New technologies have made it easier than ever to work remotely. So much so that employees are increasingly expecting the right to work from home to be a benefit as essential as paid holiday. In fact I’m sure some of you are reading this while booting up your remote desktop and sipping coffee in your living room or home office.
The ability to work remotely is becoming an increasingly common perk in many jobs. This increase is driven by evidence showing that flexible work patterns improve productivity and employee happiness. As well as recent improvements in remote desktop and communication technologies.
Some people take this to the next level by only working remotely. In general these are freelancers but there is a growing belief that the future of work is remote. The argument is that remote work gives employees the freedom to travel or spend time with their families while allowing employers to have access to top talent without the difficulties of a lengthy recruitment process.
A new Dutch start-up, Flexpat, is looking to plug into the remote work trend in a big way. The founders; Georgi Nikolov from Bulgaria and Arthur Nobel from the Netherlands, began Flexpat six months ago. Flexpat was founded with the aim of opening up the “Work and Travel” lifestyle to more people. In order to find out more about them I had a chat with one of the co-founders, Arthur.
Flexpat is looking to tap into the belief that remote work is the future
The motivations behind starting Flexpat are deeply rooted in the founders’ own experiences. Arthur, who has visited more than 30 countries, found that maintaining resources while traveling was a struggle. He also found that many people wanted to live the work and travel lifestyle but didn’t believe it to be obtainable, at least not for them.
Many people want to break away from their desks but the realities of a 9 to 5 job often hit home. It is difficult to build your network when you are forced to sit at your desk with very little flexibility. Even once you do break away you have to invest a lot of time and effort into continuing to build that network and to obtain new projects.
It was from those experiences and struggles that Flexpat was born. Founded on what Arthur described as “The conviction to enable people to work remotely and explore the world without sacrificing one’s career or financial security.”
Flexpat is supposed to provide more freedom for Employees and Employers
Unsurprisingly, Flexpat sells itself on flexibility. The platform’s aim is to help ease the transition from office to remote work by providing a service that ensures its freelancers have a stable income and a ready made client base. While also providing employers with a diverse pool of talent they can draw from.
Arthur hopes that Flexpat will set itself apart from other platforms by striving to “build a sustainable work and travel lifestyle, deeply rooted in long-term relationships” . As opposed to short term one off relationships. Flexpat is also designed to make the transition to becoming a full time remote worker less difficult by cutting out a lot of the time spent searching for and negotiating contracts. Hopefully opening up the lifestyle for talented individuals without the time or networks to start freelancing on their own.
They also hope that employers will be attracted to the platform. Particularly because Flexpat allows them to upscale or downscale their operations on a relatively rapid scale while still having access to a wide pool of pre-vetted, qualified people who they can build lasting relationships with.
It’s all about the network
Any of us who have attempted remote working know that it can sometimes be a lonely experience compared to working in an office. You miss that interaction with your colleagues and it can be easy to forget that you are working with other human beings. This can even be a problem when working abroad, as Arthur himself found when he first began working in a small Malaysian company as the only westerner.
This is where Flexpat comes into its own. They plan to take full advantage of social media in order to build a community of people networked around the world through the service. Flexpat will use a careful vetting process this network will provide people with a network of ready made colleagues and friends wherever they choose to move. In essence building a close-knit community of travel minded professionals.
Is Flexpat the future?
Flexpat has just begun its first round of interviews and on boarding with the first set of candidates being selected in August. Even though it’s early days Arthur and Georgi have their eyes on the future; with plans in motion to set up a community app, workshops and challenge projects.
It might be early days but remote work is really beginning to catch on. If Flexpat make good on their promises to provide the freedom and security to work and travel, they will make a big impact on the way we approach work.