To These Women, Remote Work Is The Cure To Corporate Burnout
Imagine setting no alarms for the rest of your life — unless you wanted to go for an early-morning adventure to see the sunrise in a place far from home.
Imagine looking up from your desk at work and seeing the refreshing teals and light blues of a beach just footsteps away.
Imagine being more daring than you’ve ever been, feeling more alive than you’ve ever felt, and having total control over when and where you work today, even if that is on a beach in Thailand.
This all sounds outrageous and a little unbelievable, but Digital Nomads Leila Mezoughi and Gelareh Darvish have created this very reality for themselves, and you can get in on it.
Welcome To Their Digital Nomad Lifestyle
This wonderland I described above is Koh Phangan, an island in Thailand with no airport, two main roads, and some of the most vibrant beaches in the world.
It sounds a little secluded, but that’s because it was meant to be.
“When brought into unfamiliar surroundings, our brain rewires itself,” says Leila Mezoughi.
“It adapts in direct response to its new environment. By stepping outside of our comfort zone, we’re encouraging innovation in our mind.”
Leila and Gelareh’s video seems to take on the same style of Bradley Cooper’s Limitless. A rewiring of the mind? Rapid learning? It all sounds like some sort of secret key to the universe, but that’s because it kind of is.
There’s (Major) Problems With A Fast-Paced Working Lifestyle
When I graduated college I knew I didn’t want to be another car on the freeway at 5 a.m. In fact, the whole thing sort of scared the hell out of me. I just couldn’t stop thinking that the next 40–50 years of my life would be so uneventful.
The “same” just didn’t appeal to me. Being “comfortable” was a fallacy. I saw how corporate layoffs affected the lives of my friend’s parents who had shown nothing but loyalty to their employers for some 50 years and how everyone was living just to get wasted on a Friday and Saturday night to forget about how much they hated their job. Then they did it all again the next week. Was this really going to be me?
The way I saw it, there’s an entire world out there that nobody really gets to see under this lifestyle. My parents took me to Germany when I was eleven and that’s the only time I (or they) have traveled outside of the country. What about Brazil? What about China? What about Antarctica?
In the end you have to ponder this quote:
Everybody dies but not everybody lives.
To be honest fear drives me just as much as those people who work the same deadbeat jobs for 40–50 years of their life — I just have a different fear. A fear that my life will never really be lived.
Because of this crippling fear, I rebelled against the traditional ways of working and thinking in America. I wanted something more meaningful.
“First of all, life in big cities is as unnatural as it has ever been,” Gelareh and Leila say.
“The security blanket and comfort of modern living has created “caged humans”. There no longer exists any real external stressors forcing people to move or really exert themselves. It’s no wonder we are often sick, depressed, rigid, lethargic, apathetic and fragile–we are disconnected from our true essence.”
I used to lie in bed awake at night dreading life after college. I just didn’t know what I wanted to do and how I could make a real impact on this world.
I wanted to INSPIRE people!
When I made the decision just four months after graduation to pursue this travel lifestyle, my entire world shifted.
I started noticing something else, too.
I stopped listening to people and became way more independent. Instead of searching for answers in traditional norms i figured them out for myself and made decisions based on my lifestyle needs. I still listen to my friends and family when they have constructive criticism, but as far as my career goes I hardly listen to anyone.
This happened because basically every single person I talked to about my decision didn’t approve. But it worked out. I scraped my way out of uncertainty and blazed my own trail I became MUCH more confident in my abilities than my friends. It wasn’t easy at first, finding my own way, and this is where Modern Nomads really adds value.
The Modern Nomads Retreat
The Modern Nomads retreat is a 30-day program, and takes place on the beautiful island of Koh Phangan. Together Leila and Gelareh welcome 15–30 lucky applicants at a time, who receive 1-on-1 coaching sessions, beachside villas, and unforgettable networking opportunities for an entire month.
“It’s isolating when first starting out in the Digital Nomad space mainly because it’s new and there is a lack of precedence. I didn’t have a clue where to look for help and wasted a lot of time and money through trial and error — which is one of the consequences of working it out for yourself.”
The retreat is kind of like the ultimate Summer camp for remote workers, except some of these counselors are high-earning Digital Nomads.Gelareh will take the reigns on the coaching side and will also be joined by a variety of high calibre coaches each with their own specific skill set.
In other words, a coach will be there for everybody.
Together Leila and Gelareh offer you the opportunity to not just work and live wherever you want, but to tap into your soul and start demanding more of the universe, which will lead to a MUCH more exciting and fulfilling life.
Career Ladies Turned Digital Nomads
Gelareh used to be a Business Consultant for a variety of London’s CEO’s , even delivering projects for the london Mayor. Leila became a published paperback author at 25, and spent five years of her life practicing criminal defense law.
Gradually they both became a little tired of life in the big city.
“It was an organic shift for both of us,” they explain.
