Loving Living in London – Louise’s Work Away Recap

While keeping regular business hours and not missing a beat with client deliverables, REED team members explore a different part of the world through our Work Away program. This creative team benefit provides not only the flexibility to work anywhere in the world for up to one month but also a stipend to cover expenses. While on their trip, REED team members connect with Public Relations Global Network colleagues – shout out to PRGN partner Media Profile for the idea! – and collect beneficial experiences to bring home to our clients. Read along for the latest adventure!

Louise Paterson’s Work Away to London: 

Where did you spend your Work Away, and why did you choose that location?

I choose London for a few reasons. First, it is a city that I have always wanted to explore based on the incredible reviews I’ve heard from family, friends, and Lauren, our CEO. As a born New Yorker, I found a lot of similarities between Manhattan and London, which piqued my curiosity to explore the similarities and differences myself. Second, it was a place without a language barrier. I knew being out of the country for four weeks and working CST hours was going to be a large adjustment, so I wanted to give myself the luxury of understanding the strangers around me. Third, I’ve encountered a large cross-over between US and UK companies during my career. We have a few clients from or who have spent a lot of time in the London area, and I wanted to be able to relate to their background and culture.

What was the biggest adjustment you made as you settled into your temporary Work Away home?

The biggest adjustment was definitely working with a time difference. Nashville’s 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. is London’s 3 p.m. – 11 p.m. However, adjusting to city life, using the tube and growing accustomed to the British jargon and slang was more of a fun activity for me.

How did you connect with other PR professionals in your Work Away location?

I visited Spider PR, REED’s PRGN partner, at their office. I had a lovely coffee with their director, Chloe Walden, where we spoke about our clients and the similarities/differences of our agencies. It was interesting for me to learn about their practices and standards in the UK.

What is the best thing you ate or drank on your trip?

A tequila espresso martini at Bob Bob Ricard

What sights did you see while you explored?

I was fortunate that two of my best friends from home live in London now, so they were able to give me tours the local way. My favorites were the Design Museum, the Saatchi Gallery’s ‘Beyond the Streets London’ exhibition and the Hyde Park Gardens. Buckingham Palace was touristy, but I was there around the time when the Coronation was happening, so I was able to see the guards practicing for the Coronation of Charles III and Camilla.

Name one professional and one personal benefit to REED’s Work Away program.

Professional: I think one professional benefit is enhancing literacy in discussing different cultures around the world. It has benefitted the work output of my clients and our agency internally because of more business knowledge outside of REED and the US.

Personal: I definitely have more confidence knowing I can throw myself into a foreign city completely alone and be totally fine.

Any final thoughts? 

Something that surprised me about working from London is that I love public transportation. I was absolutely horrified to go on the Tube alone for the first time, but I had no other option since London is such a big city. I’ve been on the Subway in NYC, but the Tube was way more awesome and a bit different. This is an embarrassing story, but the first time I took the Tube, I made it to my destination and then was on my way to exit the station. On the subway, you just push your way through the turnstile and go on your way. On the Tube, (apparently) you have to scan your Apple Pay/tap your credit card an additional time to pay to exit. Clearly, I did not know this. So, I am holding up probably 50 annoyed British people behind me, desperate to get out of this Tube station, thinking this turnstile must be broken. Then I heard “Love, oh love… you have to pay…” from one of the Tube employees. I felt like the cliché tourist, but at least he was nice and called me “love” in a British accent. Anyway, the Tube rocks once you learn how to properly use it.