Digital Reshaping The Way We Live & Work
The freedom to work, be paid, travel, and discover new places may have seemed unlikely a few years ago. The ability to do this is now not reserved for the few.
The old mantra was centred around people worked where they live. Business owners and employees are now increasingly allowing their teams (and themselves) to work remotely. The means to live and work in different places is opening up new possibilities and avenues to do this from.
Getting Away Recently
I recently took a short break to visit Barcelona, a destination that had always captured my attention. It goes right back to painting Gaudi’s beautiful organic architecture in art class. In person, it was even more stunning than any painting, filled with vibrant scenes from the beaches to the bars.
To take a break like that from the day-to-day isn’t something many of us have been fortunate enough to do. Some borders have begun tentative first steps at re-opening, complete with a plethora of covid tests and forms to be filled out, providing opportunities for enterprising travellers to begin exploring once again.
We were tourists for those few days in Barcelona, but we didn’t have to be. A few thoughts struck me while walking those city streets, the novelty and beauty reengaging the parts of my brain that had been neglected with months of continual working from home: home might be where the heart is, but it’s also wherever your laptop is.
The Pandemic Reframe Legacy
Millennials are anticipated to change careers every two to three years. This is a far cry from the previously expected notion of having a decade or even life-long job. Leaving university with a first-class degree no longer guarantees your chosen career path. Entire platforms such as Fiverr, People Per Hour, Total and Upwork have built their reputation and audience to provide disenfranchised graduates millions of contracts per year, the majority of which originate in a wholly different nation.
Surprisingly, the concept of using remote work to conduct your life from one far-flung destination to the next is far from recent. Written in 1997, Digital Nomad by Tsugio Makimoto and David Manners takes an early dive into the absurd premise of living your life nomadically whilst earning a living using technology.
Merging the storm of circumstances that has made up the last two years, the exponential curve of mobile tech we all have access to, amid the ever-increasing demand for digital professionals, means for the first time it wouldn’t be absurd to go on a mini-tour of the world – and be paid to do so!
This isn’t about people posing with cocktails in a hammock, this is about a professional and lifestyle choice that has become a way forward for the pandemic reframed world of work. It can be achieved.
The stats show that it isn’t something that’s going away, either. According to research by McKinsey, 20-25% of the workforce could spend three to five days a week at home (or further afield) without any loss of productivity. People desire the need to roam and now can do so, with peace of mind. This opens the door to negotiation for months-long remote working. With employees preferring the more balanced lifestyle and people such as Jennifer Christie, VP of Twitter saying: "If our employees are in a role and situation that enables them to work from home and they want to continue to do so forever, we will make that happen,” then it’s logical to presume that work from home is here to stay, forever.
2020 meant we all became digitally enabled and we have all become equipped to pack what we need to work from and easy access to how we connect from video conferencing to WiFi (or even 5G) equipped destinations. According to a report from YouGov, most people want to continue working flexibly. Whether that is in a new place to call home for a month or so, or even in a new country, it provides a new outlook and possibility to still be connected, but to discover new places.
Let Me Round-Up
All of this has left me incredibly excited about what will evolve out of this situation over the next few years – the digital economies to be created, platforms to solve all the problems that don’t even exist yet.
Could blockchain be used to create a united administrative toolkit valid in every country on your travel list? Will housing and accommodation also rise into the cloud along with your data, and finding your next apartment in Thailand become as easy as ordering an Uber?
Pick a country, any country. Everyone working in an office today might find themselves in the position to take a month or two each year immersed in diverse cultures and communities around the world.
Travelling is the ultimate natural remedy for so many of the problems we’re facing today. There’s no need to be a tourist when it’s your lifestyle. The opportunity to work, explore, and discover is there to be grasped.