Home Education Digital Nomads: Unemployed, Homeless and Happy (commented)

Digital Nomads: Unemployed, Homeless and Happy (commented)


Ronaldo Mota, Chancellor of the Estácio Group of Higher Education Institutions

The revolution resulting from the omnipresence of digital technologies is progressively changing essential elements of the world of work and changing the way we live and how we live. Expressions of these changes are the new urban spaces resulting from them. Among them, coworking and coliving experiences emerge with great prominence.

Coworking, in short, translates into a new work environment, by which small businesses and freelancers relate to their customers, their suppliers and establish links with each other. They are shared democratic spaces that allow for the development of the most varied projects without the bureaucracies and hierarchies of conventional offices and without suffering from the isolation of the so-called home office.

Providing an adequate infrastructure similar to conventional offices, including all forms of services and rooms to receive customers, is only the starting point of such ventures. Add to this inspiring environments, especially designed for self-employment, the possibility of new relationships and the guarantee of opportunity for fun for all.

Coworkings are growing fast. In Brazil, there are already hundreds; in the world, thousands. As an example, the WeWork company, founded only eight years ago, is already the second largest user of office space in London, second only to the British Government. The success of coworking is not only a matter of creativity, but, fundamentally, of the fact that we migrate from an economic, social and environmental development model that demanded expert professionals to a new scenario where the main predicate is flexibility. Being flexible, in general, has to have a university education that allows the professional to face any challenge without the fear of deciphering and fulfilling it. Having flexibility is also having the ability to migrate from one city to another, as well as the ability to perform tasks in environments similar to those offered by coworking spaces.

In turn, the coliving spaces represent the state of the art of the human habit of living in community from the most distant eras. Coexistence in tribes and clans was progressively adapted to urban life and increased population density. Currently, at this stage of the story, there is a tendency to question whether it is still worth maintaining a private dwelling, with high expenses and little socialization. The alternative of breaking down walls, facing the crisis of the lack of physical spaces, arises and questions the ideals of individualization and the lack of rationality of the existing models.

The concept of coliving, which encourages integration, sustainability and the spirit of collaboration, dates back to the early 1970s with the Danish Cohousing Saettedammen experience. It was a community with 35 families in Denmark, where the dwellings remained private and the other living spaces and activities, such as meals and cleaning of environments were shared, with the aim of stimulating the relationship between neighbors. In 1988, the American architect Charles Durrett adopted the same sustainable perspective in his undertakings. Although in another context, coliving presents some level of similarity with the traditional fraternities of students, protecting their differences of times and purposes.

The combination of coworking and coliving encourages work, relationships, and entertainment to be the fruits of sharing without barriers or watertight borders. Home, office and club in a single package added to the fact that we can migrate every month, semester or year from one environment to another, separated by thousands of kilometers, without red tape or waste of time with new adjustments. Considering that the trend in professional activities includes not only the diversity of occupations but also the multiplicity of housing opportunities in different cities, this generation was called the coworkings and colivings of “digital nomads”.

It is still a little early, perhaps naive, for us to have a definite opinion about the unfolding of these new ways of living. For now, we know only that these digital nomads appear to be happy. Those who live long enough will see.



Jun 29 at 10:59 AM
The essential phrase in the article: “Being flexible, in general, has to
have a university education that allows the professional to face any
challenge without the fear of deciphering and fulfilling it.”
But I would separate “co-working” and “co-living”. The first (co-working)
has no age, you need to be educated, creative, flexible and have excellent
communication skills.  Nomads return, for sure, digital era is definitely
built by and for nomads.

“Co-living” is age determined. It has a lot with flexibility and low
comfort standards and goes back to Hippy ideology. I wish every young
person tries it once to learn how to live in a foreign culture community,
be free in mind, little bonded and yet useful. But “co-living” with
children has nothing to do with nomads but gypsy settlement with
uneducated children in it. Back to future? no, sorry!