February
9
2021
Written by
Pieter Levels
The future of remote work: how the greatest human migration in history will happen in the next ten years
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FOREWORD BY LOUISE BØGESKOV HOU, FOUNDER OF LULU—LAND

Almost two years ago, I left a great job as a consultant. I wanted to travel and work remotely. I had pitched the idea to my employer, but at that time, the company wasn't ready to take on the experiment. This became the beginning of a new chapter for me working as a location independent entrepreneur. 

During the past two years, I've traveled around the world while building LULU—LAND and have gotten to know a lot of wonderful and talented people who had the same dream as I did. One of them is Pieter Levels, the founder of Nomad List and Remote OK. Pieter was a first-mover when it comes to traveling and working remotely. He is a big pusher of remote work and continuously tries to analyze the effects it will have on society.

Fortunately, Pieter has allowed us to republish the first part of his 5-part series on how remote work will transform society in the next ten years. I hope his thesis will make you curious and give you food for thought.

Don't hesitate to reach out if you want to know more about the future of (remote) work, digital nomadism, building and facilitating remote workplaces(/spaces), and tapping into the talent pool of people already working remotely.

FIRST PUBLISHED ON LEVELS.IO NOV 20—2020/ REPUBLISHED ON LULU—LAND WITH THE PERMISSION OF PIETER LEVELS

The future of remote work: how the greatest human migration in history will happen in the next ten years

Here's my thesis on the next decade of remote work and how it'll transform society. I think we're on the verge of the greatest migration in human history. It won't be nomads traveling around the world perpetually, but it will be millions of people relocating semi-permanently to places better fit for their way of living. In this thesis I'll argue why this will happen, how it might happen and how we can benefit from this movement.

Five years ago I made a presentation about the future of remote work. This is the sequel to that. Back then I predicted there would be 1 billion digital nomads by 2035. I defined a nomad as a person who'd work remotely from a different country than their home country at least part of the year. My prediction was picked up by the press including The Economist and TechCrunch and people quit their jobs and started companies based on it.

Even I was slightly skeptical about my own prediction though, I mean, it was quite out there. Would it actually happen so soon? What if remote work was just a fad? We would all figure out it didn't actually work and just go back to the office, I got push back for coming up with such an insane number and most people said I was exaggerating the growth of remote work.

That is, until 2020.

2020

As you know, 2020 changed everything.

With a global pandemic infecting and killing millions of people around the world, and offices being one of the major places where it spread, companies were forced to adopt remote work for the safety of their workers.

In the United States in February 2020, pre-pandemic, 8% of the workforce worked remotely. When the pandemic hit, that rose to 35% in May and bounced back to 24% in August. In Canada, in 2018 ~13% worked remotely, that grew to nearly 40% of the workforce working remotely in March 2020 [3,4]. In Europe, pre-pandemic, 5.4% of the workforce worked remotely, which rose to nearly 40% a result of the pandemic. We can assume there's growth in remote work in regions outside US/ EU too.

In just a few months the amount of people working remotely ballooned to ~125 million people in North America (US, Canada) and Europe, or over 5 times the amount before the pandemic.

During a pandemic, people are forced to work remotely though, it's not really a free choice. Will people want to remain doing so post-pandemic? A survey by IBM discovered the majority does in fact:

• 54% of people working remotely now would like to keep doing so after the pandemic

• 75% would like to work remotely at least occasionally

With remote work shooting into the mainstream, suddenly my prediction for 2035 didn't seem so crazy anymore.

The office is a legacy concept

Working remotely is uncovering something many of us already knew for a while: a lot of time is wasted by working from offices.

Los Angeles traffic in 2017

There's

• The daily commute to the office which in the U.S. averages to almost one hour per day.

• Meetings where people have to schedule to be in the same room together, when a lot of that work could happen asynchronously

• The interruptions from being in open plan offices

• Traveling to meet people face-to-face

If a regular work day in an office takes ~1 hour to commute, 9 hours of inefficient working, we have 8 hours to sleep, that leaves us with ~6 hours to do groceries, cooking, errands and spend our free time.

The benefits of working remotely

With remote work, we can remove many of the inefficiencies of traditional offices:

• The commute can be as short as seconds if you work from home and minutes if you work in a local coworking or cafe.

• Instead of meetings, we can switch to asynchronous communication.

• Instead of open plan offices that distract workers, we can create our own personally optimal workspaces. With people in coworking spaces, by ourselves in spaces likes this, or any other way that works for you.

