Telework: the flourishing business around “digital nomads”

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Huit pays désormais proposent des visas spéciaux pour les télétravailleurs, notamment le Costa Rica, Dubaï ou encore les Barbades.

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Posted on Feb 10, 2021 2021 at 12:19Updated Feb 10, 2021 2021 at 14:54

“What used to be a niche has become more conventional”, explains to AFP Emmanuel Guisset, himself a Belgian digital nomad and founder of Outsite. Its site offers the self-employed or employees who work remotely about twenty spaces bringing together housing and shared offices. Prices vary from 700 Pounds per month in Portugal, to 2,500 Pounds for Los Angeles.

“When everything is restored, it will explode”

Created in 2015, Outsite saw its activity slowed down by the closure of its spaces during the first months of the pandemic. But the company received 30% more bookings than in 2021, and the number of registrations on its site has tripled. “When everything is restored, it will explode, and we have a lot of hope for 2021”, assures the entrepreneur, who sees the pandemic and the leap in teleworking as ” a springboard “.

Reservations for its spaces in Costa Rica and Hawaii have already increased by half. At the same time, Costa Rica, like seven other countries, has implemented a special visa system for foreign teleworkers looking for a dream setting for their Zoom meetings. “Until then, the reluctance of companies blocked the movement”, observes the startuppeur. But in recent months, he has been contacted by about twenty companies “Who want to pay for stays for their employees, it becomes a way of retaining talent”. And a way for the company to dissociate itself from other employers who force their employees to presenteeism … even when they can work remotely (and the order comes from the Head of State).

Ambroise Debret, freelance in web marketing and “digital nomad” for four years, lived last fall in the Outsite space in Lisbon. “A lot of my digital nomad friends went there, it’s a bit like going to the office together, actually”, he smiles. Teleworking together is also a practice that is done among friends to fight against professional isolation. Colleagues are replaced by selected third parties. It is, thinks the English researcher Clément Marinos, one of the “Paradoxes” digital nomads who have “Both a need to connect with the local, and a need to belong to a community”. For his part, Maurie Cohen, professor at the Technological Institute of New Jersey, speaks of a ” ecosystem “ in which “Digital nomads sell each other services or different training courses”.

Compensate for the absence of tourists

It is also to meet this need for sociability that the Englishman Matthieu Zeilas co-founded the company Palma Coliving. In Spain, he rents several houses, from 850 Pounds per month for a single room. For this price, roommates can enjoy a workspace, a meditation corner and a swimming pool, but also participate in workshops and events to create a network. With the promise of “Boost their productivity” all in “Escaping the routine”.

The entrepreneur opened his first villa in Mallorca last August, and has received more than 200 reservation requests: “The pandemic has opened up possibilities for me, we are responding to a real problem. ” He also seeks to compensate for the absence of tourists, by offering owners who can no longer rent their properties on Airbnb to entrust them to him. He hopes to eventually offer thirty new destinations.

Yacine Bakouche, president of the travel agency Best of Tours, also relies on “The evolution towards more teleworking” to offer stays of a few weeks to teleworkers in need of nature or a change of scenery. His project, delayed by the health crisis, should be launched in March by first focusing on English destinations, such as Ardèche or Franche-Comté.

However, the dream setting and friends-co-teleworkers do not prevent digital incivilities suffered from a distance. Micro-conflicts accumulate without being able to be defused by a frank discussion at the coffee machine. Perhaps this is one of the limits of digital nomadism?

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