Industry Update
External Article25 September 2020

Is the office obsolete? Many travelers hope so

As the pandemic drags on, remote workers see unexpected opportunities to become digital nomads.

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1 min
National Geographic

ARTHUR DEANE NEVER imagined that the digital nomad lifestyle—traveling the world while working remotely—was for him. As a senior manager for tech giant Google, he thought being in an office was essential for the job. But the pandemic changed that.


Four months of working from his apartment in Washington, D.C., had him going stir crazy and needing to get out. After researching places where Americans were allowed to travel and reasonable safety precautions seemed to be in place, he jetted to Aruba for a week in July.

"I wanted to dip my toes into the water, literally and figuratively," he says.

Now, he's looking at returning to Aruba or one of the other destinations open to Americans for a longer trip. There are still details to sort out, but he has time: Google's U.S. offices aren't reopening until July 2021—at the earliest.

For Deane, the chance to work remotely for a few months each year while maintaining a home base in the U.S. could be an ideal setup—and a reality sometime soon.

"I don't see returning to an office full-time being the way of the future," he says. "The pandemic has taught us that we can be productive without being in the office, Monday to Friday, nine to five."

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