The rise of work from home garden offices

• Instead of traveling in cars or planes for hours to meet people face-to-face, in most cases, a simple video call would suffice.

And while the sudden transition to working remotely this year has not been painless, once people have gotten used to remote work, they're generally more productive.

Cal Newport, best-selling author of Deep Work writes: “Three to four hours of continuous, undisturbed deep work each day is all it takes to see a transformational change in our productivity and our lives"

Remote work seems like a perfect match for deep work. If we can optimize our own working conditions, which is the freedom remote work now offers us, we may be able to reduce the work day to just four hours of deep work.

That gives us 8 hours of sleep, 0 hours of commuting, 4 hours of deep work and 12 hours of time left in the day.

Life becomes about living, not working

That'd mean time spent outside work doubles and for the first time we'd be able spend more time in a day outside of work than on work.

People (not working)

For the first time in human history, for millions of people now and hundreds of millions in the next decade life might then stop being primarily about working, and instead be about living.

The biggest shift in work since the Industrial Revolution.

Working remotely can mean the time spent outside work doubles and for the first time we'll be able spend more time in a day outside of work than on work.

This isn't new for many of us. Me and my friends have been living our lives like this for the last decade or longer. It was people like us who could make money on the internet who were the first to embrace this: the digital nomads.

For the last two decades, digital nomads have replaced the routine of office life with traveling to explore the world and then finding better places to live. Optimizing for the weather they like, the cost of living they could afford and where their friends are.

Digital nomads were ridiculed as a fringe subculture for years, and then idealized as the perfect life on Instagram (none of them being true).

What they were though was the early adopters of what will become possible for a significant share of the mainstream population this year: becoming location independent (at least when related to work) and having more say in how we want our daily lives to look, especially the leisure part.

The experiences of digital nomads in the last decade gives us a lot of insight into location independent mainstream may soon experience.

A quick history of remote work

To get a contextual overview of where we're at, let's go back in time and do a little history class on remote work.

"In 1979, IBM was putting its stamp on the American landscape. For 20 years, it had been hiring the greats of modernism to erect buildings where scientists and salespeople could work shoulder-to-shoulder commanding the burgeoning computer industry. But that year, one of its new facilities—the Santa Teresa Laboratory, in Silicon Valley—tried an experiment. To ease a logjam at the office mainframe, it installed boxy, green-screened terminals in the homes of five employees, allowing them to work from home."

Telecommuting discussed in 1990

In the eighties and nineties with computer network connectivity becoming possible, telecom companies around the world started promoting telecommuting. Obviously if more people would work from home, they'd make money on supplying the connectivity to the office. It never really took off into the mainstream though.

The first remote wave: internet marketers (2007-2013)

In 2007, Tim Ferris wrote the 4-Hour Work Week. It described people building online businesses and using economic arbitrage (e.g. living in cheaper places while making money in expensive places). With internet connectivity rising everywhere, the technology was now just about ready for people to actually nomad and his book started the first wave of people doing it.

The first wave of digital nomadism received criticism for incentivizing people "to escape the 9 to 5" and instead chase short-term profits with low-value products, shady business models like online MLM-style courses, get-rich-quick schemes and affiliate marketing. Anything really went as long as it could get you to make money on the internet so you could go travel and move to the other side of the world. Regardless of how they made their money, those first nomads were the pioneers of the movement.

The second remote wave: digital nomads (2014-2020)

When I made my presentation 5 years ago we were in the middle of a giant digital nomad boom. The first wave had fizzled out and it was the second wave of digital nomadism and it was an exciting time.

I have great nostalgia about this time, personally. My site Nomad List had just launched and suddenly not just the website but the entire movement shot up. This new movement and my site in the center of it was all over the press for years as the new thing and hundreds of thousands of people "became" nomads. I met thousands of people that were traveling in a place because of me or my site. I'm not writing out of achievement humblebrags, but I'm writing it because it's one of the most colorful memories of my life so far.

The scene transformed from somewhat shady internet marketeers in 2007, to now actual people from Silicon Valley working on million and billion dollar startups remotely from nomad hubs like Chiang Mai. I know, because I met them.

One of the first Nomad List meetups at Hubba Bangkok just when nomadism started exploding in late 2014

Suddenly there was thousands of us meeting up in real life, thinking this would be the thing that'd change everything! Away with the old boring life, in with the new remote working traveling with your life in a backpack. It was exciting and idealistic. And like any new idealistic movement, it was also naive.

Most of the people I know from then either moved back home or picked places around the world as a more permanent home base. What they're not doing is traveling somewhere new every week.

