The status quo is obsolete.
We’ve been putting up with a life of monotony for long enough. The daily grind, the long commutes and general ordinariness day after day — they just don’t cut it anymore. Our notions of normal are evolving and bursting at the seams and we’re amidst a cultural awakening. We’re no longer content with a life dictated by routine at the expense of living our most meaningful lives. We don’t want to be cogs in the machine. We don’t want the 9–5, the luxury cars, the white picket fence, or more bulky furniture. We don’t want to live for the weekend, and we definitely don’t save pennies to maybe someday see some of the world. Our generation is adopting a different set of core values that no longer align with the old norms.
Workplace values need to be redefined.
The future of work is remote. It’s already been proven that great work can be done from anywhere. Research has consistently shown that remote workers are happier, more productive, and more likely to stay with their companies. The evidence for the benefits of remote work is overwhelming and now we’re just waiting for HR departments to catch up to us. We want all companies to provide their employees with location-independent opportunities. We’d like employers to incorporate travel experience and cultural intelligence into their job requirements. We’d love to see people living the life they want while concurrently advancing their careers. We want to ditch the term “work-life balance” altogether — you won’t need to create balance when your work and your life are in sync and enhance each other organically.
Individuals must rise up to their potential.
At its very core, remote work is about inspiring and empowering individuals to make the life changes necessary to live up to their potential. This means the potential to excel in your work, free from the mundanity and the monotony of routine; the potential to be the best version of yourself and live your life with confidence, self-efficacy and purpose; the potential to be a better global citizen and move through the world with purpose, cultural sensitivity and awareness. Without instilling confidence and empowering individuals to take control of their lives, we run the risk of continuing to settle for the way things are and have been. As drivers of this movement, we hope to lead by example and show that the life you dream about is more attainable than you think.
Policy needs to support fluid borderless movement.
The technology that enables remote work has dramatically changed the way we work. And how we work is, in turn, shaping the dynamic of the cities we work in. On a global scale, we’re seeing a rise in co-working spaces, short term rental opportunities, and more efficient transportation solutions. We’re living in an exciting time where the rise of the sharing economy is helping enable the nomadic lifestyle. With more and more digital nomads uprooting and working remotely, we will need the infrastructure on a global level to accommodate this trend. This can mean everything from allowing universal SIM cards and hotspots, to making it easier to obtain visas for international employment. There are countless changes that can be made to widen, instead of hinder, our path to becoming truly borderless global citizens.
Remote work is more than just another means to feed the travel bug or hit the gym in the middle of the day. It represents a latent discontent with social expectations and a collective veto of what it means to be “normal”. It speaks to our desire to take back control of our lives and spend our time how we want and where we want. It represents hundreds of thousands of people around the world who are fed up with settling for lives they are profoundly unsatisfied with. It’s a yearning to feel inspired again; a desire to live in a globally connected community; and a charge to change what we deem important as a society.
If this resonates with you, consider this is a call to arms. If you are accepting a new job position, talk to your employer about working remotely one day a week. If you are job hunting, look for companies that already hire remote workers. If you’re an employer or starting a new business, set up your team with the foundations to be completely location-independent one day. Follow blogs created by remote workers and attend meetups to get a taste of how achievable this lifestyle is. And, if nothing else, just start the conversation with a friend, colleagues, the guy working next to you in the coffee shop, or anyone who is willing to listen. You’d be surprised how many people are already ready to rally.
If you’ve made it this far and none of this speaks to you, please just pardon our dust — the remote work movement is underway. ✌
Greg is the founder and CEO of Remote Year, a work and travel program that curates communities of interesting professionals, entrepreneurs, and freelancers from across the globe to spend either 4 or 12 months together working, traveling, and exploring cities around the world.