It’s been one month since my last update but it feels like a year, so much has happened.
Offering digital nomads and remote workers a safe place to shelter has always been part of our mission, and as per our last post, we managed to keep most of our spaces open (with the addition of regular cleaning services and stringent guidelines for guests). We did close a few properties to comply with local mandates. This is a stressful time for all, but the guests that have chosen to lockdown in Outsite have been finding the bright side - whether it’s starting a hosting charity hackathons, taking online Portuguese lessons together or sharing a (socially distant) pizza on the porch.
We’re also so thankful for supportive team members, landlords and investors who have enabled us to keep moving toward our long term vision. We’ve managed to work around the most pressing challenges, and our next step is to prepare the transition period, working within newly defined post-pandemic parameters.
The big question is, how will the remote community adapt to these changes - specifically now that the segment has grown?
As we’ve seen over the past month, humans were not designed for isolation. Finding community and connection was important before COVID-19, but now it’s paramount for travelers, especially if they’re slow travelling. It’s also likely travelers will be more conscious when it comes to safety and scenario planning, should the world be hit with a second wave.
Combined with the economic fallout we’ve seen in major cities across the United States, many remote workers will be considering the cost of their lifestyle. If you’re paying upwards of $2,000 per month on rent but your job can now be done from anywhere - why not consider living somewhere with a higher quality of life (and lower cost)?
The main issue will be getting there. There is a chance intercontinental travel could take far longer to recover than regional travel, and if you do manage to make the journey, it’s likely you’ll stay for a longer period of time, simply to make the most of your time there.
The cost of getting out of the country makes discovering new domestic locations all the more appealing, particularly when you realise you’ll be able to get there by driving - minimising your time spent in airports around thousands of travelers. You can further minimize your contact with others by choosing smaller, boutique accommodation, instead of large hotels.
Regardless of where you stay, we will all see an increase in cleaning regulations for accommodation and hospitality brands, as well as the potential for guest tests.
This is a key learning curve for Outsite too. We’re looking at ways to implement the idea of ‘immunity passports’ or testing guests so that our Members know they’re sharing with other healthy individuals.
We’re looking to enhance long term stays, reducing the guest turnover inside our spaces. Not only does this serve the interests of a traveler post-COVID, but it better serves the community staying in Outsite Spaces. By staying in one place for a longer time, it allows you to develop stronger and deeper relationships with your local community.
To improve and incentivize longer term stays, we’re looking at procuring more self-contained units with shared communal spaces, and expanding into lifestyle cities and towns in the U.S and Europe. Now that more people can work remotely, there will be a surge in interest in locations with a ‘better’ lifestyle than the ones inhabited at present - we’re looking to towns like San Luis Obispo, Encinitas and Ojai in the U.S, and places like Las Palmas, Tuscany and Ericeira in Europe. They all have one common denominator: less people, more space.
Ultimately, digital nomads may hit the ground running in the post-COVID world. With more companies exploring the possibility of a remote workforce, having remote experience will give them the edge in future job interviews. They are likely to be the first group to travel, having the lowest associated risk should they be quarantined overseas - after having dealt with COVID, this group is going to be adept to moving with change instead of against it, too.
When travel begins to open up again, the location independent workforce will be the ones best equipped to navigate this world, confidently, and safely.