What the digital nomads were right about though:

It was possible to effectively work remotely as an employee for companies on the other side of the world

It was viable to build a company while living and working remotely. Me and many of my friends have built companies making $1M/y to $100M/y+ revenue with one of them soon IPO'ing on the stock market for billions of dollars

The fun aspect of being able to live in different places around the world, immerse in local cultures and increase the share of your life that's not about work was very beneficial to our happiness

The problems the digital nomads faced were big though:

Hopping around the world and living in different places let us make more friends and acquaintances than we ever did but now they were all spread around the world, resulting in...

Loneliness being one of the biggest issues with digital nomads

Related: relationships are hard to maintain unless you live/travel together

Mental health becomes a real concern with depression and anxiety reported in digital nomad communities

Visas are a real issue: most work on tourist visas and have to leave a country after 30/60/90 days. That means we're never able to build up real long term social ties

Friendships needs 2 things: proximity and repetition. Digital nomads have none of these, they don't stay near (proximity) to the same people for long and they don't repeat their interaction with people enough to build long-term friendships

The novelty of new places wears off after a few years and you realize the world is more similar than you'd expect, which then results in the question "what's the point of all this traveling?"

On the business side: many companies targeting remote workers and digital nomads were started around this time, notably:

Remote working travel groups like Remote Year raised millions and started offering the "digital nomad" experience as a tour package at $2,000/mo for Americans.

Coliving companies like Roam raised millions and started offering shared housing, essentially fancy hotels with coworkings built in to them. The cost usually being high-priced at $100-$150/night or $3000-$4,500/mo.

WeWork famously raised billions of dollars to build a network of coworking spaces all around the world

All these faced the same problems:

There wasn't enough remote workers when they launched

The remote workers that were there weren't making enough money to afford $3,000/mo for flexible living or $400/mo for a coworking desk

Most of these ran out of money, crashed and burned or were acquired.

The third remote wave: the mainstream (2021+)

We're about to enter the third wave of remote work.

Remote work has gone mainstream in 2020 and with that location independence suddenly has become a possibility for millions and soon maybe billions for workers. Most people now are stuck in their home countries due to the pandemic closing borders. But once the pandemic ends or becomes controllable, and people can travel again the third wave will start. And I think that's 2021.

It will be different from how digital nomads did it. Most people working remotely and doing it location independent will NOT be fast traveling from place to place, but instead will relocate longer-term to remote work destinations.

Work ties us no longer

We know that what tied people to places were: work, family and friends.

Historically work has been the primary tie though: it's how most people would meet their partners and it's where people make many of their friends.

Especially in the U.S., it's common to move to a different state just for work opportunities.

With remote work, the things remaining that tie us to a place are family and friends.

We're already seeing remote work based migration happening. The rise of "Zoom towns" in the U.S. has been widely reported: places outside of the big cities people are moving to now that they can work remotely (via video calling app Zoom).

What do retirees do?

To get a possible idea of what the regular population will do once they can work remotely, we can look at what people who retire do. In the U.S., 3 million people retire per year and 1 million of them relocate once they hit retirement and are not tied to their work anymore, so about one-third.

Now imagine how many people will relocate once they're not tied to a place by their work anymore. More on that later.

Where do they go? Predictably many retirees move South to be in warmer places so they can be outside more for leisure, the famous place for U.S. retirees of course being Florida, but also Southern California.

Many U.S. retirees also move abroad:

Leisure and interest-based destinations

Back to the remote workers in the Zoom towns. There are some early signs of where we're headed. Many of the Zoom towns in the U.S. are either 1) south: where it's warmer, or 2) outdoor or ski resorts: nice for outdoor sports.

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Wyoming

“We are seeing the biggest numbers for October this year (usually off season) and we can’t figure out why. It’s bigger than past years by a landslide” — Business owner in Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Wyoming, US who owns and runs multiple hotels there.

People into outdoor sports like running, hiking, cycling, kayaking etc. might move closer to nature.

Playa del Carmen in Mexico

Meanwhile, many of the top digital nomad destinations for Americans are surf towns on the beach in Mexico like Playa del Carmen and Cabo San Lucas. And the primary digital nomad spot worldwide right now is Canggu, a beach town in Bali.

The pattern here is that once work doesn't limit them anymore, many people will pick places based on their leisure activities.

Where traditionally holiday destinations for many meant hanging on the beach to recover from the stress of office work. If work becomes more less stressful as it goes remote, destinations can become more meaningful and active too: e.g. sports or other activity destinations.

