Choosing life in the countryside over city life


Recent surveys have shown that with their jobs showing more flexibility about being in the office, many people are considering getting out of the confines of dense cities and going elsewhere. Photo: dpa

One of the reverberations of the pandemic and resulting shift towards remote work has, for many people, been a reckoning with why they choose to live in an expensive city instead of the countryside.

Recent surveys have shown that with their jobs showing more flexibility about being in the office, many people are considering getting out of the confines of dense cities and going elsewhere.

The longer commute from outside the city can be offset by having to be in the office less, says Hamburg-based career coach Volker Klaerchen. “In many cases, employees can agree with their employer to be on-site two days a week and work from home the remaining three.”

High demand for skilled workers

Depending on their career field, some employees might be able to do away with the job-related commute altogether.

“There is also a high demand for skilled workers in rural areas,” according to Kerstin Kuechler-Kakoschke, who works for an employment agency in Germany.

Small- and medium-sized enterprises in rural areas often have trouble filling vacancies, she says, and the demand can be quite diverse.

For example, trained personnel are needed in the field of nursing. But specialists in other fields also have very good chances as well.

One small disadvantage about working outside a city is that there are not a lot of options for changing employers. It’s not uncommon for someone to hold the same position at a company for years if they’re happy with their work and living situation, says Kuechler-Kakoschke.

In the city, there are more career prospects and opportunities to change jobs simply because there are more companies, she says.

Idyllic countryside?

Of course, there are far more factors that go into the decision to move out of a city than being able to make it work with your employer. Many people have a partner and children to take into consideration as well. Does the move fit into your partner’s professional situation? Are there daycares or schools for your kids?

“Not least of your concerns is housing,” says Kuechler-Kakoschke. Do you move into a house with your family or rent an apartment first?

Then there’s the question of how to get around. Unlike in cities, where buses and trains usually run every few minutes, public transport out in the countryside, if there is any, may only run once a day. “Having a driver’s licence is usually a must,” she says.

Working from home also has its limitations, says Klaerchen. The higher you are in the company hierarchy, the more often you have to be present in the office during the week. Possibly every day.

“And those who want to climb the career ladder should refrain from working from home if possible,” adds the career coach.Staying in touch with colleagues

In Klaerchen’s opinion, employees who head a clearly defined project or specialise in a certain area can usually work from home just fine with the right technical equipment and a well-developed network.

This is especially true for jobs where work almost exclusively in front of a computer screen anyway. However, it’s important to be vigilant about maintaining contact with your immediate colleagues.

Since you’re not able to get lunch together at the office or get a drink after work, you have to make an extra effort to not lose touch. One way could be to consciously take the time to talk to them on the phone or perhaps invite them over to visit you on the weekend.

So as enticing as it is to throw your city life out the window and head for the countryside, it won’t solve all your problems.

“It’s good to ask yourself why you wanted to move away in the first place, and whether living in the countryside really suits you and your family,” says Klaerchen. Better to take the time and really take the right decision rather than make a rash one and regret it later. – dpa/Sabine Meuter

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