OK. The global Pandemic has affected us all. If not our health or wealth, our freedoms or friendships, it’s taken its toll in unmeasurable and unthinkable ways. Humans are, however, resilient and creative by nature – where there is a will, there is a way – as they say.
It’s unsurprising then as we live in an ever progressive digital age, that our ingenuity and will to survive has come to the fore. We’ve proved that we can live and work from anywhere as long as we have the enabling technology and environment to do so. We’ve run businesses, we’ve held our teams together, we’ve turned our physical lives into a life more digital and we’ve survived! Once, not so long ago, the whole idea of permanently working from home – and embracing it – seemed socially unacceptable and perhaps even unfeasible. The virus has changed all that and whilst that has been a force of destructive change, we’re now living (and coping) with the challenges it has brought and in some cases, we are thriving.
Take the idea of the digital nomad. Someone who seeks to work in any place of their choosing without physical borders or red tape. Whilst the world has known a life of expatriation for centuries, the digital nomad is able to live and work this way because progressive Governments and advanced technology has made it possible. Today, forward-thinking countries even offer e-residency, e-passports and numerous lifestyle advantages including tax cuts and more to entice the “working/living from anywhere” generation.
At a time when we might think lockdowns might be holding us back, conversely the Pandemic has spawned all manner of COVID-related technological advancements to help keep us safe in the workplace and beyond. These technologies include detection of physical proximity in a place of work or social space, last-mile delivery of food or goods by robots or drones, apps that maintain our mental health and wellbeing, digital and remote employee training, digital payment solutions, tiny office, home or vacation facilities and of course, more safe and secure tools to protect us online as we spend our time in our digital, virtual world.
Will we head back to the physical elements of our lives and embrace them fully in time? It’s likely that we’ll need to replace virtual with physical in some ways as the world becomes a safer place once again. But we’ve also now experienced how resourceful we can be in challenging times and many have discovered how not just to survive, but to thrive. As Socrates said: “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”