Akihabara in Tokyo with the Tokyo Anime Center

It's not just sports though. If a person's interest is anime (not me), they might enjoy living in Tokyo for a few years or longer being close to the anime scene, artists and fans.

Nashville's Music City, aka the center of Country music

If a person is passionate about country music, they might enjoy living in Nashville for while being close to the music scene and live shows.

Yoga retreat (not in Ubud)

If you're into yoga and meditation, living in Ubud, Bali might work for you.

I have a friend who's now living on farms and eco villages around Portugal. He says they feel like small tribes centered around interests or ideals. Usually with at least some of their food supply coming from their own farm.

Community-based destinations

If your interests or activities are one reason to relocate somewhere, community is another one.

"In a survey of 20,000 Americans, nearly half reported always or sometimes feeling lonely or left out. Young adults ages 18 to 22 are the loneliest generation of all, the survey found." - WebMD

Many of us have friends from everywhere, also related to our interests. For example, I have lots of friends who are online entrepreneurs. None of these people I met in my home country. The challenge is that the relationships with these people become close to 100% online-only. And it makes sense as the biggest share of communication now happens online, via chat apps. As much as I love that we are in contact on a daily basis, I'd love it even more if we'd see each other in real life. And I'm probably not the only one.

Not my friend group, but someone's

Remote work gives the ability (that is if you and your community of people wants it) to move closer together. And it's already happening for people not tied to a place by work.

Austin, TX

Joe Rogan moved from Los Angeles to Austin, Texas this year. And as an influential person in his community, he was able to bring a big share of his friends of comedians and other celebrities over to Austin too.

Kanye West's ranch

Kanye West bought a $14 million dollar, 6,000-acre ranch in Wyoming and is building an eco-village with a farm, houses and schools where his kids will go. And there's more famous people who are planning the same.

A tropical eco village that might look how Dojo Village in Bali will look

The founder of Bali's most popular coworking space Dojo bought land north from Canggu near the beach and is building his own village. It will focus on creative, entrepreneurial, maker-type people and will feature tens of bungalow-style apartments, coworking spaces, a maker space and since it's in Bali: probably lots of swimming pools.

The idea with all of these is the same: get out of cities that feel isolating (think of Los Angeles' giant sprawl) and move to a place where you can be physically closer to your community of people: being able to walk to each other, instead of an hour car ride away.

Most of us don't have the fame or money to buy land and build a village though.

Luckily, we don't need to build a village to get the same benefits of community. Simply moving to places together, maybe in the same neighborhood, with people you care about is the point.

Hippie communes in the 1960s that didn't work

And if the communes of the 1960s taught us anything: it's that trying to re-invent society by building a new mini society in a village usually doesn't work out and sometimes even ends bad:

“But the problem is this: I can’t stay out here forever, neither physically nor mentally. As much as I might want to live in the woods where my phone doesn’t work, or shun newspapers with Michael Weiss at his cabin in the Catskills, or devote my life to contemplating potatoes in Epicurus’s garden, total renunciation would be a mistake. The story of the communes teaches me that there is no escaping the political fabric of the world [...] The world needs my participation now more than ever. Again it is not a question of whether, but how.” ― Jenny Odell, How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy

The 1960s teaches us maybe the point isn't to try build entirely new artificially designed communities from the ground up, but instead iterate on the places that organically rise up for remote workers, improve them and solve the problems remote workers there have.

Facilitating remote work destinations

We know that many businesses didn't work out in the previous nomad wave. Many businesses simply didn't have enough nomads to cater to, and the nomads that they found didn't have enough money to spend.

So what businesses would work in a new reality of remote work destinations?

If we assume that the volume of people relocating to, or visiting remote work hubs will be 10x or 100x higher than during the nomad wave. The diversity in people and also income ranges will increase. That means many of the ideas that failed during the previous nomad wave (coworking, coliving etc.), might finally work once the mainstream joins, as there'll be more people and people with higher incomes available to market to.

Feels Like Home is a Portuguese hotel chain that targets remote workers with home-themed apartments and rooms. A mix between a hotel chain and Airbnb.

Traditional businesses can profit from the remote work wave too. Especially the hospitality industry. Instead of nightly stays, hotels are already offering long-term stays, and considering adapting their rooms with kitchens and offering Airbnb-style suites. If they like, coffee places can adapt to become a place where remote workers can do their work and socialize. Related to socializing, local companies that offer activities like sports and trips can target remote workers who are new to a place to quickly immerse themselves.

