- A ‘lomad’ is a ‘local nomad’. It’s an extension of the digital nomad lifestyle: people work across multiple locations in a city or region without a fixed workplace.
- The pandemic rapidly accelerated the lomad trend, especially as more companies allowed workplace flexibility and technology improved to allow efficient remote collaboration.
- As the number of lomads continue to grow, Robert Kropp dives deeper into the lives of lomads and how this flexible work lifestyle could evolve in the future.
What was clear after the first article on ‘lomads’ and the conversations that followed was that I needed to dive a bit deeper into how we got here and look to the future as the number of lomads continue to grow.
First, what is a ‘lomad’?
A lomad is a ‘local nomad’; an extension of the digital nomad lifestyle.
“Lomads are a group of people that have the option to work across multiple locations around a city or region without a fixed desk or office. Much like a traveler, they book space as needed when, where, and how they need to work that day, week, etc.”
At its core, lomads are the result of many trends converging from pre-pandemic times including:
- Technology and Digital Transformation
- Productivity Research and Workplace Design
- Talent War
- Focus on Employee Experience
- Gig Economy
- Government Legislature (More equal rights for workers, real estate)
- Real Estate Costs & Accounting Rule Changes
- Development of New Workplace Options
These trends have taken years to gain traction. By the late 2010s, only a small percentage had adopted flexible working even though it was first introduced back in the 1970s.
The pandemic rapidly accelerated these trends resulting in rapid change.
Key Changes for Lomads
- Technology: Digital transformation and the adoption of new tools became critical as people were forced to work remotely.
- Real Estate: With more people able to work remotely than ever before and real estate sitting empty for over a year in many places during the pandemic, employers increasingly looked at what portion of their real estate portfolio should be traditional vs flex options.
- Employee Experience: The importance of employee experience and engagement drove changes in the workplace, jobs, retention, productivity metrics, and led to an even greater talent war and what is being called The Great Resignation in some areas of the world.
- Adoption of Flexibility at Work: According to “The Future of Flexibility at Work” in the Harvard Business Review, “true flexibility aligns employers and employees to achieve mutual gain in meeting both performance and work-life needs”. When teams and organizations align on how they all work best, this naturally involves different ways of working and different types of workplaces. In the US, 77% of business leaders plan to adopt a hybrid work model over the next year.
The Growth of the Lomad
Whether it was changes in technology adoption, flex real estate, the employee experience, or greater flexibility at work, each needed to happen at the same time to enable the birth and growth of the lomad as we know it today.
Challenges & The Future
One of the greatest challenges for any remote or hybrid workforce, including lomads, is finding the right balance of autonomy, productivity, engagement, and wellness.
“As far as what employees want and need from the workplace” there is no one size fits all solution.
“Work preferences varied among teams, with one-third saying they enjoyed working from the office, another third preferred working from home, and the rest finding a flexible office would be most convenient.”
I for one found it important to try out different levels of working from home versus in a flexible workspace for myself and my colleagues. It took some time but was critical for me in finding out how and where I am my most productive and engaged.
Moving forward, lomads will continue to help shape the workspaces and cities in which we live. This includes how and where these workplaces develop, where infrastructure such as high-speed bandwidth is invested in, and even where people and businesses relocate to.
Depending on where many lomads are located around a city or region, there might not be enough workspace capacity, infrastructure, or services available today to support them.
As a result, there should be a greater focus by flexible workspace operators, landlords, employers, platforms, marketplaces, governments, individuals, and many other people working together to find the best way to support this growth now and into the future.
If you have any comments for me, feel free to reach out.