Here at Wanderer, we are no strangers to working on the road. Our office has been a picnic table, an RV kitchen table, a boat cockpit table, and an Airbnb patio table. We’ve written our weekly update while traveling on a motorcycle, car, truck, bus, boat, and airplane. The point is, it feels normal for us to work in strange places.
But for most employees, work is location-specific, and “going to work” means going to a specific destination. A few weeks ago, we posited the theory that the coronavirus is going to forever change things in America. You see, once you give a child a lollypop, they will cry almost every time you take it away. But if they don’t see it or know it is available, they are just fine. Same thing with work from home.
What started as a temporary workaround for shelter-in-place orders will now become permanent for many employees. Before COVID, they, or their superiors, didn’t realize how productive an employee could be working from home. Now that they have been given the opportunity, a couple of things are happening. One, the higher-ups are learning that work from home actually works. And two, employees are learning how incredibly freeing work from home really is.
Now that work from home is becoming more popular, we expect it won't be long before employees realize that work from home doesn't actually have to mean work from home. Any quiet place with a laptop and a phone signal can work. That’s when we should see employees begin to widen their net and try working from different areas.
Not a fan of winter? What’s to keep you from becoming a snowbird? How about the heat of a southern summer? Why not jump into a motorhome and motor north for a few months? If not a motorhome, how about an Airbnb? The number of vacation rentals available on Airbnb is rapidly growing.
With the ability to work remotely, we expect to see a rebirth of the aging campground industry. As remote workers park their office, the archaic internet that is at most campgrounds just isn’t going to cut it. Expect also to see remote data plans for mobile routers.
I think you get the idea. What you and I have known for a long time is just beginning to dawn on a whole new group of people. With the increased demand should come innovations, and life should get easier for anyone who currently works remotely. I know personally just how profound the differences in internet connectivity and pricing have been. It should only get better. And as this happens, what other changes might we see?
Will home ownership levels continue to decline? Many of us have discovered that a home on the road/seas can actually be less expensive than the brick and mortar and a hunk of land we grew up believing in. For those that want to travel overseas the cost savings quickly become obvious. A quick perusal of Airbnb Bali versus Airbnb San Diego or their current mortgage payment, for instance, would set anyone straight on that.
It seems as if "this time could be different" really applies in 2020. Real changes are occuring, and there appears to have been a shift in mindset that has been slowly building for years. We've been living that mindset for many years, and are excited for others to follow suit. While some of our favorite off-the-beaten-path places will likely become less off-the-beaten-path, we are willing to trade that for the opportunity to share the benefits with more people as well as reap the benefits that are sure to come with better infrastructure and a more global marketplace.