Google's new campus

As remote work becomes the norm and employees demand to relocate, BigTech giants like Google, Facebook, Apple, Netflix, Amazon and Microsoft may start facilitating this and building campuses around the world. Think a tech campus in snow resort Aspen, CO, or in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico or in Canggu, Bali.

We know Google already has been building coworking spaces all around the world (currently in London, Madrid, Sao Paulo, Seoul, Tel Aviv, Tokyo and Warsaw), that are free to use (and they already call it Google Campus). Next would be actual campuses with housing and other living facilities.

Companies surrounding Stanford University (near Palo Alto on the map)

With BigTech opening campuses there, it can ignite ecosystems around these destinations with smaller startups moving to or being founded on its edges. Just like the university campus of Stanford made Silicon Valley possible:

"More than 50% of Silicon Valley product is due to companies started by Stanford alumni." - WIPO

This fits with the common idea that the next Silicon Valley won't be a single place, but it will be distributed around the world, and I'd argue in these future remote work destinations.

Especially since immigration to the U.S. for startup founders has become a lot more difficult in recent years:

The role of the government

One of the primary challenges digital nomads faced was getting kicked out of a country after 30, 60 or 90 days based on their tourist visa. Digital nomads get so much flack for working on tourist visas, usually by people who never did it themselves. If they'd do it themselves, they'd realize getting a longer visa is a monumental pain in most places. It usually means navigating a bureaucratic law system in a foreign country, often a developing country where the process is rife with corruption, bribes and uncertainty. If it'd was easy, most digital nomads wouldn't be working on tourist visas right now.

One of the reasons you see digital nomads still hop around every 30/60/90 days, is because that's the visa limit. If there'd be no visa limit, I believe they'd stay much longer.

Indonesia's Minister of Tourism Arief Yahya talks about Nomad List and embracing digital nomads as part of their tourism strategy (2019)

There's some developments here too though, and there have been for awhile. Right now most governments "know of" digital nomads and remote workers. And many have spoken about it, usually positive. Bali's governor and Bali's tourism board, Indonesia's minister of tourism and even Indonesia's president Joko Widodo have all spoken out positively about attracting digital nomads and foreign tech workers as a strategy to get more foreign spending and as a transfer of technological skills to locals.

Many countries now have programs to attract remote workers: Portugal, Estonia, Bermuda, Barbados and Georgia.

The opportunities for cities and countries are big if they can create a process by which they can attract high-skilled high-income remote workers to work in their countries for long-term. High-income so that money flows into their local economies, high-skilled because it'll mean transfer of skills to locals is possible.

The changes necessary are small compared to the opportunities it gives: create a remote worker visa that can be requested online, assess people's income, work and skills, and allow at least a 6 month to 1-year stay with an option to extend it to 5 or 10 years, and some route to the traditional permanent residency and after citizenship.

Right now work permits are made for foreign people getting a local job offer. Remote workers don't need a job offer, they already have a remote job or run their own company. All they need is the legal rights to work in your country, and be able to stay for long-term. The reason for work permits was to avoid competition of foreigners with the local work force, but 99% of remote workers don't even participate in the local market as they work for foreign companies remotely.

Cities can make more money on remote workers than tourists

Nacho Rodriguez is an entrepreneur who works with the government of the Spanish Canary Islands to attract remote workers. He told me it makes a lot more economic sense for governments to attract remote workers than tourists:

An average tourist in Europe goes on a trip for 5.2 nights and spends $70 per day or $356 per trip.

Meanwhile, a high-income tech worker from the U.S. or London makes ~$150,000/year. If they'd relocate to the Canary Islands and spend just half of that, that's $75k/year put into the local economy. That amount of money can create 3 local jobs at local average wages. Additionally, tax is paid on that income if they relocate.

The average tourist spending of $70/day, is $25,000/year. At an average tourist trip length of 5.2 nights, that means hosting 210 tourists makes the same amount of money for the Canary Islands as a single remote worker can bring in.

(Calculation: $70*365.25 days=$25,567/y; 1 trip is 5.2 days; 365.25 days / 5.2 days = 70 tourists/y; 1 remote worker spends 5o% of their income = $75,000/y; $75,000/y remote worker income / $25,567/y tourist income ~= 3; 3 * 7o tourists = 210 tourists)

Even if we estimate more conservatively, where a remote worker spends just $25,000/year, that's still the same amount of money as hosting 70 tourists.

The Canary Islands get 15 million visitors per year. They could make the same money with 100,000 to 200,000 remote workers there.

