The term ‘future of work’ has been brought up quite often a lot lately. It’s almost creating the impression that the whole society is indeed heading towards a revolutionary change that could just happen overnight. Over the past few months, I had a chance to hear opinions on this subject from travellers, tech people, HR, fellow digital nomads, freelancers, and a few startupers alike. It’s intriguing that whatever the industry, certain themes pop up again and again — flexibility, freedom, education, contentment, and automation above all others.
So let’s have a look at the complete perspective from a digital nomad’s perspective.
A great part of Microsoft’s panel discussion was dedicated to automation and AI taking away jobs from the present industries. As an optimist, I see that is an entirely reliant vision on digital, I can see that automation already enables us to leave tedious tasks to machines and algorithms while spending time doing something more meaningful & valuable (email, proofreading, calculation or social media automation, anyone?).
The evolution of new jobs is inevitable, we must welcome the change, and we’re already witnessing the transformation of present professions into their new versions. Teaching languages remotely over Skype, learning basically any subject through e-courses, even online medical consultations and industry skills are booming (and it’s not at all surprising that Google taps into this industry as well).
Naturally, the remote community is the first one to welcome this future in form of development & growth. Embracing change allows us to think of new, usually more creative jobs that can replace old & obsolete professions and, more importantly, what can be done remotely, can be delegated easily, thanks to technology. Instead of seeing it as a threat to all the population, technology acts as an enabler for all, and offers flexibility, too helps us achieve better work-life balance to live a more fulfilled life.
Education & Growth
From its very nature, the remote working environment doesn’t allow you with the same benefits as of the traditional office setup — think company lunches, bean bags, the work environment or game room discussions. On the other hand, it’s becoming a standard to offer perks like paying for e-courses, international conferences or even ebooks from Amazon.
Some companies go as far as offering paid sabbaticals every couple of years (Automattic and Basecamp are a few to name). And of course, if you have a globally allocated team, you’re learning constantly about other cultures in and around you through the day to day communication.
These benefits offered more focused employee’s growth and deliver flexibility, which may sound a bit futuristic to a few of us. But remote companies, or “distributed” companies as we call them, understand that to be on top of their game, providing flexibility, freedom, and room for learning are some of the necessary perks and help them attract the best talent to their companies.
Gaining Experiences Through Traveling
One of the things that most resonates with many digital nomads from all over the world is the question of gaining experiences through travelling as a form of learning & becoming a better human being.
While it’s still an issue inside a traditional office, the situation is different in remote companies. Not being based in the same office isn’t seen as a necessary hindrance and many employers in this industry too respect constant travelling as part of their employee’s lifestyle.
On the other hand, there are startups where travelling is engrained in their company culture, where employers offer travel benefits to their employees. Many startups like Maptia has shifted their workforce to remote so as to let their employees experience the world’s culture to help them become better. Other companies too are leading in this approach and experimenting with working on the road.
And this nomadic DNA isn’t restricted to businesses. Entire families are now been seen living on the road, travelling across the world in an RV with their necessary resources & children.
I wouldn’t dare to suggest that every family should sell their house and get on the move indefinitely. But a couple of things can be learned from nomadic families: valuing the time spent together, introducing children to nature & wonders of the world, promoting outdoor activities and exposing their children to foreign cultures. This, in all, would only help & promote global citizenship of the future.
Digital nomads and distributed companies might represent only a small bubble for now, but the trend is growing at a rapid rate.
Coming predominantly from the tech world, the biggest remote-first companies like Automattic, Buffer, or InVision understand the need for progress if they want to be successful. They tend to be the first to implement new, innovative & bold ways of working in order to increase productivity. And display a path to the world that is worth considering if you’re serious about shifting to the future of work.