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A 'No Madic' Way of Life


Simon Hewitt at Orange Panther Collective on the balance between the freedom of working from anywhere, with the haven of a hub where you can reconnect face to face with your people

A 'No Madic' Way of Life

As I write this I’m looking out across the Bandung Strait from Sanur on mainland Bali to Nusa Lembongan. I won’t lie, it’s a hell of a view. 

Sat on my MacBook I look around and see I’m joined by several others doing the same, and we all look like (and I guess we all are in some respect) stereotypical digital nomads. 

It’s a categorisation that’s been around since the '80s and grew rapidly with the proliferation of laptops and the internet in the '90s and noughties. But it feels like it only really came into its own in the last couple of years, since Covid normalised remote working. Further cemented by the fact Digital Nomad visas only started coming out in 2020.

So as I sit here tapping away I can’t help but ponder whether I could genuinely live life as a digital nomad.

Explore the world, try new things every day, fewer responsibilities, live like royalty on a shoestring, meet a whole raft of new and interesting people, the tantalizing list goes on… Add to that the ability to work pretty much anywhere (you should see the wifi speeds at even the remotest beach shacks on the remotest parts of Bali) it all feels incredibly inviting.

There are also reports that state productivity from people who work from anywhere increases somewhere between 4% to 40%, depending on who you believe. But even taking a modest middle ground of a 10%-15% increase, that’s still impressive and can be monumental for many businesses.

So there are clearly human and commercial perks to a digitally nomadic way of life.

But with all those perks comes the flipside and the biggest of which has to be the solitude. It’s clearly inherent in the nomadic name that solitude is a part of the deal and I’m sure that appeals to many at a certain point in their life. It talks to simplicity, individualism, freedom and fluidity, again all have some appeal. But I have to be honest, for me it just creates a massive yearning to be with my people, to be with my tribe.

“We humans are a social species, tribal by nature. We’re given to gathering and communing in familiar groups. “Belonging”, our capacity and need for empathy, compassion, and communication, is in our DNA” - Psychology Today

I know there’s plenty of debate about the positives and negatives of tribalism but I’m a firm believer that we are our best as a group of people working closely together, bouncing off each other, leaning on each other, borrowing wisdom from each other and being greater than the sum of our parts, together.

Reflecting on some recent challenges we have faced at the Orange Panther Collective, I am convinced that had we tackled them in solitude we would have found it infinitely harder and our solution likely to be far less beneficial.

And other data says the benefits of working closely together reduces burnout, increases mental health, leads to greater innovation and idea generation.

To be honest, as with so many things in life, I think the perfect answer lies in balance. A balance between the freedom of working from anywhere, but with the haven of a hub where you can reconnect face to face with your people. And that’s why the OPC model works so well, we get to have the best of both worlds.

So right now, looking out across this beautiful vista, acknowledging my nomadic mates, sipping my coffee, listening to my music and trying to feel the possibility of this alternative way of life, the reality is I can’t wait to be back in the office next week with my team, chewing the fat and being our brilliant best, together.

Just hoping BA don’t lose our bloody bags, again….


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Orange Panther Collective, Mon, 09 Jan 2023 12:59:35 GMT