A remote worker can live more like a local as they stay in the place for months or years renting locally, instead of the short tourist staying in Airbnbs, resulting in less low-quality touristic areas. Caveat is areas will focus on foreign remote workers, which probably means more hipster-type areas. Regardless, places change for foreigners. It depends which way you prefer.

Personally, I think long-term remote workers make better visitors economically and behaviorally than short-term tourists. But I'm biased.

Remote work will boost mixed zoning

Apart from changing where we move to, remote work will also change the neighborhoods we already live in.

When I grew up in the nineties, in our town's street we had a bakery, a butcher, a library and even a blacksmith. That meant you could walk to what you needed in less than a minute.

The bakery and butcher got replaced by a big supermarket, and the blacksmith was shutdown when hardware stores opened up. Both requiring a ~30 minute walk or ~15 minute drive.

Traditional separated zoning of residential vs commercial

As much as U.S. is famous for separated zoning, this is a worldwide phenomenon since the nineties: in many places in the last decades we've moved from a healthy mix of homes and shops in a neighborhood to separating residential and commercial. Instead we now have:

• Residential neighborhoods where people come home to after work and sleep and then leave back to work the next day. There's no commerce like it used to

• Business districts with commercial zoning where people come to shop and work in the day, which then becomes desolate ghost towns in the evening

• A lot of car traffic because the office, shops and our home is all separated and now we need to drive to everything

Mixed zoning combining residential and commercial for better liveability

As many experienced during the lockdowns of 2020, where people were suddenly spending all day at home, in their neighborhoods. The local feeling of community increased as people had time to go outside for walks and run into their neighbors. Neighborhoods became places to live again, not just sleep.

With people working remotely, we'll also see a demand for neighborhoods to become more livable for remote workers. That means residents will demand coworkings and cafes to work from and to meet others in the area. With people spending more time around their house, there'll be an increase in demand for local leisure activities. Locals parks will become more important. As will be local daycare facilities for kids.

That means remote work will enable a push for mixed zoning, and we'll have less far away commuting and cars everywhere.

Education

As millions relocate and work remotely, many will bring their families. That means there'll be a need for high quality schooling from young kids to university students. Lots of places don't have great schools though.

There's a lot of innovation happening in this space now with lots of startups like Galileo offering online education for kids to teenagers.

The problem is that online education and homeschooling lacks the most important part of school I think: an offline social environment with other kids.

A solution to that I think, which will take time to build (and maybe you can help build it) is having a mix of 1) centralized high quality online schooling, executed by an internationally trusted institution like Harvard, 2) practical group classes to do the coursework ran by local schools affiliated to and certified by the trusted institution.

That means we can have 1) the benefits of high quality online education in remote places where schools might not be so great, with 2) the benefits of offline education in local classes where kids also learn the social skills from being in a group.

How many will actually relocate due to remote work?

We know that the majority of the mainstream will be able to work remotely now or in the next few years, but how many will actually use that to their benefit and relocate?

To get a possible idea of what the regular population will do once they can work remotely, we can look at what people who retire do. In the U.S., 3 million people retire per year and 1 million of them relocate once they hit retirement and are not tied to their work anymore, so about one-third.

But retirees might be more tied to a place: 1) they might need care from their kids and 2) they might've already built up life long communities around them, longer than their younger people in the middle of their careers.

Thanks to a recent Upwork study, we actually have some data on it now too:

"Anywhere from 14 to 23 million Americans are planning to move as a result of remote work. Combined with those who are moving regardless of remote work, near-term migration rates may be three to four times what they normally are." - Upwork study in October 2020

I did my own survey too; it's skewed since the people who follow me are mostly in tech and startups. From my followers, almost 57% of people have relocated or are planning to relocate now that they can work remotely.

The combined work force of the U.S., Canada and EU is 400 million people. If 50% of those will work remotely, that's 200 million people. If 20% of those relocate, that's already 40 million people. And that's not including their dependents like partners and family, which could double that number. And then we're not even counting the rest of the world where remote work is also rapidly being adopted.

If we transpose that on the entire world, if 50% of the global work force of 3 billion people will work remotely, and 20% relocate because of that, that's 300 million people.

Even if we go extremely conservative and assume only 10% of the global work force of 3 billion people will work remotely, and 20% relocate because of that, that's already 60 million people.

The Great Atlantic Migration from Europe to the United States brought 37 million people across the Atlantic over 2 centuries

The largest migration in human history, the Great Atlantic Migration, saw 37 million Europeans move to the United States in the 19th and 20th century.

