Tech Talk: Technology Changes Everything
A shorter road to retirement: retire without quitting.
As many of us get closer to retirement, we start to imagine ourselves at that beach enjoying coffee at sunrise, meals overlooking a beautiful vista, or relaxing with a brandy by a roaring fire at a mountainside retreat, enjoying the well-earned fruits of our labor. While a change in lifestyle and scenery is often what we crave, retirement is a big life-altering change. Many would like to transition by being able to enjoy some of what retirement has to offer, like location and flexibility, while still having the structure, intellectual stimulation, and, let’s face it, the financial rewards of still working.
Because of the changing nature of work and global connectivity, you may no longer have to choose. We rely on laptop computing, the internet, wireless networks, and smart phones to work. These innovations have allowed us to be more productive. The walls of the modern offices have grown less solid, and more of us are freed to work from anywhere and everywhere.
In 2017, Forbes said that up to 43% of people spent at least some time working remotely. Working remotely helps eliminate the time and expense associated with commuting and allows companies to access a much larger talent pool because they are not geographically limited to those willing to relocate or commute daily to their physical location. Also, working remotely allows many people to be more productive, and having work flexibility increases employee satisfaction and retention. Voice and video conferencing apps available on our smartphones allow us to cooperate with the appropriate people over vast distances and time zones without having to deal the costs and inconvenience of travel. This evolution, which allows us to be productive everywhere, has also expanded the options for work in semi-retirement.
Keep your job
You want it all: the location, the lifestyle, but you still love your work and don’t want to give that up completely either. This option involves having an honest conversation with your employer about your plans and goals. Employers love to be efficient, and losing a valuable member of their organization, especially employees who understand their business and have established relationships, is a costly endeavor. In these situations, employers are often willing to make reasonable accommodations in time flexibility and work location to retain a valuable team member.
Traditional employment is not the only option when it comes to working remotely. The technology which has enabled this revolution has also helped to grow and change the very nature of employment. These changes have brought about the “Gig economy.” The Gig economy is basically work without all the strings. It allows people to offer freelance services on a per job basis having the flexibility of time and location.
Websites acting as on-line temp agencies for freelance work have grown exponentially. There are now scores of websites that allow people to offer and find work. Sites such as Fiverr, Upwork, and Freelancer offer opportunities for people to work by the hour, project, or job. While many of these sites allow virtual work from anywhere, others like TaskRabbit are more location specific. They look to match local people in a community with diverse tasks with people who can and want to do the work. The tasks can be anything really; install a ceiling fan, organize a closet, assemble IKEA furniture, pet sit, or simply wait in line. This is a fantastic option for people, especially retirees, who have time to try different things and meet new people but don’t want traditional hours or work environment.
The Life Exotic
Tired of the ordinary and looking for adventure? If your skillset suits remote work, then perhaps you decide to become a true digital nomad for a while. The same technology that allows people to work remotely isn’t hemmed in by borders or time zones. This lifestyle is not for everyone but offers those with a true zest for adventure a new opportunity. Many adventurers use technology to set up shop and live pretty much anywhere on the planet. These digital nomads find connectivity hotspots and commune from Bali to Latvia and other interesting and exotic places around the world. They are drawn to sites that have low costs for living with good co-work spaces. While their living costs are usually low, they are most often working for first world wages. This remote working arrangement offers the flexibility to accommodate the desire for travel and adventure and the need to produce income for all that travel and adventure. While this lifestyle is generally associated with younger people, the advantage of adopting this lifestyle later in life is that you likely have assets to support your travels and can be choosy in finding and taking on new assignments, not to mention better digs.
Technology has changed the way we work and now has the power to positively impact our choices as we decide how we wish to live and work. As technology, such as virtual reality and robotics, become more ubiquitous, our opportunities for and relationship with work will continue to change for the better. So, you can have it all: location, lifestyle, and work. It can all be yours to enjoy as you imagine the vistas that lie ahead.