Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Remote Year

Can going Remote connect you with like-minded people?  Working gap years

Gap years (taking time out from study or working in a steady job) used to be the preserve of school leavers and graduates who wanted to broaden their horizons before knuckling down and starting university or entering the world of work.

These days, however, it’s no surprise to hear of established career folk taking time out to build a school in Africa or backpack across South America for several months.

In fact, a number of high profile “gappers” have emerged over the past few years, including the former Bank of England governor, Sir Mervyn King, and former head of Royal Dutch Shell, Peter Voser.

For those of us with less lucrative jobs, though, taking a career break isn’t always a viable option. But what if you could travel the world without having to ditch your salary? That’s exactly what the 75 people involved in Remote Year are doing. (A propaganda piece for this company?)

For $2,000 (£1,332) a month, plus a $3,000 signup fee, participants get all their travel and accommodation organised for them, as well as 24-7 access to a central workspace with Wi-fi, not to mention a chance to network and socialise with like-minded people from around the world

Imagine travelling the world while keeping your salary – that’s the premise behind the Remote Year project|By Rin Hamburgh

Founded by US digital marketer Greg Caplan, Remote Year is a chance for people whose job isn’t tied to a physical location to live in 12 different cities, from Buenos Aires to Kuala Lumpur, while maintaining a regular income.

“The main point of Remote Year really is the community,” Caplan says.

“We spent lots of time finding the best people. People could definitely travel on their own for cheaper if they really wanted, but we think the reason people do Remote Year is because of this group of people they’re with for the entire journey.”

The cost does not seem to have put people off. When Caplan first floated the idea via his website in December 2014 he was overwhelmed by the response. “In the first day alone, more than 1,000 people signed up, and over the next couple of months more than 50,000 signed up,” he says. In the end he had to use an application process to whittle down the numbers.

The first group, which began its travels in Prague in June, consists of 75 people from 15 countries, ranging in age from 23 to 49. Around half are web designers and web developers, but there is also a journalist and a lawyer, an accountant and a sales executive.

Many are self-employed, like Sila Isik, a graphic designer from Istanbul who has been living in London for the past eight years. She combines her design work with entrepreneurial consultancy, acting as a business development director for a number of small business clients. “I’m basically going round the world making partnerships for them, talking about their products, seeing what we can do together,” shesays.

For $2,000 (£1,332) a month, plus a $3,000 signup fee, participants get all their travel and accommodation organised for them, as well as 24-7 access to a central workspace with Wi-fi, not to mention a chance to network and socialise with like-minded people from around the world.

Isik says the group is a great network. “We’re developing projects of our own here,” she says. “Whenever someone has an idea there are lots of people to talk to about it and add their thoughts and their skills.”

Lindsay Daniels, a 27-year-old corporate communications specialist from California, has remained an employee of Polycom, the company she was working for back home, and still has to check in regularly with her manager and the rest of her team.

“Some days I work local time, some days I work from 6pm through past midnight,” she says. “Luckily we have a team in the UK so I can work more closely with them when I’m working local time.”

Although Polycom creates video conferencing software – the very sort of technology that helps people work remotely – Daniels still needed to make a persuasive case for joining Remote Year. “They did have a lot of questions. I think for any company this concept is kind of foreign. But I would imagine that in five or 10 years a lot more people will be doing it,” she says. “Why not accommodate your job with where you want to be and what you want to do, as opposed to the other way round?”

The lifestyle does take some getting used to, Daniels admits. “When you get to a new city you feel like you’re on holiday, you want to go out and see everything. The first couple of weeks was learning where I worked most productively, and when.” But knowing that you’re surrounded by other people in the same situation makes all the difference.

“Working out of a suitcase is exhausting, working different schedules, moving from place to place – so when you’ve got other people pulling all-nighters with you, for example, it makes you feel better.”

Applications have already begun coming in for a second trip, which will kick off in February.

Caplan says he looks for three main things: “The first is … that they have something unique about them to bring to the community. The second is that they’re excited about others’ diversity, that they don’t shun differences but celebrate them. And third is that they’re likely to be successful working remotely for the year, so either they’ve done it before or have a job that can be done remotely.”

Caplan says he hopes the scheme will change society’s perception of what work should look like, and act as a blueprint for other people who want to make remote working a reality. “We’re trying to prove that great work can be done from anywhere, and we’re also trying to prove that the most important thing in life is not actually things but experiences,” he says.

Caplan believes “millennials value experiences over things – they’re OK sharing cars with Uber, sharing living spaces with Airbnb”, and that employers who allow staff to work in this way benefit from a more satisfied and productive workforce.

Career coach Jonathan Mills, co-director of Personal Career Management, says it’s a concept many of his clients would be interested in.

“We all know that remote working is on the increase, and what this shows is that this doesn’t just have to be at home,” he says. “It also has the advantage of being more social. One of the issues of people doing any form of remote work is that they lose the social contact they get in an office environment.”

Mills says this kind of scheme could be particularly useful for those in a transition phase in their career, who want to explore the options open to them.

“It gives them a chance to work out what works for them, because they’re doing the same job but the environment is changing, the culture is changing, the physical location is changing, so it gives them lots of information. And from a career perspective – looking at what next and why – it’s about getting a lot of good information so they can make smart choices.”




August 2022

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