Within the space of 9 days, I’ve gone from sitting in a cosy coffee shop in wintery downtown Manhattan, tapping away at my laptop in a five hours post-GMT, to having lunch and discussing projects with my colleagues in our Soho office in rainy London, and now sitting in a beach bar in Thailand, seven hours ahead, laptop still poised beneath my fingers.
Sounds like one heck of a holiday allowance, right? Not quite – Because looking around, in every single bar, restaurant or shack which happens to have a free wifi connection, there’s at least one person hunched over their keyboard, (albeit with pina colada in hand) tapping away fastidiously, filing in their copy before their bosses are even awake back home. With wifi available to now over 3 billion people globally, and a predicted 300 million trips to be undertaken by enterprising millennials in 2020 – you’ve got to admire this creative interpretation of the concept of ‘working from home’.
‘Remote Worker’, ‘Mobile Bohemian’, ‘Digital Nomad’ – these are phrases which have become increasingly prevalent – and relevant – in the way we talk about work in creative industries. It’s indisputable that millennials, those of Generation Y, are changing the world faster than ever before. For decades we have assumed that the only way work can get done is within the same four walls of the office, or through some serious self-administered willpower from working at home.
But with 92% of millennials identifying ‘flexibility’ as the top priority when looking for the ideal workplace, this is becoming vastly and rapidly outdated. How are we meant to keep the fresh, vibrant minds of our young creatives inspired when they’re needlessly sat in the same spot, staring at the same screen in the same office, day in day out?
The whole world is always trying to suss out what the young people of today want, and how we can sell it to them. But this is not something exclusive to just young consumers. Millennials aren’t this new alien species who just speak in the hieroglyphs of emojis and can only express feelings within 140 characters. It’s an entire generation of humans, a point of evolution which has altered the direction of humanity, forever. They make up our workforces too, and ignoring that in sight of trying to please the millennial consumer is simply counter-intuitive.
Because one of the greatest virtues the internet has given us, is the concept of the E-office, birthing a whole new type of worker, and breathing new life into their work too. Now we can attend meetings, conferences, even exhibitions remotely, watching live streams of events, skyping bosses and dialling in to conference calls with ease. Of course, there’s a small, inevitable compromise on the value of real human connection – and maybe this is not to suggest employees remain in a permanent state of international travel – but perhaps the notion of ‘taking holiday’ is up for reconsideration. With employees able to keep up with assignments and briefs remotely, freedom within that remoteness is paramount, and essential for both success and employee satisfaction. And it’s needless to say that happy workers make brilliant work.
In my eyes, millennials are the new human, adults who have kept all of the virtues of childhood. Wild, inspired, open-minded, fearless, vibrant and uncompromisingly ambitious, the future belongs to them, a future which has already been born from the internet. And so inevitably, the success of the future depends on the liberation and embracement of the new human, to be able to create wonderful things, freely, independently, and sometimes internationally.
The future belongs to millennials, and the future of creation lies with the digital nomads.