As remote work becomes accessible to the global workforce in the next decade, we'll have far more than the 37 million people who relocated in the Great Atlantic Migration, as they're not tied to places by office work anymore, making this the greatest migration in human history. Even if it's relocating inside big countries like the U.S, it's still migration.

That makes this this the largest human migration in history, due to the adoption of remote work.

PIETER LEVELS

A few years ago Pieter sold all his stuff to explore the world, creating 12 startups in 12 months and building $1M+/y in companies as an indie maker such as Nomad List and Remote OK. He's also a big pusher of remote work and tries to analyze the effects it will have on society.

WE LOVE TO CONNECT PEOPLE

NAME Pieter Levels

COMPANIES Nomad List/ Remote OK

WEBSITE levels.io

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BLOG levels.io

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July
6
2020
Written by
the LULU—LAND Team
CITY GUIDE: COPENHAGEN (DK)
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Photo @rolandsvarsgergs

UPDATED 07/10—2020

Copenhagen is an endless source of inspiration – and it will probably always feel like home. This is where the idea of LULU—LAND was born.
The tiny capital has become known for its excellent taste in everything from architecture, furniture design, interior, fashion, and—of course—food. In recent years, there has been a surge in bars, restaurants, shops, and fashion designers insisting on a less formal, lighthearted way of doing things, which makes it a lot of fun too!
Abroad, Denmark is known to repeatedly rank as one of the happiest countries in the world, most likely due to high levels of equality and a strong sense of shared responsibility for social security and welfare.
More recently, The World Economic Forum also found that the tiny northern country ranks in the top, as best-performing, when it comes to the environment and sustainable development; virtually all waste is recycled, composted, or incinerated, and the country is world-leading when it comes to climate change commitments. Aiming to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 70% by 2030.
Visiting Copenhagen might give you an idea of why this is. It's one of the busiest bike cities in the world. Biking is, without a doubt, the easiest and cheapest way to get around. Most hotels have bikes you can borrow, but if not, there are bike rental shops all over the city. There's literally no better way to explore Copenhagen than on a bike.
This is a collection of our favorite areas and places, some more know than others. Whether you live in Copenhagen or are traveling, we hope you'll get inspired to explore the city.

Copenhagen K (City Center)

Beau Marché
French interior shop, wine bar & intimate date spot ($$)

Ny Østergade 32, 1101 CPH K
beaumarche.dk

Pluto
Always crowded upscale bistro, bar & hangout spot ($$$)

Borgergade 16, 1300 CPH K
restaurantpluto.dk

Bottega Barlie
Local neighborhood café & natural wine bar ($$)

Fredericiagade 78, 1310 CPH K
barlie.dk

La Glace
Elegant cake & pastry café est. in 1870 ($$$)

Skoubogade 3, 1158 CPH K
laglace.dk

Stilleben No. 22
Interior design, craftsmanship & peculiar objects

Niels Hemmingsens Gade 3, 1153 CPH K
stilleben.dk

Torvehallerne
High-end urban food market with local produce, gourmet food & beverages ($$$)

Frederiksborggade 21, 1362 CPH
torvehallernekbh.dk/

Time's Up Vintage
High-end vintage clothing

Krystalgade 4, 1172 CPH K
timesupshop.com

Another Nuè
High-end woman's clothing

Krystalgade 3, 1172 CPH K
nuecph.com

Studiestræde
Local street with small shops, affordable second-hand clothing, and bars.

Vera's Vintage  (Affordable)
The Log Lady (Dive bar $$)
Cosy Bar (Gay bar $$)
Atlas Bar (Local restaurant $$)

Sonny
Local coffee bar & eatery ($$)

Rådhusstræde 5, 1466 CPH K
sonnycph.dk

Kunsthal Charlottenborg & Apollo Bar
Contemporary museum & vegetarian bistro ($$)

Nyhavn 2, 1051 København
kunsthalcharlottenborg.dk/en

Hey Captain
Copenhagen canal tours

Kvæsthusbroen 1, 1252 CPH K
heycaptain.dk

FRANK
Cosy and casual restaurant ($$$)

Ny Adelgade 3, 1104 CPH K
restaurantfrank.dk

TABLEAU
Concept store, art studio, design & flowers

Store Kongensgade 50, 1264 CPH K
tableau-cph.com

RUBY
Classic & creative cocktail bar ($$$)

Nybrogade 10, 1203 CPH K
rby.dk

Hotel Sanders***** & TATA Cocktail Bar
Breakfast, lunch, dinner & rooftop terrace ($$$$)

Tordenskjoldsgade 15, 1055 CPH K
hotelsanders.com

DONDA
Late-night eatery & bar ($$$)

