Technology and The Digital Nomad

Even in pandemic the world is open to those who are willing to take the leap and let technology guide their path. Recently Caribbean countries such as Antigua and Barbuda offering digital nomads the opportunity to work remote and live for 2 years (Thiruvengadam, 2020). With places like the Caribbean opening its borders to digital nomads that meet the requirements, it leads the way to open the door that other countries will possibly follow suite as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on. With major economic players as the US and the EU being hit the hardest, those with who suffer from a major case of wanderlust and have the flexibility to work remote will see this opportunity as being very attractive.

 With the continued use and rise in digital meeting platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Meetings, individuals are literally able to conduct business anywhere in the world. Compare that to the cost of living in the Caribbean to cost of living in most EU countries and the United States this can give the Caribbean an economic boost while other countries are struggling to have businesses keep their doors open. This leads to the question of how important and vital technology has become, especially during a worldwide pandemic. Over the years, we have seen technology “take over” our lives on many levels. Our iPhones even send us weekly reports of how much time we spend engaged with social media. We have apps such as We Chat, What’s App, and Skype that allows us to message and video message friends and loved ones across the globe.

Social media allows up to keep up and interact with our favorite celebrities, socialites, and influencers. People who we never would in the past have had access to we now do. Now more than ever we are more accessible, flexible, and mobile. The world truly is at our fingertips and we have technology to thank for it. Although being accessible has its pros and cons, living on the other side of the world but still having access to those important to you is not one. Too much accessibility can bring about bullying, self-esteem issues, depression, and identity theft. However, the right amount of accessibility to being about digital marketing efforts that can help with the expansion of a business, project, service, or product.

As of December 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, non-farmer unemployment rates reached 6.7%, roughly 144,000. This of course being due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With these kinds of unemployment rates and the increase in virtual meetings amongst those still employed, technology has not only become a necessity but a way of life. As someone who works in one of the hardest hit industry of hospitality. I am considered an essential worker, therefore unlike most, I must go to an office every day. For a hotel to stay afloat it needs bring in group business. Groups to a hotel are organizations whether corporate, education, or associations that have large gatherings who need both meeting space and sleeping rooms. As with any hotel, the occupancy of sleeping rooms is what keeps the lights on. Back in March I was furloughed for 90 days and returned in July. In the state of Alabama, there was the overwhelming belief that business would bounce back a lot quicker than what was predicted by industry experts. The problem with this thinking has been that most group business comes from outside the state of Alabama. As we have continued to see, groups that originally were looking to come to the hotel for large gatherings a year out are now, cancelling, or rescheduling events due to the constant rise of COVID cases and rise in the death toll.

With Caribbean countries such as Antigua and Barbuda, who have only had 195 cases and 6 fatalities, opening their boarders to those who have access to a digital nomad lifestyle could be extremely attractive. Not only does it allow you to get away from stress of the rising death toll in America but also allows for a way to jump headfirst into a new culture. Since Caribbean countries economy depends heavily on tourism, this is a win-win for those looking to escape and who can make the move. By Antigua and Barbuda asking that digital nomads to meet an income requirement, it solidifies that those coming over for the next 2 years can help boost, not harm the economy.

With technology constantly changing and more and more information being uploaded to the internet at and extremely fast pace, it is possible that even with a vaccine now floating around that more and more organizations will continue to stay with the digital format. By continuing to stay within the digital format due to it keeping down overhead costs and, in some cases, assisting with an increase in productivity, more and more organizations will find it hard to justify bringing employees back into the office full time. This will also increase regarding conferences. As we are seeing with many face -to- face conferences or meetings is that attendance just is not there, due to fear of being around a lot of people. There is also the fear of the pre-caution of sleeping in a room, not knowing what precautions they are taking and the fear of traveling to get to their destination, a long- term digital nomadic lifestyle seems inevitable for many workers. Although as people we crave physical interaction and touch, the truth of the matter is that with vaccine shortages, and constant increase in cases and fatalities in the United States and more and more digital platforms that allow for easy interactions with work and family, we have to ask ourselves how important are face-to- face dealings? Can major organizations continue to thrive if they don’t allow the flexibility of a work from “anywhere in the world” option?

Sources:

Sources:

Thiruvengadam, M. (2020). Antigua and Barbada’s New Residency Program will Allow People to Work from the Caribbean Country for 2 Years. Insider. https://www.insider.com/remote-work-caribbean-antigua-and-barbuda-2020-10

The Employment Situation- https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf

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