The global pandemic completely changed every industry. Businesses had to adapt fast to prevent the spreading of the virus. Even though remote work might have sounded like something that won’t work at first, the results showed that spending time out of the office has more benefits than downsides.
The Becker Friedman Institute for Economics at the University of Chicago surveyed 10,000 remote workers, and 30% of them said they were more productive at home than in an office. Furthermore, the researchers discovered that remote workers saved 9 billion hours by not commuting for seven months during the pandemic’s peak.
However, a new trend emerged among remote workers in the past year – packing up and moving to non-urban locations. People from major cities all around the globe are looking into buying properties in the countryside. So what has prompted this change?
Nature and the countryside have never been more accessible to people used to working in cities. Since they no longer need to commute and spend a whole day in an office, seeking pleasant surroundings is a logical next step.
A new trend?
The truth is this is not a new trend. However, more workers are now free to explore living in non-urban areas. And considering all the stress, we have been through in the last two years, escaping the concrete jungle could do wonders for mental health.
Digital nomads and freelancers knew this before the pandemic. Their numbers have been on a steady rise in the last decade. These modern-day adventurers want to explore the world and work while doing so. They move from one country to another country freely, meet new people, use co-working spaces, and learn about new cultures.
Co-working spaces are popping up pretty much everywhere. And this makes the digital nomad lifestyle a lot easier. Even if you are not a digital nomad, you probably know that freelancers flock to Bali, Indonesia, because of the weather, nature, and relaxed lifestyle.
Then we have Portugal, a country that is super welcoming to freelancers. They have an entire village on the island of Madeira that is for digital nomads only. The surroundings are incredible, with untouched nature all around. This idea improved tourism on the island, especially in the offseason. There are benefits for both locals and freelancers who decide to spend a couple of months in Madeira.
Suddenly in the spotlight
As we can see, the idea of remote work is not an unfamiliar one. But why do people from urban areas want to move to the countryside right now? We all expected that workers would be back in the offices once the pandemic was over. What made remote work attractive, and is it here to stay?
The answer is yes. Both employers and employees benefit from working remotely, regardless of the location. It doesn’t matter if you are in the city or a non-urban area as long as you show up every day and do the work. Your office could be hundreds of miles away, and you can still be productive.
Businesses can grow a lot thanks to this change. Office rents are insane in large cities like New York, Los Angeles, London, etc. With the hybrid or remote work models, they can save money in the long run and invest it elsewhere.
Then there is access to talented people from all corners of the world. There is no need to hire locally anymore. If you find someone with the skills you need in your company, you can hire them on the spot even though they live on another continent.
Furthermore, a large percentage of employees are thrilled by the idea of remote work. It allows them to spend extra time with their families, especially when they don’t have to commute every day to the office.
Working from home also improves mental health and overall performance. Employees can do much more in a day thanks to the flexible work hours. It is easy to organize the workload. Plus, employees have the option to work from pretty much anywhere. If they want to move to the countryside, they are free to do so.
Cybersecurity in non-urban areas
When employees move to a non-urban area, it doesn’t mean all the cybersecurity dangers are behind them. They still have to use technology and software that enables them to be connected to their office during work hours.
These shared networks have various cybersecurity mechanisms, but one wrong click could put all the information in danger. That is why employees need to stay alert even if they live in the middle of nowhere. What can you do to protect your personal information?
First of all, continue to update your software regularly. Cybercriminals are great at exploiting security flaws. Running the latest version of an operating system is a must, no matter which line of work you are in.
Then we have to talk about useful apps that can help you bring your cybersecurity to the next level. VPN for PC is an excellent idea for those who like to work in public places. Rural areas still have cozy cafes where you can sit down, power up your laptop, and enjoy a cup of coffee.
VPN for PC will keep your connection secure through encryption. You can be sure that no third party can access the information you send or receive while you have a VPN for your PC switched on. If you move to a different country, a VPN can change your IP address. Your company’s network won’t be confused by your sudden IP change.
Benefits of living in a non-urban area
You are probably considering moving to a non-urban area right now, so it is the perfect time to go over some of the benefits of leaving large cities. Of course, most of you won’t stay there permanently, but even a couple of weeks can do wonders for your wellbeing.
Perhaps one of the main draws to a non-urban area is the lower cost of living. Rent is not super high, and groceries are more affordable too. Not to forget that you will have easier access to organic food at local markets. It is always a plus for those who want to lead a healthier lifestyle.
Then we have to talk about mental health. Living in an urban area is stressful and can lead to severe health issues. If you live in a city, you have a 40% higher chance of suffering from depression. Then there is anxiety which is often a result of sensory overloads and general fear. The feeling of impending doom will disappear because, after all, the countryside has lower crime rates.
Even though the office is here to stay, it is amazing that employees now have more options. Remote and hybrid workspaces are the future. Both employers and employees are aware of this. Flexibility is our new reality, especially after years of a global pandemic.
Taking care of mental health should be a priority for everyone. And the best part is that the ability to move to a non-urban area, even for a couple of weeks, can lower stress levels and make someone more focused and motivated.