Remote Work during Harvard’s Summer Break: The Future of Work and Digital Nomadism

Over the last decade the world of work has been slowly evolving into something quite fascinating. As globalisation comes banging on our doors, with it comes new opportunities for us to reflect on the old fashioned work-life model.

A true renaissance is on the way and I am happy to be in the middle of this exciting period, where we will see a change in the way we work and approach life itself.

Prediction of Change to Work

Arthur C. Clarke predicted this almost 40 years ago at the dawn of home computing. A true visionary, he could already see the impact this would have on the life of the average businessman.

“They [computers] will make it possible to live really anywhere we like. Any businessman, any executive, could live almost anywhere on Earth and still do his business through a device like this … It means we won’t be stuck in cities. We’ll live out in the country or wherever we please.”

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International Collaborations

This is exactly what we are finally seeing happen on a truly global level. In South East Asia, for example, we can now see many spaces and communities opening their doors to the world of international collaboration.

We are starting to see reactions from governments as well, working out how they can benefit from this wealth of information and wisdom. The idea of remote visas is a common theme and one that, once formulated, will be instantly replicated. There are also many government-funded accelerators (for example in Malaysia & South Korea) that are actively seeking collaborations from around the world to strengthen and inspire the future of their startup industry.

Co-working and Digital Nomadism

Three years ago KoHub was created, a community and space for remote workers on a small tropical island in Thailand. Over the years it has blossomed in to a thriving community from all over the Southeast Asian region and the world.

These spaces have walked in parallel with a new movement tagged “digital nomadism”. The idea is that people who have established businesses or remote workers no longer need to operate everyday from their office or even their home country and can seek work-holidays on far away shores to help achieve a better work-life balance or period of productivity.

Remote Teams

We have also seen the rise of truly remote teams, like Buffer and Human Madethat operate with a globally distributed team. The benefits of this model seems to be happier employees, a more productive team and a more profitable company. It’s a true win-win.

I have spoken with the Founders of these companies and other similar remote businesses and the overriding benefits are the same in every conversation.

There are also new tribes of remote workers travelling the world together, like Hackers Paradise and Remote Year and many new starting every day. There is a whole support community forming to aid in the sustainability of this new exciting movement.

 

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The Future

The future is hard to predict, but what is certain, is that this movement is not waiting to happen and it is tied directly with the ever increasing interconnectivity of the world as we know it.

Opportunities will be created that allow easier movement and business establishment in foreign countries and regions.

We will see many old concepts challenged. For instance, with globalisation opportunities will not fall on those by chance based on the territory where they were born. Rather, it will become increasingly based on who you are and what you can offer. Hopefully a new concept, a truly fair one, where we are all equal and one that even dreamers like John Lennon himself would have been proud of.

The future of work is here!

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About the author

James is the Founder at KoHub – a tropical co-working space and community on the island on Koh Lanta in Thailand.

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