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The Shift: Field Guide to the Future of Work and Living. Rethinking how we live, work and play. Weekly curated tools for thought and ideas to share ✍️

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A roadmap to The Nowhere Office

The global pandemic has forced companies to change how they do business, speeding up existing trends in remote working, tech/AI and changing employer-employee relations.

As Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said last year:

We’ve already seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months.

Many companies have adapted quickly to the new world of work, but the speed of the transition has exposed limitations around skill sets, agile working, trust, and business models. We’re now facing a tsunami of job losses.

How can companies adapt to new ways of working that are still unfolding? Will government policy support the changes? How will AI and digital transformation change how we work and live?

The world of work is changing and there’s been a shift in mindset from White-collar professionals to no-collar professionals. Work is something we do not a place we go to. We want flexibility, remote working, education, collaboration, purpose AND paycheque.

I’m excited to be around for this – we have an opportunity to reinvent how we work and live to be happier, more productive humans.

The full-stack freelancer

In some ways, the world has been catching up with how many freelancers work and that’s given us a head start. We’re used to working remotely and flexible working. We’re seeing the rise of a new kind of worker, the Full-Stack Freelancer, who responds to tech-driven trends.

Full-Stack Freelancers are responding to a series of technology-driven trends — contingent employment, intensifying globalization, and automation — by taking advantage of the other side of the coin: technology finally becoming powerful enough, cheap enough, and user-friendly enough to be deployed productively by a single individual.

They borrow freely — from tech startups, digital nomads, lifestyle designers, independent contractors, the sharing and peer-to-peer economies — but placing them squarely inside any of these categories is not quite right.

That’s because Full-Stack Freelancers manage a portfolio of income streams, not a job based on one set of skills.

It requires a skill that virtually none of us are educated for: portfolio thinking. Tiago Forte, Forte Labs.

And it’s something that’s available to everyone. It can enhance personal growth, creativity, and learning. Calling content entrepreneurs!

The rise of the creator economy

Over 50m people around the world consider themselves creators despite the creator economy being just 10 years old. It’s the fastest-growing type of small business. There are now 2m professional creators making content full-time – and 200,000 of these are writers, podcasters, musicians and illustrators.

Creators, we’re on the verge of the ‘Second Renaissance’ of the arts making this the best time in history to be an artist.

The internet is just 30 years old, and it has revolutionised the way we live and work. Jack Conte, CEO Patreon.

Why has creatorship grown so quickly?

There’s been a societal shift in consciousness towards caring more about feeling fulfilled in our jobs, having control over how we spend our time, and being our own boss. It’s not a simple path but people aspire to follow that path that gives their lives meaning (and never leads to a cubicle). The creator economy has led to more startups here to help creators find their niche and make a living.

The burnout generation

So, how do you avoid burnout when your work is your passion and we live and work online? I’ve been there with years of hustle, precarious gigs and living in expensive cities. Energy is finite and we need to respect that. My strategy is to work smarter not harder with scalable systems – creating digital products and services that offer high value. As Anne Helen Peterson says, burnout is a societal problem, not a personal one.

We can’t do this forever. I think we’re gonna have to decide as a society and as a generation to figure this shit out.

We’ve made being busy and ‘always on’ a badge of honour, which needs to change.

Shaping the future of work, travel + citizenship

What will your work life look like post-Covid? It’s predicted there will be one billion digital nomads by 2035. A new visa is emerging, as smart countries see the economic benefit of visitors who work remotely. Estonia, Barbados and Georgia have all launched digital nomad visas – these moves by smaller countries will change the way we work and travel forever.

A rise in slowmads, which is more enjoyable and better for the planet. I want to see a lot more of the world in this way before I pop my clogs!

Connect with me on Nomadlist.

In the meantime, will virtual travel provide the same benefits? I’ll be exploring VR/AR trends for immersive travel and remote work in the metaverse.

If you like what I’m trying to build and want to support me, you can buy me a virtual coffee via Ko-fi.

To offset the carbon emissions of this newsletter and my online business, I plant 12 trees every month and help fund climate projects via Ecologi. I encourage you to do the same in your country – see a list of climate action groups here.

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