The Future with Remote Work & Digital Nomadism

Yuri:

Hi, my name is Yuri.

Nik:

And I’m Nik. And you’re watching Moon Tower HQ.

Yuri:

And today, we’re going to talk about location independent living or so-called digital nomadism. So Nik, I noticed a trend recently that a lot of work is starting to move to remote locations. People start working either from home or they start traveling a lot and work from anywhere in the world. That’s what location independent work actually means.

Digital nomadism is a slang term for this type of living where you can travel and you can work on your stuff from anywhere in the world. This of course mostly concerns people who provide services or goods in the digital realm. For example, freelancers that work on code or web design or provide consultancy services. But it’s definitely getting more widespread. Why do you think it’s getting more widespread and where do you think this is going?

Nik:

That’s an interesting question. I would say primarily, the driving force for this is you have the creep of artificial intelligence that are starting entering to the workforce, which is essentially taking a lot of those remedial jobs where physical location is required and replacing it with a robotic system. I mean you have food delivery, you have certain areas of farming and other agricultural and industrial applications.

So, you see a lot of those individuals getting pushed out of those particular workforces. And as a result, they have to find some other type of alternative. And exactly as you mentioned, I believe the alternative then becomes more even a creative capacity. It’s more consulting based. And when you’re operating on this type of environment or in this type of environment as a worker, you have a lot of clients that might not necessarily be in your particular region. They might be very geographically diverse.

So as a result, you tend to start to migrate towards online platforms within which to start to conduct your business, Fiverr, for example, being a good one. Or if your unit setting up your own digital location or digital store front in order to be able to do this. But again, I think that the main reason, first and foremost is the change in the work type that’s currently going on in the modern economy. You’re getting moving more into more of thought work as things progressed forward and less into actual physical labor.

Although physical labor I think is of course still very much predominant in third world countries and other areas of the world. You do see a trend even in those areas of those workers getting displaced and the economy moving into direction of services business. So because this long-term trend has been moving forward with regards to that, it really I think is my reasoning as to why we see a much higher spike in these types of individuals who are working remotely.

In your opinion, what do you think from the aspect of remote work that you would find advantageous, versus for example, how those similar services had been done in the past where you had to sit in an office?

Yuri:

Yeah. Well, first of all, I think it’s about flexibility. A lot of young people, they really want to spend their twenties to maybe early thirties, traveling the world and seeing things around the world, getting a lot of experience from different countries and digital work, remote work helps them do that now. Before, they were kind of locked into their local financial system, so they couldn’t really do anything outside of their country. They couldn’t get paid or they couldn’t even use their currency outside of the country.

For example, in Russia, credit cards are a noble thing and the society was mostly cash based. That is right now of course, it’s very well advanced in terms of online banking and you can have a card issued to you in one minute and you can spend from it anywhere in the world for virtually no fees.

So that allows a Russian programmer, for example, to work anywhere in the world. I know some people who work from Thailand or from Vietnam, and they also travel the world all the time and all they need is their Russian debit card that works absolutely anywhere in the world. They can withdraw local currency from an ATM and just spend it there if it’s mostly a cash-based society. So, flexibility I think is the most important uh, thing here.

Another thing I think is the ability to essentially have a financial situation where you are not dependent on a certain local jurisdiction in terms of taxes. And a lot of countries, if you spend a certain amount of time there, they are willing to provide you with a residency, so a lot of digital nomads as far as I understand choose more tax friendly jurisdictions where their tax treatment is more beneficial to their own situation.

So, tax efficiency is also one of those things. A lot of them choose to work not as self-employed for example, but to open an offshore corporation somewhere; British Virgin islands or Singapore or maybe somewhere in another country where tax treatment is different. If you are a very well-known developer and you start making very good money, sometimes depending on your country of origin, you may think about making your taxes actually work for you are a little bit more.

Going back to this topic, I also noticed that a lot of digital nomads and simply people who work remotely and don’t travel that much started switching to Bitcoin as their methods of payment. Some of them also switched to things like stable coins which is a Fiat currency that is issued on a blockchain and forms of tokens as well. Why do you think this trend is happening right now?

