The Future of Work?

Work is a funny thing – housework, homework, office work, working from home and now working remotely (meaning really you could be anywhere).

At an ‘Internations’ event here in Marrakech the other day I met some expats who had joined a programme paying $2K a month for a year to travel to a different place in the world every month while they worked remotely. ‘It’s the future of work‘ said Sangeeta, an Australian Strategist from the Banking sector who signed up to the programme to take a ‘year out’ from her home and her marriage.

I guess in many ways it is the future for professionals and much more progressed in the US, UK etc as a modus operandi. The release of a workforce from a ‘place’ creates cost savings and enables a kind of freedom in work and life we’ve not experienced before – particularly appealing to those with travel in their DNA, or busy parents who need to juggle the demands of work with raising a family.

However, like many societal innovations in our modern world there is a gaping chasm between developed and developing markets which is still quite marked. And its hard to live in an economy like this knowing that I make more in a couple of weeks tapping away at a keyboard and drinking coffee, than the locals would in 6 months – it feels fake, and I feel guilty. It’s also very hard to explain what you do, and locals tend to see it as not real work, therefore less worthwhile.

However while some here feel ‘enslaved’ by the need to work in quite physically demanding jobs, there is also a refreshing attitude to work as part of life but not life itself. Work is cleaning the house, cleaning yourself several times a day, cooking and making a living – it’s an honourable and accepted part of life ‘work is good‘ defines you as a good person for those who choose that path.

So don’t feel like you need to barter too hard in the Souks, or bulk at giving a few Dirham to a guy whose photo you want to take because it’s kind of picturesque for a Westerner to photograph poverty (they hate that by the way) – he may have waited all day to sell something to feed his family, his world is defined by gritty toil for not much reward.

We are the lucky internationals maybe we are are tied to our laptops with burgeoning back and neck problems, but we have a freedom few over here could even dream of – no wonder they see Europe and the US as a promised land.