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Work Post-Covid-19 II

The Drivable Office: RVs, Motorcoaches, 5th Wheels, and Campers Become the Remote Office of the Future.


The coronavirus has been a catalyst for remote work and 31% of people surveyed said that COVID-19 was the trigger that allowed remote work at their company.

Yes, there has been a massive shift to working from home and 88% of organizations in the U.S. have encouraged or required their employees to work from home and 91% of teams in the Asian Pacific Region have implemented ‘work from home’ arrangements since the outbreak.

A recent Gardner study showed business endurance was a top concern for C-level executives with 71% worried about continuity and productivity during the pandemic.

However, remote work has done more than insure continuity, it’s had a positive impact on workforce retention, so much so that organizations should expect 75% of their staff to ask for expanded remote work hours in the future.

Managed correctly, remote work will dramatically boost productivity. Gardner concluded that remote workers are 35-40% more productive than people who work in corporate offices.

For the company, 77% of executives agree that it will lower operating expenses.

Because of this, remote work is here to stay and 74% of companies plan to permanently shift to more remote work as we move into the post-Covid era.

With these changes permeating business culture, workers are now being unleashed to explore far more exotic lifestyles by taking their work with them as they explore the world.


Developing Mobile Work-Life Strategies

For many, summer is the time to hit the road in a camper or RV, taking time off work to see the country from the comfort of a home on wheels.

But many free-spirited adventurers are now thinking summer never has to end. Taking advantage of the growing ubiquity of wireless Internet, the RV or camper can easily be converted into a drivable mobile office.

As of last year, 8.9 million American households owned RVs, and a smaller subset included roughly a half-million who lived full-time on the road. But it’s hard to know exactly how many of those full-timers and part-timers have actually learned how to work from the road.

After Covid-19, the nature of telework is making it easier than ever to work without a fixed physical location.

Naturally one of the critical components of having a remote office is good Wi-Fi. According to KOA CEO Pat Hittmeier, almost all 485 KOA campgrounds sites across the country have free Wi-Fi.

When Wi-Fi is not in range, those doing business on the go will turn to network air cards or satellite dishes.

We have seen a recent explosion of people opting to take their work in this fashion. A record number of RVs, motorcoaches, fifth wheel campers, and trailers are currently in the process of being converted into both office and living spaces.

If you ask why they’ve chosen to do their work from a recreational vehicle, many will cite the freedom that comes with a mobile lifestyle.

Whether they’re working from an RV park in Tuscan, a hotel room in Seattle, or their grandmother’s farm in Indiana, both their work-life and family-life will undergo a number of transitions along the way.


Establishing a Mobile Base of Operations

Mobile offices don’t need to be fancy, they only need to be functional! [/caption]People tend to forget the importance of their local traffic patterns, because where they go and people they meet with on a semi-regular basis is important.

For example, moving into a new city they’ll need to find good referrals for doctors, dentists, chiropractors, auto mechanics, and veterinarians.

While most interactions with bankers, accountants, and lawyers can be done remotely, getting an engine repaired, finding an electrician, plumber, or new tires will require adding a few new contacts to a smartphone.

Even coordinating the delivery of an Amazon package can be a challenge.

Those who are on specialty diets such as vegan, gluten-free, lactose-free, or vegetarian may have trouble finding restaurant options in remote locations.

Very few situations, however, will be considered serious show-stoppers for the determined traveler.


Going Driverless

Driverless technology will invariably open the door to a whole new era of non-commuting vehicles, and one of the earliest examples we’ll see will be the driverless mobile office.

If you can imagine having an “office” pull up in your driveway, with dimmable windows, projectors, sound systems, 5G-enabled, with flexible, reconfigurable furniture that is perfect for both working alone and hosting meetings, you’ll get the picture.

Executives only need wireless access and the entire day can be managed from their mobile office, picking up people for each new meeting, and dropping them off before the next meeting begins.

Rather than working from an isolated home or a single office, mobile offices will add exotic new dimensions to every workday. But they can be far more than just an office.

A mobile office can also be working laboratories, tattoo parlors, manufacturing operation, arbitration court, zoning resolution station, police command center, mobile ER, fertility clinic, or pawn shop. Some will be owned by government agencies, some by businesses, but others will be part of a fleet and leased on a per-use basis.

Most importantly, these vehicles can operate as moving billboards, wrapped in branding slogans, with marketing messages emblazoned on every available surface.


Final Thoughts

If you’re considering setting up a driveable mobile office, you’re not alone. But having the perfect office to fit your needs may be challenging.

Offices designed for a podcaster, videographer, graphic artist, programmer, script writer, jewelry maker, and movie editor will all require different toolsets.

In general, remote offices need a well-designed desk, good chair, great computer, ergonomic layout, solid internet connection, privacy, backup storage, and excellent lighting. You might also want to include extra video cameras, microphones, switchers, and backup plans for when things go wrong because things will always go wrong.

As the world emerges from the coronavirus, one nation after another will rise out of their collective cabin-fever. With lingering fears about social distancing and a possible return of the virus during flu season, travelers will most likely focus on drivable options.

Many places are already documenting an increase in camping and outdoor activities in areas where the current coronavirus hit earlier than the U.S., namely in Japan and Korea, where families are pitching tents rather than staying in hotels.

As air travel limps back into operation and most public transportation systems around the world are operating on drastically reduced schedules, people are re-imagining new ways to travel in a post-pandemic world.

Road trips are poised to make a resurgence as travelers shy away from international destinations requiring long flights and walking through crowded airports. They’re looking to travel and enjoy all the wonders of the world in ways that they feel are safe and comfortable.

For these reasons, we are witnessing a powerful new trend where the idea of working from a drivable office takes center stage.


By Futurist Thomas Frey

Author of “Epiphany Z – 8 Radical Visions for Transforming Your Future


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