Nik:

Well, I think the trend of stable coins is a very interesting and a rather indepth topic, but to kind of cover it from the highest level perspective. What I really firmly believe is that it’s really the transactional use case for them in terms of the ability to very quickly move it from point A to point B. I’m touching back on the topic. I think that you mentioned a flexibility is that it’s very key when you’re doing remote work to be able to pay your constituents very quickly and settle.

When you’re dealing with a lot of different countries and you’re dealing with a lot of jurisdictional overhead, there is often times in a time lag and delay between you transferring those funds to your counterpart and them actually being able to utilize it. So for example, if you’re dealing with say example, a programmer in Russia, not only do you have to worry about the FX rate, that’s going to be in question, but you’re also going to have to worry about the constraints and time that it will take for those funds to be sent there.

And then of course you, as you mentioned very well, it is the taxation topic, but again, we’re not financial advisors in any sense of the word, so perhaps maybe not something that we can be qualified to speak on with that respect, but it doesn’t does necessarily say that that is a particular issue with these types of transactions.

So, when you’re utilizing a stable coin, essentially you could use certain networks that currently exist today, such as the bloodstream liquid network to be able to conduct these transactions very quickly and efficiently. And there’s also certain off-ramps on the other side which will create that same type of quick back and forth for the person on the other end.

Now, I want to kind of touch back also on the concept that you mentioned from a more fundamental perspective of this type of digital nomadism and the remote work and it’s more along the lines of lifestyle, this particular piece. And when you talk about lifestyle, I think you mentioned that a lot of the individuals that are coming into this, they are after a certain type of quality within their life.

And it’s very clear that within our generation, and I think also the generation below us, that’s a very important piece that they’re working with when they’re finding who do we work for, our, how do we work? And this work life balance I think comes into play when you’re talking about this system of working remotely.

So with that topic in mind of having a certain kind of work life balance, what do you feel is the future progression in your opinion for this trend and where do you see it going?

Yuri:

Well, definitely I think the trend will keep growing and more and more people will start switching to remote work. Not only because they feel like it or they want to travel or they just want to feel the freedom, but because a lot of the manual and repetitive jobs are being replaced by automation as we speak.

It’s just the next industrial revolution, so to speak where AI, as you mentioned, or simply algorithms replace a lot of the manual work, like bookkeeping for example, or even some jobs like notarization, they can be replaced already by notarize signatures on the Bitcoin blockchain, for example, only if of course, relevant governments accept these notarizations as valid, which in my opinion, of course, more valid or no less valid than an authorization by an actual notary.

At the same time, I see not only private entrepreneurs and freelancers switching more and more to digital lifestyle and digital normadism, but also employees of larger companies and international corporations.
Do you think this trend will continue in the corporate environment as well?

Nik:

Oh, that’s an interesting question. I think that it also depends a lot on circumstance. If there are certain structural issues that are eliciting a global workforce or a necessity for a global workforce, for example, such as a contagion, then of course, there’s a clear, I believe, requirement there for individuals to be able to work remotely.

I think though that the question is really a little bit more broader to the point of trying to see is the traditional corporate lifestyle going to survive into the future and how has this concept of remote work going to fit in that? Particularly from my personal opinion, I really do think that a lot of corporations today are starting to see the work life balance piece and the remote work as a real integral part of attracting new younger talent.

And this is I think a precedent that is going to roll over through not only just our generation but the next generation and continue on forward. As you mentioned, as automation starts to creep in not only into the actual physical labor area but also to the services industry. When you’re talking about accounting, financial services included into that, you’re going to see a lot more displacement. And the result of that displacement, there’s going to be a different constraint on people’s time and also a different efficiency on the use of that time.

When you talking about it from a corporate level, a corporate perspective, as individuals who are operating a company, you have to consider those factors moving forward. And if you don’t adapt, you’re going to really cost yourself in the future potential of the HR or the human capital that you’re actually going to be able to employ under your wing essentially to your company to the next step.

So with that, I would really firmly say that the trend is in line with the concept of remote work, but you still see a lot of companies that are more legacy in their structure and their corporate culture as well in particularly in the banking sector as well that are going to be reluctant to adopt.

