3 Tips to Navigate the Future of Work and Travel Be prepared to take advantage of the benefits while being cautious of the downsides.
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By the end of 2021, it is estimated that over 25% of employed people in the United States will work remotely, despite the inevitable reopening of offices around the country. The global pandemic has helped employers and employees realize that working remotely can have drastic benefits on productivity and personal well-being. What is yet to be determined, is if once deemed "essential business travel" will also be cut to accommodate a digital-first professional environment.
If so, one could argue travel will now be a natural blend of personal pursuit along with a necessary working schedule, rooted in a location-independent and flexible environment. This shift was expected eventually but has now become a reality for the catalysts of what will become the new norm.
To learn more about the future of work and travel, Nomad Lane co-founder Kish Vasnani shared his insights based on building and scaling a remote-first company over the past five years. This includes launching a successful $2 million crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo and building the perfect work environment with his wife and fellow co-founder Vanessa Jeswani.
Prior to launching Nomad Lane, Vasnani worked in the hustle and bustle of New York's enterprise software sales world, where a demanding work and travel schedule began to take its toll and led to a passion for figuring out the perfect balance of work, personal life and travel. These tips are some of his takeaways that other entrepreneurs can apply to their own businesses.
1. Create defined boundaries when possible
Work and personal lives are becoming more intertwined as remote work becomes commonplace. While this arrangement provides many tangible benefits, it can also become problematic if not actively managed. The ideal future of work will include a fully flexible schedule that allows people to strike the delicate balance of producing strong work results while maintaining a happy personal life.
What is important is creating an environment that caters to both. For work, you want to establish a quiet workspace with strong wifi, free from household distractions. Set dedicated hours to accomplish specific work and personal tasks. The best part is with these boundaries in place, you can reap the massive benefits that working from home can offer.
Vasnani says, "Boundaries are key and should be an active discussion for any professional and their families. Set times to accomplish work and times throughout the day to spend time with your family. While it might be tough at first, it surely beats working long hours in an office and losing quality family time to commuting."
2. Prioritize convenience and flexibility in products and services
Recent data found that hotel occupancy rates are now increasing again, with nearly a 100% occupancy rate near airports and in certain popular travel destinations. Additionally, TSA checkpoint data found that domestic travel in February 2021 was nearly 40% of the volume of February 2020. Some experts assume this implies professionals are traveling for longer and in some cases with their families, not just for specific work purposes.
To get ready for this shift, it is recommended to be ready for quick trips, meetings and working vacations. For Vasnani, this preparation includes having an office equipped with all of his daily work essentials and grab-and-go products for spontaneous trips. Find which products fit this crossover and eliminate most of the headaches associated with packing.
Vasnani says, "We are witnessing the rise of the mobile office. People now are finding products and services that are tailored for this lifestyle. The goal being, the less friction you have crossing over between the two, the happier and more productive you will be. This requires preparation and potentially a budget to make sure your environments are ready to go. It won't be uncommon to see professionals travel on a blended family vacation and working trip, including longer-term stays."
3. Optimize your daily communication
As more work shifts permanently remote, there are new challenges that arise. For example, a fully remote working environment lacks the intimacy that most office environments have due to a lack of face-to-face interaction. It is likely that a blended work and travel norm will emerge in the future, meaning communication will also be blended. In order to maximize your efficiency, creating a communication cadence is critical.
For some, this could be as simple as building routines that allow proactive and assertive communication. For others that need more structure, staying organized is key. The goal should be to make everyone's job and life easier by being an effective communicator — even if it's as simple as optimizing how you schedule meetings.
Vasnani explains, "For best results in online meetings, always start and end your meetings on time, especially if you're the host. Working in different locations and time zones in a Zoom world means that attention is key for the defined period of time. A calendar invitation with meeting details, agenda and amount of time goes a long way to making sure everybody is on the same page."