Digital nomads: remote work and beyond

Published on July 31, 2023   20 min

Other Talks in the Series: Future Work Now

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My name is Dave Cook. I'm an anthropologist, and I conduct research on remote work, digital nomads and emerging work trends at University College London. I also teach digital nomadism at Chiang Mai University in Thailand, with students and researchers from dozens of different countries, including the United States, China, Thailand, Myanmar and the Philippines. I'm going to talk about the rapidly changing culture in the workplace, specifically the digital nomad phenomenon. I've been running one of the longest studies on remote work and digital nomadism, and I'll share how my research project and the digital nomad phenomenon has developed during the last decade, and how this once little-known niche lifestyle has grown into one of the fastest growing trends in the workplace. I've published academic papers chronicling digital nomadism and remote work, and I'm also a journalist and have written general audience articles on the phenomenon. My research has been featured by the BBC, TIME magazine, Wired, and the World Economic Forum.
Anthropology sounds quite exotic to some people, and it's true that anthropologists are often known for travelling to far-flung destinations or often researching indigenous populations. That kind of anthropology is becoming increasingly controversial, and that's not what I do. Broadly speaking, anthropology is the study of people throughout place and time, and I study the workplace and how that fits into people's daily lives. So today, you'll not only get an introduction to digital nomadism, you'll also get a first-hand example of how anthropology works.