If there’s anything that’s come to our attention during these trying covid times, it’s that life is precious. Whether you’ve lost a loved one or not, this pandemic has put us all in check on how fragile our existence can be, and how swiftly one can slip through the cracks of life.
The planet is riddled with countless covid stories that will break your heart, but this article is not about the battles lost and the casualties mourned. It’s about the seismic shift that the pandemic has caused in the tectonic plates of work and the workplace, and the beautiful realizations that manifested themselves following this adversity.
It seems that we are on the cusp of what some are calling “the great resignation.” So, what does this actually mean, and how will it affect the workplace?
The before and after
Before the pandemic, you’ve probably had an 8-hour a day job that took more than 10 hours of your each and every day. But this is life, right? You work hard in your twenties and thirties, so you can reap the benefits in your forties and fifties. Sure you’re overworked and almost burnt out, but so is everyone else and the money is good, so why complain?
Then the pandemic hit, and a global lockdown shifted the tides. All of a sudden, you’re working from home, discovering Zoom calls, and spending most of your time with family instead of colleagues.
This is our 3rd year into this new unchartered territory, and a lot has changed in that time. Employees have become more galvanized, and employers more flexible. Working remotely is now becoming a key element to employment and when an employer cannot provide it at least as a hybrid option, employees are simply...resigning.
In fact, in the US alone they are resigning in great numbers. In 2021, Americans quit their jobs at a record rate, and surveys show that more plan to resign during this year.
The big realization
In a corporate world that’s mostly career-driven, people’s lives tend to gravitate around their job. For the longest time, our life was defined by what we do, but the scourge of covid has grabbed us by the shoulders and shaken some sense into us. There is more to our life than working hard until we’re old, especially when the carpet can be swept from under our feet any minute. Getting to our forties and fifties is simply not a guarantee anymore.
As cheesy as it sounds, “The big realization” is simply that life is all about living. It’s about traveling the world, spending time with the people you love, and making the most of the present moment. What’s the future of the workplace going to look like if everyone’s quitting their job and hopping on a plane to explore the world?
The age of digital nomadism
We’re lucky to be living in a time where technological advancements can provide solutions to problems we never knew we had. Even though this “great resignation” has been fueled by the pandemic, it’s been allowed for by modern technology. Perhaps the biggest takeaway from the past 3 years is that we now have the tools for remote work and it actually works!
Productivity levels have gone up during this period! Many industries are becoming more flexible in regards to remote work and a wider range of organizations have put hybrid systems into place.
This could be the spark of the age of digital nomadism!
When you finish reading this article, check out Digital Nomad Visa destinations and explore over 25 countries that offer you a long-term visa with for remote workers. Destinations include EU countries -- Germany and Portugal, as well as beach destinations such as Anguilla and Barbados. The rules differ from one destination to the other, but the list is getting longer almost on a monthly basis.
The wave of change is starting to gain traction, and you could be finding yourself surfing on it from your favorite destination in the world.
Re-evaluating the challenges
Now that’s we’ve bridged the gap between an evolving workforce and an adaptive work environment, it’s not entirely fair to keep calling this movement towards remote work “the great resignation.”
Perhaps a more appropriate description would be “the great re-evaluation.”Instead of quitting, people are re-evaluating their options, and employers are re-evaluating their work structures. Although, this will not be without challenges.
There are many questions still unanswered at this point, and probably won’t be until we move on from the pandemic and fully incorporate these hybrid structures. Will remote workers be treated equal to those who show up to the office? Will they be just as considered for promotions? What about visibility and communication? How will the business of big politics evolve? These are just some of the current concerns, but there is no doubt that more will arise with time.
The good news is that through the adversity of the virus we’ve been able to set up a working infrastructure to tackle these issues head-on as they arise.
Historically speaking, after every war, we had innovation and advancement, and battling through covid has sure felt like going through war. One which cost us millions of casualties and woken us up to the fragility of our life. After every dusk, there is dawn. Change is coming, and it’s exciting to be a part of this movement towards the future, so buckle up and get ready to live your life and do your job from anywhere you want in the world!
Hadi El Talje is one of 7 billion human beings living on a tiny blue ball floating in the vastness of space. He hopes his writing intrigues your mind and inspires you to be true to who you really are. For writing opportunities, connect with Hadi.