For the most part knowledge workers, this summer marks the end of the Great Experiment of Remote Work and the beginning of a return to normalcy. People return to offices, dusting off office space, and returning to their old routines. But for some people, the pandemic year has definitely changed the relationship with the office. Nicholas Bloom, Stanford economist, provides that more work will be done perhaps remotely – 22 per cent of working days in the future, compared to only 5 per cent pre-pandemic.
Not every employee leaves the office for good. But even if a small percentage, it could create a number of “second-order effects,” says Andreas Klinger, a long-distance advocate who has launched First Remote Capital in 2019. The $ 7.5 million fund seeks startups that solve remote work problems — for example, helping startups make it pay when their employees are spread across the globe — but also those who “exploit remote work in a unique way”. Klinger says the potential opportunities go far beyond traditional business services. These startups are beginning to rethink how to look at the future if more people can figure out where they work and where they live: “How will the world change if more people work remotely? How will countries, families, education and life change?” every day? “
The answers to those questions have worried not only economists and policy makers, but also founders and VCs eager to exploit any disruption of the status quo. Some of these startups take a bold view of how an uptick in a completely distant job could change people’s lifestyles. Galileo, a first online school, aims to do for primary education what distance work has done for distributed teams. “School was one of the most important things that kept you in one place: you can’t move because of your kids in school,” says Vlad Stan, the founder of Galileo. “With our school, it’s much easier to move from one place to another. We allow people to have a more fluid life. ”
The startup charges a fee in exchange for a series of online educational tools and access to a series of in-person “learning dojos” around the world. Similar to a Montessori school, students have individualized learning plans and are self-directed throughout the day, with the support of a number of online teachers.
Stan, who is currently based in Spain, says Galileo has seen growing interest from families looking to live more nomadically because of remote work. “We started this experiment two years ago, just before Covid, with 20 students,” he says. Now, Galileo has 200 students from 30 countries fully enrolled.
Other startups hope to judge workers happy to travel by providing accommodation as a service. Everywhere, a market similar to Airbnb, lists furnished apartments that rent on monthly rentals and include basic amenities like WiFi. When Anyplace launched in 2017, its customers were mostly self-employed or people who had an independent income. Now, Sator founder Steve Naito says he sees more people “working for technology giants like Facebook or Twitter that are starting to use Anyplace. So now we’re optimizing our product for remote workers.”
Recently, Anyplace has started listing its own apartments designed specifically for remote workers, called Select Anyplace. Each comes with internet at gigabit speeds, standing desks, ergonomic chairs and second monitors. “If you don’t have a nice work environment, then it’s not nice to work remotely,” says Naito, who has changed cities every few months for the past five years. I believe that if services like theirs make the nomadic lifestyle easier, then more people will reap the benefits of working remotely and make that lifestyle more mainstream.
Startups like Anyplace and Gailieo are targeting a specific demographic: people who have the ability to work from anywhere, and who actually want jump from city to city. By most accounts, not many people. Although the number of working days from home is expected to increase from pre-pandemic levels, surveys such as Bloom suggest that it is more because employers embrace a “hybrid” model, rather than allowing people to work. at a distance all the time.