When traveling and teleworking abroad effectively fights for more responsible tourism

The #digitalnomade hashtag has over 3.6 million posts on Instagram. Some studies predict a billion digital nomads by 2035.

The number of companies advocating full remote control or remote control is changing day by day. The same trend for coworking spaces, which has increased 60% since 2019 [2]. All of these numbers are clear evidence of a phenomenon that continues to grow.

This finding may seem alarming in the light of recent reports by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) and its recommendations to curb global warming before the damage is irreversible. The researchers are in favor of a CO2 footprint corresponding to 2 tCO2 equivalents / person and per year. At present, the national average is just below 9tCO2 equivalents / person [1].

While teleworking abroad has emerged and will intensify in the coming years, is nomadism an option or a danger? We must first identify the forms of nomadism that can be classified into:

1. Digital nomads who confuse teleworking and Instagram

It is the travelers who should no longer exist. They follow the movements according to the instagrammable spots. They are found 11 months a year in bikinis or bulging breasts on beaches around the world. They sip cocktails on hammocks in Mauritius. They take selfies on an elephant’s back. They tore their jet ski close to a Thai coral reef. In short, they participate with pleasure in the environmental difficulty that unfolds at airports. Some would have a CO2 footprint 30 times larger [2] to what is needed to slow global warming.

In addition to rotting the image of the true nomadic worker, they live a deviant lifestyle, dangerous to the environment and local economies. With their wages as influencers and their purchasing power several times greater than the local GDP of the destinations they colonize, they create an unhealthy relational climate where money is more valuable than discovery and sharing.

2. Semi-nomadism, the perennial model

Semi-nomadism, also called flexible nomadism, is nothing new. It is the logical development of posting, a freelance version or a modern employee. It is a lifestyle where travelers can maintain a foothold in their home country while allowing themselves to travel abroad for longer periods of time. We must encourage these French people to travel less frequently, for longer, more authentically. Leave the 5% of destinations where 95% of the population is concentrated, the future of teleworking will take place in Plovdiv, Puerto Escondido, Seville ….

The supernomados who invest in the planet

Far from the bleak picture currently being portrayed, digital nomads may prove to be real assets for the environment. Some collectives use their social power to act in favor of the planet. This is the case with Nomads Giving Back! or Hub Nomade, in France. In Bali, Medellin, Santo Domingo, Buenos Aires, they are involved in creating a social impact on the destination through skills sharing programs, easier access to volunteer work for their members or concrete action with local NGOs. They replant corals, they teach English, provide access to digital knowledge, develop the craft companies’ well-known …

Far from the sulfur-containing image of influencers, they give back to raise his nobility letters while proving that you can work abroad while doing good.

Should we then encourage French companies to introduce immediate and effective measures to facilitate work and reduce the environmental footprint of telecommunications workers? Yes but how?

  • The implementation of a teleworking day package: It is designed according to the model of certain French groups, such as the IMA group [3]. It makes it possible to supplement weeks of vacation with weeks at a distance, to prolong the immersion and really enjoy the destination. More comfortable, it promotes personal development and provides more space for the well-being of employees or foreigners. When it is not used to going abroad, it opens the doors to French regions, to the delight of locavores. It also allows you to enjoy your family for a longer period of time during this year’s graduation party. Recent surveys show that 54% of employees feel that they have a greater innovation capacity and are more creative when working at a distance, while 72% of employees say that they are less tired when working at a distance. [4].
  • Implementation of a telework check: In December 2021, a telework check worth € 600 was under consideration [5]. He had to cover the cost of electricity, renting a coworking or buying computer equipment. Since then, there is no more news. We would like it reinstated as soon as possible. It must serve to frame and encompass all the environmental steps that an employee or freelancer has taken to continue producing value at a distance. It should also cover less polluting travel costs, such as trains or CO2 compensation, as well as the purchase of refurbished equipment (computers, telephones, cameras) and the use of green energy.

More than ever before, it is imperative to stop stigmatizing a global trend in the name of a handful of behaviors (still the most visible) irresponsible. Digital nomadism, when practiced well, is a social and economic engine that is as beneficial to the local population as it is to personal development. Provided you practice it in a reasoned manner.

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