REPORT: Migration Patterns in a New Working Life

Where do people choose to live (and work) and in what way are migration patterns changing on a global scale?

In our fourth report, produced together with Futurion (a Swedish think tank for the Future of Work), we have gathered a number of signals showing both temporary and more permanent migration; the development of work-life related communities; and the impact of this on local development. The signals are placed in a context of how they are affecting work life, and vice versa.

Three important trends we have drawn on:

1. Temporary Moves

More individuals are taking advantage of their remote work situation to move to new countries or try a new way of life. These individuals range from full-time digital nomads, rarely living more than a few months in a city, to tech talent attracted to a country by national campaigns (such as the 90-Day Finn program). Certain countries, such as the Bahamas or Estonia have also made it easier for workers to obtain 1-year working visas to come and live in the country.

Individuals in this category of ‘temporary movers’ could be a gold mine for the tourism industry: we are already seeing government initiatives in Madeira, for example, to create a good infrastructure for nomadic workers to ‘co-live’ and co-work.

2. Building a Community

During the coronavirus pandemic, it has been important for people to show solidarity in their local areas, and rely more on local communities and produce. Villages, islands and regions are encouraging local development by investing in digital infrastructure to enable remote communities and support. In turn, and in line with creative attraction campaigns, this is attracting new talent to these areas, and supporting local business and development.

Digital nomads have formed travelling groups around the world, and communities of ex-city dwellers are building up and supporting each other to move to greener areas. Similarly, dwindling villages are seeking to attract new residents through development of good remote-work infrastructure, and schools for families with children.

3. Permanent Moves

Following repeated global confinements due to the coronavirus pandemic, companies have adapted to function fully remotely, and inner-city residents have realised a need for more green space and proximity to nature. This has driven an increase in inner-city movers to the suburbs, or more rural areas: to be closer to family, or nature, or go back to their hometowns.

Now that people can remote work, most hope never to have to go back to the office full-time. They benefit from changes in company policy to move further than normal commuting distance from their offices, in a bid (amongst other things) to improve quality of life and live more cheaply. Now that individuals are committing to remote work, companies and company policy should do the same. Office spaces may also reflect this: they will not need to be as big, and the focus of the office may need to turn more towards collaborative workspace than individual workspace.


Read the full report below (in Swedish) – English release coming soon!

Download the full report (in Swedish)