As more companies adopted this approach, it seemed that remote work would be the new standard. Recent news from Amazon, Google and Facebook suggest that it won’t be so simple. Bucking the trend, these companies have plans to lease large amounts of real estate space in big cities. Google plans to build a mixed-use community for its employees to work and live in the same company-owned campus. We may start to see a hybrid system in which people have an option to come into the office, work from home or a combination of the two.
There’s another new and intriguing development emerging—working in another country or as a digital nomad. In addition to working-from-home, many people have taken to doing their job at the beach and some have decided to relocate to lower-cost locations within the United States to save money—while still getting the same pay. The next destination for the adventurous is to travel abroad and work remotely from there. Some may decide to break up the daily grind and move to other places to shake things up and make it more interesting.
The work anywhere-in-the-world or as a digital-nomad movement is not suited for everyone. This trend is skewed toward white-collar workers, especially those with financial means. We’ve already seen Wall Street bankers, hedge fund managers, tech titans and others flee big cities, such as New York, for the Hamptons, Palm Beach, Martha’s Vineyard, suburbs of Connecticut and New Jersey or jet off to “serene lakeside cabins and beautiful island villas as their employers extend telework timelines through the end of 2020 and beyond.”
However, leaving the U.S. during the pandemic isn’t so easy, as many countries are currently not accepting American passports. According to CNBC, “Opportunities to work remotely from anywhere in the world are currently limited.” Due to the number of cases and mandatory quarantines, “In many European and other international destinations, a U.S. passport has transitioned from long-time advantage to handicap.”
There are, however, countries that are encouraging Americans to migrate there with special visas and open arms. Since tourism is down due to the Covid-19 and economies are hurting, some countries need and covet newcomers. Barbados, Estonia, Bermuda and Georgia have all opened their doors to Americans, inviting them to come, work, pay taxes and contribute to the economy.
In an open letter from Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley, she warmly encouraged people to migrate to her country. “On behalf of our beautiful island of Barbados, I would like to extend a warm welcome to you.” Mottley added, “Although the COVID 19 pandemic has been a tremendous challenge to people around the world, we believe it has also opened up opportunities.” The prime minister touted the country’s new 12-month Barbados Welcome Stamp, a visa that allows you to relocate and work from one of the world’s most beloved tourism destinations.
“We believe we have something very special to offer on this little rock we call Barbados. Our friendly people, professional services, commitment to education and importantly safety and security, all make Barbados an ideal place to live for both singles and families.”
Airbnb has been hit hard by the effects of the pandemic. There’s been a significant drop in air travel and vacations in far off exotic locations, which has impacted the house-sharing tech company. Sensing an opportunity for enticing work-nomads and wanderlust adventurers, the company wrote in its blog, “While travelers have long booked with Airbnb to immerse themselves in new communities and explore new cultures on vacation, Airbnb is now a longer-term option for more guests who are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to work from anywhere.”
Airbnb claims that it’s seeing an uptick in people using the rental platform for remote work and short-term relocations. According to the company, “Guests who are booking longer-term stays are often seeking locations with access to nature and outside of densely-populated urban areas, and some still within driving distance of major cities.” These locations include Stratton, Stowe and Windsor County in Vermont, Portland and Western Maine, Whitefish, Montana, Summit County and Steamboat Springs in Colorado, Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, Utica, Saratoga Springs and the Adirondacks in New York.
There is one catch, though. Just as you may work anywhere, companies may start hiring people who live anywhere. This will create both opportunities and additional competition for job seekers. There’s also the concern that if you work in another city, state or country, you could potentially fall off the radar of important people once they start returning to the office.
Also, as the Financial Times pointed out. “If you work remotely, your employer could eventually realize you are eminently replaceable by someone else doing your task more cheaply on the other side of the world.” You could succumb to the updated adage, “Out of sight, out of mind, out of work.”