Commentary

Good things that come out of this pandemic

Anyone can name a million things that could get worse after corona, so I won’t bother.

Let us see how the corona-crisis might actually improve our lives in the future.

Home office

Let us start with the obvious. Home office will become more widespread. Germany had already moved to make it an employee’s right to request it.

It is not for everyone and it doesn’t work not in every vocation, but it is suitable for more people than are currently allowed to work from home and thus skip the eternal rat race of morning shave, 5-euro coffee, hours-long commute, and all-day tie and bra wearing.

Building office towers to store non-physical workers during the day and making them show up there is an obvious residue of assembly-line era thinking, when the more suffering – the better it must be for productivity was the dumb rule of thumb. About time HR stop talking about those boxes and start thinking outside of them. May give them extra work – but something has to.

Besides, not being able to work the office will always put certain office workers in a more difficult positions. I mean the ones who spend their days with office politics, rather than work, who position themselves and get ahead while the hard-working ones are doing their work for them. They make honest employees feel stupid, they are demoralizing and they make more because they are cynical. They won’t be missed.

Many more of us can become digital nomads

…as a consequence of the proliferation of home office.

Our generations, millennials and younger, have already gave up on geographical settlement as a life goal. Not sure if it ever was a worthy one.

We have embraced moving around as a perk rather than a burden imposed upon us by workplace uncertainty and job insecurity. We took the lemon of small wages and no promotions and took it with us to Thailand to turn it into hammocks and sunshine. We will never have a worthy living space in a city with jobs in it, but we look at the bright side of it.

And with the post-corona transition to reduce unnecessary physical contact and in-office presenteeism, we might as well head for the cheaper shores. It doesn’t help third world citizens who will now have to cope with even more opportunistic first worlders taking advantage of cheaper living elsewhere, but it might let the pressure out of the first world where economic insiders take ever greater efforts to legally keep newcomers out. We weren’t born boomers, but we are still better off than third world strugglers.

People, borders make humans miserable. Don’t let your fancy first world travel permits (passports) blind you. States own you and if you are unlucky enough to be owned by a mean one, your efforts to improve your circumstances are all but hopeless. It is not talent, it is not effort, it’s just dumb luck.

And just in time for the digital nomad revolution…

Airbnb reigns in the tyranny of landlords and real estate agents globally

Airbnb introduced new features aimed at longer-term stays triggered by the pandemic and the opportunities it created. “Airbnb is betting how and where people work will evolve; in the company’s view, it’s heading toward longer-term stays. Recent data shared by Airbnb supports that view. In the last two weeks of March, the company saw the number of guests booking longer-term stays within their same cities nearly double. Meanwhile, 80% of Airbnb hosts now accept longer-term stays and about half of the company’s active listings now provide discounts for stays of one month or longer… Airbnb has more than 1 million listings that offer monthly stays, according to the company. These homes are equipped with the kinds of amenities required for a longer stay, such as kitchens, laundry facilities and Wi-Fi.”

The COVID-19 pandemic appears to have given Airbnb the last push to venture into the heavily protected playground of useless rental agents sitting on state-guaranteed cuts of your rent, and whimsical landlords demanding breathtaking amount of paperwork and breaches of privacy (like bank statements and health certificates). But the trend has already been afoot in 2019. According to Airbnb, one in every seven nights booked in 2019 was for a longer-term stay.

It doesn’t have to be just Airbnb – but as things are only a giant can crack down on the juicy rent-seeking of real estate agents, especially the ones who don’t even work for their money. Berlin, I’m looking at you…

The post continues… 

 

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