A global pandemic has transformed our relationship with work and travel. With an increasing number of businesses embracing the change, what does the future of remote work have in store? Jase Quelch, an experienced digital nomad and co-creator of the Roaming Vegans, explores what may lie ahead, and which remote working destinations are on the rise.
The recent paradigm shift in the world’s perception of remote work cannot be understated. Entire workforces, teams and individuals have discovered remote work since the Covid pandemic, and many have never looked back.
This has opened the door to the ‘workation’ and ‘digital nomadism’, where the concept of travel has shifted from short getaways to longer vacation hybrids. In this scenario, workers take their jobs with them, working while exploring and enjoying the world.
This widespread shift of the workation mentality is still relatively new, and with the vast technological growth we’re expecting to see in the next decade adding fuel to the fire, let’s explore the potential future of remote work and how current trends are impacting the remote working revolution.
Coworking spaces are already popping up in cities all over the world. These spaces offer a physical workspace where remote workers can focus among likeminded individuals from around the globe. This gives everyone the opportunity to interact, network and collaborate.
While coworking spaces are a popular option in places like Bali, Thailand and Mexico, the trend is likely going to grow further as more remote workers escape to new destinations. Evidence of this can already be seen in Sri Lanka, where coworking spaces are arising, even in smaller towns. These spaces are catered directly to international remote workers.
Countries like Sri Lanka that offer affordable living, good internet access and a thriving remote work community will likely become the new go-to destinations for digital nomads and workation enthusiasts.
The rise of the virtual (reality) office
As technology improves, we will see more and more tools and apps that make workation life even easier.
Virtual reality, for example, could allow remote workers to attend meetings and collaborate with colleagues from anywhere in the world in a virtual setting. While it might be difficult to imagine now, this technology is likely not far off.
More digital nomads
As many remote workers take extended ‘workations’ for the first time, it is expected that more and more will transition to full-time digital nomadism.
Unlike remote workers who have a home base, digital nomads have no permanent home to return to. They travel from country to country simply basing themselves wherever they are.
As it becomes easier to live the digital nomad life, it’s likely that more will sell or rent properties to embrace this lifestyle.
Remote work visas
As more workationers enter the market, there’s no doubt that countries will try to cash in on it.
We’re already seeing ‘digital nomad visas’ being introduced in some countries. These visas offer remote workers the stability and freedom to live in countries for longer periods of time, and reduce the need to ‘border hop’ as many digital nomads currently do so they can stay longer in a country.
Countries that already offer remote work visas include:
- Estonia: The Estonian Digital Nomad Visa allows remote workers to live and work in Estonia for up to a year. To be eligible, applicants must provide proof of employment, income and health insurance, and must pay a fee of 100 euros.
- Barbados: The Barbados Welcome Stamp allows remote workers to live and work in Barbados for up to a year. To be eligible, applicants must provide proof of employment, income and health insurance, and must pay a fee of $2,000.
- Bermuda: The Bermuda Work from Bermuda Certificate allows remote workers to live and work in Bermuda for up to a year. To be eligible, applicants must provide proof of employment, income and health insurance, and must pay a fee of $263.
- Croatia: The Croatian Digital Nomad Visa allows remote workers to live and work in Croatia for up to a year. To be eligible, applicants must provide proof of employment, income and health insurance, and must pay a fee of 1,100 kuna.
Time management and temptations
Workations are exciting and provide many opportunities to explore, travel and indulge. However, this opens up a challenge for remote workers with strict work schedules.
One of the biggest challenges for workationers is finding the balance between work and leisure. When your office is just a few steps away from the beach, it can be hard to not be tempted to spend it sipping on cocktails instead.
While workations can be a great way to recharge and find inspiration, they can also be isolating and lonely – especially on longer stints away. It can be more difficult to make friends and build a support system when you’re constantly on the move.
This is why coworking spaces are a good option to ensure you’re not feeling overly isolated abroad.
The future of remote work: which countries will become hotspots by 2030?
While it’s difficult to accurately predict where we will see the biggest remote work hotspots in the next decade, current trends show these countries are leading the charge in workation escapes:
- Portugal has been actively promoting itself as a digital nomad-friendly destination, and has recently launched a “Digital Nomad Village” in the Madeira Islands. The country also offers a Golden Visa program that grants residency to investors and entrepreneurs, which could attract more digital nomads looking for long-term stays.
- Mexico already has a large expat community and a low cost of living, which makes it an attractive destination for digital nomads. The country’s close proximity and location to the USA means it’s likely going to continue to grow as one of the best workation spots in the world.
- Estonia was one of the first countries to offer a digital nomad visa, and has been actively promoting itself as a digital hub in Europe. The country has a strong IT community, high internet speeds and a progressive government that is open to innovation.
- Thailand is known for its beautiful beaches, low cost of living and welcoming culture. As one of the leading countries for digital nomads, it’s unlikely this will change in the next decade as the Thai government continues to show signs of welcoming foreign workers to their shores.
- Georgia is a hidden gem in Eastern Europe, with an untouched culture, stunning landscapes and alluring low cost of living. The country has a startup-friendly government and has been actively promoting itself as a digital hub in the region.
Conclusions on the future of remote work and rise of workations
We can expect to see more and more people embracing workation life. As remote work becomes more commonplace and people seek out ways to combine work and leisure, workations will become an increasingly popular option.
We can also expect to see a rise in workation-friendly destinations. Countries and cities that offer good internet access, affordable living and a thriving remote work community will become the go-to destinations for workation enthusiasts.
As technology continues to advance and the world becomes more interconnected, the possibilities for workations are endless. So, get ready to pack your bags, because the rise of workations is only just beginning.
What are your thoughts on the future of remote work? Let us know in the comments below.