So yes, I do believe that it’s going to be very much more in line with the objectives of certain types of corporations and corporate systems, but there’s still going to be, I think a lagging group that’s always going to be a little bit, for lack of a better word or phrase, stuck in the past. And I really feel that the companies that are not only embracing it today, but that will embrace it in the near future and continue to is technology companies because that’s the easiest use case that you see in terms of work.

And when we talk about remote work, I think it’s also really important to try to understand where we ourselves fit in into this particular concept and lifestyle because we have very active agendas and it’s clear that there’s a lot of different areas where we both have to be in and participate for yourself. How do you see the concept of remote work aligning itself with your lifestyle in the future and currently?

Yuri:

Yeah, well I think it’s a quite applicable to me because for work I have to travel quite extensively and spend sometimes a few months in different locations each year. So that definitely broadens my perspective into the world. And I think I gained a lot of experience by doing so. But at the same time, I don’t envision myself being a digital nomad forever because family ties and our children will do their job and actually require some settlement at the same at the end of the day. It’s definitely very interesting and I think while we’re young, there’s nothing wrong with experiencing the world and learning about different cultures and different ways of doing business.
I would also want to figure out the proper way of– For the future how to invest in various asset classes for example. And that’s, that was my next question to you is with this digital nomad lifestyle, do you think investment and participating in investment markets, perhaps with the passive investment vehicles are still possible? And, is it maybe a more preferable way of investment while you travel?

Nik:

That’s a very good question. And framing it, I think in the concept of that work life balance is perhaps an adequate way to approach it. And in my opinion as these trends move forward with regards to the difference in again, automation in terms of the service industry and others where you’re going to have a certain constraint on your time, but then a free form way to actually manage that timeframe, you’re going to have opportunities to participate in a lot of different things.

The real bottom line comes down to is how efficiently can you really play in these particular areas without having to devote yourself fully to that discipline, and this is where I truly believe concepts such as you mentioned passive investing, automated investing, subscription based investing really comes into play as a means to try to support this work life balance to provide to give you that opportunity to take that free time that you do have, and then be able to utilize it in a very constructive way to form patterns, to form different types of strategies that will help you long-term financially.

I think also in this particular context, when you’re talking about the future of remote work and kind of the lifestyle balance, in your opinion, do you see that the lifestyle of these remote workers generally allows them and affords them more time? Or do you feel that sometimes this flexibility actually takes away from your schedule where you don’t have, for example, if you’re an individual that doesn’t have really good time management skills, sure. You can work from home, you can work at any point in time, but perhaps sometimes with myself, I have found this to be the case when I have no set schedule or constraints. I’m working when I shouldn’t and when I should, so I’m working too much. So, what are your thoughts about that?

Yuri:

Yeah, well, I think flexibility and lack of concrete schedule of brings this into people’s lives. And it’s probably more about personal development and time management skills, so it varies from individual to individual. I, for example, learn to not have strict schedules, but instead to have tasks that I just complete and cross out. I use the getting things done, GTD methodology, which really works well for me.

But at the end of the day, if you’re willing to have a lifestyle like based a digital nomad or simply a lot of a lifestyle that involves a lot of travel, you have to be ready for interruptions in your work and for constant change of schedules because of time zones change, conditions change, the weather changes and sometimes just simply the weather makes you want to either go out and enjoy the sunny day or if it’s too rainy, you get too almost depressed, sometimes you don’t want to do anything. That affects you a lot, then you definitely have to work on personal or qualities.

To close it off, I definitely think that digital nomadism meant simply remote work is going to get a lot bigger in the future. And we will see so-called division of labor 2.0 where very, very minuscule task will start being delegated to different service providers. You don’t have to go to the store anymore because the groceries are delivered to your door. You don’t have to go to the gym anymore, gym is just down the basement level in your building.
I definitely think this is the future. It’s all about how we adopt this type of lifestyle, how we treated ourselves. But I think it’s looking bright for me and we’ll see where it leads us.

Nik:

Absolutely. And I think you nailed it right on the head with the wrap up with regards to systems; systems, schedules, and making, have some type of habits that are in place to carry you longterm through this, what to sell would be said, unstable future, but hopefully a prosperous one for not only us, but everybody else involved in joining us here today. So thank very much for your time and we’ll see you next time.

Yuri:

Thanks for watching. And check out the moontower.co

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Written by Moontower

July 14, 2020

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