Work-From-Home Becomes Work-From-Anywhere  


How smartphones are opening up new career opportunities.

As the post-pandemic work-from-home evolution transforms into a work-from-anywhere revolution, the smartphone has become the passport to previously unimaginable career freedom for young South Africans.

The work-from-anywhere lifestyle, once the preserve of a small and much-envied group of digital nomads who lit up Instagram with photos of themselves toiling on their laptops under palm trees in Thailand, is now within reach of thousands of knowledge- and creative-industry workers. 

In South Africa, it’s the workforce Millennials (those aged around 25 – 40) and even young Gen Zs who are leading the charge to embrace this new freedom lifestyle. Freedom to work from almost any location in the world, freedom to work for an employer who may be based in Benoni, Beijing or Bermuda; freedom to be self-employed, freedom to choose flexible working hours. 

“This group has working aspirations that previous generations never imagined. The daily commute to an office isn’t for them. They want a flexible work-from-anywhere existence. And it’s the smartphone that is making this possible. If they have a reliable connection and reliable power, they’re good to go,” says Kegan Peffer, CEO of South African tech company Adoozy, a mobile-device power provider that enables people to rent power for their mobile devices while on the go. 

Adopting the digital nomad lifestyle

Just how much these younger professionals are adopting this new work ethos is evident from a snap poll conducted among Adoozy’s customers. “One hundred percent of respondents said they were keen on following the digital nomad lifestyle,” Peffer notes.

“In addition, 86% confirmed they use their phone for work-on-the-go – emphasising the smartphone’s progression from an entertainment device and way to connect with family and friends, to being an essential work tool. 

“A surprising 78% also told us they aspire to being digital content creators. This shows how our tech- and internet-enabled world is inspiring new and different career choices – occupations that are well suited to the always-connected, on-the-go, work-from-anywhere lifestyle.” 

According to Adoozy, the work-from-anywhere ethos is already increasingly evident, with the company seeing a steady increase in demand for its rented power bank technology that keeps mobile phones powered up 24/7. Peffer says rapid advances in signal availability means there will soon be few locations on earth where a digital nomad can’t work from.  

“For example, Tanzania has set up a broadband network that operates at an altitude of 3 720 metres up the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro. A digital nomad could be on top of Kili and still be connected to their clients. The same is possible on parts of Mount Everest, where high-speed 5G coverage has been available since 2020,” he explains.

New corporate thinking

New corporate thinking is also enabling work-from-anywhere. Airbnb, for example, adopted a live anywhere, work anywhere employment philosophy in 2022, and within a week received more than 1 million visitors to its career page. 

Amazon offers online part-time jobs paying up to US$300 a day, where the only requirement is that you have an internet-connected mobile phone. No stipulation of location or working hours. 

So great is demand from the world’s growing number of digital nomads for user-friendly locations that Airbnb teamed up with Tourism Cape Town and 19 other international destinations in July 2022 to develop long-stay opportunities that include relaxed visa policies for remote workers. 

“The smartphone – allied to new attitudes that emerged from the pandemic – is helping to fundamentally change the way people can work,” says Peffer. “It may be the biggest change since the Industrial Revolution. Perhaps we should be calling it the Freedom Revolution?”


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