“It was the overwhelming feeling of sitting back at a desk after everything we had experienced during our travels. It was the feeling of no longer being able to connect with people as we just didn’t share the same material motivations that obsess many big cities.
Staring out of the window in our offices and knowing there was so much more out there — once you are awake like this, it’s almost impossible to go back.”
“We witnessed a different structure and way of living, which opened up a world of new possibilities. To see that there are other ways than the orthodox corporate city life was incredible and quite frankly relieving. You don’t have to suffer in jobs you dislike, or sit inside an office when you’re dying to be outside, there are other options. So many open-minded millennials leave University full of hope and get stuffed into an office with no freedom over their work or time and get depressed — but there is another way, and it works.”
Now they run Modern Nomads, a retreat for other Digital Nomads (and wannabe digital nomads) with 1-on-1 coaching, beachfront accommodations, and the opportunity to unplug from the hecticness of the city. For people like me who work wherever they want to and like plugging into new thinking, it’s kind of like a trip to Disney World.
You can find out a little more information about it on their website.
Fear Holds Many People Hostage, And It Shouldn’t
You wouldn’t believe how scared people really are. They’re pensive when talking about what they REALLY want. I always ask my friends what they want to do and there’s hardly ever a definitive answer. There’s not even a glimpse of a sparkle in their eye.
They’re zombies. They have no control because the world has beaten them down.
The only reason the world has beaten them down is because they let it. If they had the courage to stand up to it and demand their own destiny be fulfilled, they’d see how easy it actually can be. I’ve seen.
“When a resolute young fellow steps up to the great bully, the world, and takes him boldly by the beard, he is often surprised to find it comes off in his hand, and that it was only tied on to scare away the timid adventurers.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Being a Digital Nomad does more than make you free — it breathes the life back into your soul. That’s something that doesn’t happen to many people.
That doesn’t mean a corporate job is the enemy, though. In fact, many businesses and corporations can actually benefit from allowing their employees to work anywhere in the world. It’s time to have open discussions with your employers if you want to work remotely.
In the end it’s really a win-win for both companies (decreased costs) and workers (happier, healthier).
9 Benefits For Businesses To Allow Remote Work
I asked Gelareh and Leila how businesses who embrace the digital nomad lifestyle might save in the long run..
- Higher Productivity — It’s undisputable — companies and remote workers alike say the most significant benefit is that remote work improves the productivity of workers because there are fewer distractions and employees are better able to concentrate. 86% of workers say they are able to hit maximum productivity remotely. Plus, employees have enhanced autonomy and control over their work environment, including how they dress, lighting, temperature and background noise, which enhances job satisfaction and rapport between employees and employers. 75% of managers say employees who work remotely increase their overall productivity.
- Lower Stress Levels — It also lowers stress and boosts morale. 82% of remote workers report lower stress levels.
- Reduces Employee Turnover — A huge problem at the moment is the ability to retain talent. Millennials are refusing to stay in a job longer than a year and top talent leave due to compromising their family life for work. In a recent Stanford study, offering remote work saw attrition rates fall by over 50%. Work from home arrangements are not just beneficial — they are highly profitable for the company.
- It Makes Your Company More Desirable — 70% of millennials say a remote work option significantly increases their interest in employers.
- Decreased Costs — It goes without saying that allowing remote work decreases real estate costs and overhead–companies of all sizes report significant decreases in operating costs. For example, American Express reports annual savings of $10–15 million thanks to its remote work options.
- More Engagement — Harvard business review concluded that remote workers are more engaged with colleges and supervisors than in-office workers. This is due to tech advances and perhaps the increased effort to engage due to being remote.
- It Keeps People Employed — It keeps older workers in the workforce longer — 74% of older 64’s want the opportunity to work from home. Also, some people find a busy office environment overwhelming, but can work from home just fine. These special individuals will finally be able to work to their full potential.
Remote work has been touted as a major organizational shift for many years, but hasn’t obtained expected traction in the public and private sectors because many employers are concerned about decreased productivity — despite evidence to the contrary.
Shifting organizational focus from face-time to results and developing a pro-remote work culture is crucial. Instead of worrying about hours logged, companies should concentrate on managing objectives and set specific performance targets, timeframes, and communication guidelines so remote workers know what’s expected. There shouldn’t be any difference between managing remote workers and non-remote workers — those companies willing to embrace the new will reap the benefits.
Is There Something To Remote Work?
If you’re just hearing the term “Digital Nomad” for the first time, your head is probably spinning.
I know mine was.
“We as digital nomads have the freedom of choice — free to choose who we surround ourselves with in all areas of our life–free to choose where we wake up everyday,” Gelareh says.
“We can choose to go swimming in the sea or walk in nature when we need a break. We have the freedom to not think about what we wear to work every single day, freedom to have less material possessions, freedom to live life how we want.”
In the end, that’s all any Digital Nomad is searching for anyway.