system of how it was going to look then it would be ok.”
It was actually fairly straightforward. The plan was quickly signed off, and they started to look for where they might live.
Taranaki wasn’t their first option - Alex is from Wellington and Min’s from Napier - but once they thought about it, it ticked all the boxes.
The allure of Surf Highway 45, the 105 kilometre coastal route around Taranaki with dozens of surf breaks and beaches was a major drawcard for Alex, who is an avid surfer.
“We had a checklist of things we wanted and being close to the beach was a massive point for us,” Alex says
“Everywhere else we looked it was so expensive, but in Taranaki it was like, ‘Woah, it’s actually really affordable.’”
“We’d only been to New Plymouth a few times before we moved here, but we’d loved it every time,” Min recalls. “We even bought our house sight unseen - a friend of ours found it and liked it, so we just put an offer in. It was a leap of faith, but it’s worked out.”
Two years on, living and working together in New Plymouth has gone as smoothly as they could have hoped. They initially started working from popular co-working space Manifold, but moved into a home office when they got a dog.
“We love working from home,” Min says. “You get so much more done, you can just get into your own bubble, move your breaks around based on your work flow…if you’re in the zone, you can just go with it.”
Being part of the Manifold community has helped them to meet people in a similar situation, and Alex says Venture Taranaki has been great at linking them up with people who can support them, including a work mentor. These kinds of things have been big, unexpected bonuses that have made shifting to remote work seamless.
With work taken care of, Min says the best thing about the move has been the lifestyle and flexibility they have.
“New Plymouth is just the right size. It’s big enough to have good food, drink and social options and small enough to make it easy to get around. We’re at the beach every day and we can go to the gym easily or go walking in the bush during the week. "It’s also easy to get around so we can pop into town for appointments when we need to during the workday.”