Home Education Digital Nomads: Unemployed, Homeless and Happy

Digital Nomads: Unemployed, Homeless and Happy


Ronaldo Mota – Member of the Board of the Presidency of ABMES. Chancellor of the Estácio Group

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, co-working and co-living experiences emerge with great prominence.

Co-working, in short, translates into a new work environment, from which small businesses and freelancers relate to their customers, their suppliers and establish links with each other. They are shared democratic spaces that allow 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 service 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.

Co-workings 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 co-workings 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. To be flexible, in general, one 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 that the co-working spaces offer.

In turn, the co-living 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 questioning the ideals of individualization and the lack of rationality of the existing models.

The concept of co-living, 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, and taking into consideration their differences of times and purposes, co-living presents some level of similarity with the traditional fraternity houses for students at universities.

The combination of co-working and co-living 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 move every month, semester or year from one environment to another thousands of kilometers away, 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 is being called the co-workings and co-livings of “digital nomads” generation.

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 will be alive will see.