I’ve been a global nomad and remote worker since my first job, in 1974 when I was 14 and working as the Public Relations Assistant for the Philadelphia Wings pro lacrosse team. Yes, almost 50 years of working wherever I could get my work done. Back then it was a phone line, a reporter’s notebook, and access to a fax machine. So to say, I have some experience when it comes to Working Anywhere, is an understatement.
Much has changed in 50 years. When we used to have answering machines with remote access, we now have our voicemail delivered to us by email. Messages, known as the inter-office memo, that used to come in yellowish brown colored interoffice envelopes, and delivered by a runner or by mail, are now sent as email or a text message. More advanced users use platforms like Slack, Signal, WhatsApp, Telegram and others to keep the messages more private and away from the telecom networks.
Yes, today our office is wherever we left our smartphone, laptop or tablet. We talk to others using headsets and some people we walk by think we’re a crazy person, who is talking to themselves.
Instead of jumping in a car to go across town for a meeting, we push a few buttons and have a video call using Teams, Zoom, Dialpad Meetings, Around or WebEx, with as many people as needed, and sometimes more than are really necessary.
When it came to our travel, we used to call a travel agent who would book our flights, hotels, and rental cars. Now we book online, and the travel agent is rarely in the mix. We used to use services like American Express Platinum Dining to book tables at the finest dining establishments. Now we use OpenTable, RESY or Tock.
We don’t wear suits, except for the most formal of meetings. We feel comfortable working in sweats, a bathrobe or not much of anything at all. Jeans and a nice t-shirt or golf shirt is current day Valley casual.
Yes work has changed. The Traveling Lifestyle has a story today about trends that will shape how digital nomads will be affected. My take is below:
Metaverse – We’ll take our journey in web3 before it even starts. We’ll walk the streets, drive the roads, rent our car, pick our seats, see the menus in advance. We’ll make our payments and when it all happens, we’ll have a sense of deja-vu.
Biometrics – Our eyes, voice, face and fingertips will replace keys to the car, hotel room and even the health club. We’ll approach the car and our eyes will be scanned or a wake up word, much like “ok Google,” “Alexa” or “Hey Siri” work today. The car will recognize our voice, have scanned our eyes and voila, we’re in. Between that time and when we push the start button (what we used to call the ignition. We’ll get to our hotel or Airbnb and the same will apply. When we go to a sporting event or concert, our face will be scanned and just like the casino’s use of the black book to bar cheating gamblers, the venue will know more about us than we think they do.
Working From Anywhere – a rock solid internet connection, super reliable 5G connectivity and our laptop, smartphone or tablet will let us work from anywhere we are. We’ll look for internet powered cafe’s, restaurants, coffee shops and hotel lobbies. Communal workspaces like WeWork, Regus Business Centers or any of the many sites that have popped up over the last decade. We’ll get our mail and packages delivered there, so our next tech toy arrives safely.
Business Bonding – We’ll establish new friendships and in a few months be off to our next “home.” We’ll stay in touch with our new found friends using LinkedIn and Instagram, sharing our newest bar find, beach spot or mate. We’ll organize group outings without speaking a word, and get together at some new trendy spot in a town we only arrived in yesterday.
Traveling Light – Services like LugLess and Luggage Forward will move our belongings and possessions to our next destination, while we travel with not much more than a roller bag and backpack. We will downsize and be more minimal in what we take with us, and in the end realize how eco-friendly and socially responsible we are. We will buy things where we are, not pack items we can buy anywhere. Things like soap, shampoo, shaving cream, toothpaste can be found easily, and in countries where Amazon and others like them deliver in a day or so, we’ll use them to shop.
Yes, being a digital nomad means being able to adapt, and as technology and services come on line we’ll find that our lives are not much different than today, it’s just how we live it.