Strandgade 20, 1401 CPH K
donda.dk

Brønnum
Classic cocktail bar ($$$)

August Bournonvilles Passage 1, 1055 CPH K
bronnumcph.dk

STRØM
Classic & nerdy cocktail bar ($$$)

Niels Hemmingsens Gade 32, 1153 CPH K
strombar.dk

Magnolia
Luxury second-hand & vintage clothing

Købmagergade 5, 1150, 1150 CPH K
magnolias2ndhand.dk

Rosy Vintage
Perfectly worn and affordable vintage clothing

Kronprinsensgade 9, 1114 CPH K

FRAMA
Modern functionalist furniture & apothecary

Fredericiagade 57, 1310 CPH K
framacph.com

Atelier September
Art café ($$$)

Gothersgade 30, 1123 CPH K
cafeatelierseptember.com

Palæ Bar
Local dive bar ($$)

Ny Adelgade 5, 1104 CPH K
palaebar.dk

Wood Wood Museum
Wood Wood fashion outlet

Frederiksborggade 54, 1366 CPH K
woodwood.com

Norse Projects
Men's & women's clothing

Pilestræde 39, 1112 København
norsestore.com

Rezet
Men's & women's sneakers & streetwear

Rådhusstræde 7, 1161 CPH K
rezetstore.dk

Jack's Hole in a Wall (Chain)
To go or to stay coffee shop ($$)

Jorcks Passage 1, 1162 CPH K

The Union Local
Modern cocktail bar ($$$)

Lille Strandstræde 16, 1254 CPH K
theunionkitchen.dk/local

Aamanns 1921
Traditional Danish "smørrebrød" (The rye-bread thing with topping)

Niels Hemmingsens Gade 19-21, 1153 CPH K
aamanns.dk

ILUKA
A sustainable sea life focused restaurant ($$)

Peder Skrams Gade 15, 1054 CPH K
restaurantiluka.dk

CUB Coffee Bar
Copenhagen underground brewers

Boldhusgade 6, 1062 CPH K
cubcoffeebar.com

Etage Projects
It’s more a museum than a store and a great place to gather inspiration — but everything is up for purchase. A fusion of interior and art.

Borgergade 15, CPH K
etageprojects.com

HOLLY GOLIGHTLY
A highly curated concept store (ridiculously expensive) but worth a visit

Borgergade 17, 1300 CPH K
hollygolightly.dk

The Royal Library Garden
Located on Slotsholmen, between the Christiansborg Palace and the Royal Library, the garden constitutes a small oasis in the heart of the city. It’s a great place to escape the noise of the city and get some rest during the day. Bring a book.

Storm · Design · Art · Fashion
High-end, sporty, and globally influenced street style

Store Regnegade 1, 1110 CPH K
stormfashion.dk

Ved Stranden 10
A wine bar & shop ($$$)

Ved Stranden 10, 1061 CPH K
vedstranden10.dk

Nikolaj Kunsthal
Copenhagen Contemporary Art Center

Nikolaj Plads 10, 1067 CPH K
nikolajkunsthal.dk

Botanical Garden
A perfect escape in the middle of the city

Gothersgade 128, 1123 CPH K

Copenhagen N (Nørrebro) & NV

Assistens Cemetery
A combination of a cemetery and a park where people run or come to hang out during summertime.

Jægersborggade
Local street with small shops, restaurants & bars

Manfreds (Vegetarian restaurant + tartar $$)
Istid (Smooth ice creme made from nitrogen $$)
Markers & Pens (Markers & pencil shop)
BANANA (Ice creme made from ripe bananas $$)
The Coffee Collective (Coffee shop chain $$)

Ravnsborggade
Local street with antique shops, restaurants & bars

A20 (Restaurant $$)
Kind of Blue (Dive bar $$)
LULU (Bar & cocktails $$)
Det Ny Scala (Dive b $)

Elmegade & Sankt Hans Torv
Local street and square with small shops and bars

Ølbaren (Draft beer $$)
Carhartt WIP Store (Men's & women's workwear)
Acne Archive Store (Acne outlet)
Packyard (Men's clothing)
Wulff & Konstali Food Shop (Café & brunch chain $$)

Guldbergsgade
Local street with small shops, restaurants, bars, and a cinema

Paloma (Vermuteria & café $$)
Snacks & Blues (Casual restaurant $$)
Mirabelle (Café & bakery $$$)
Bæst (Organic pizza $$)
BRUS (Food & draft beer $$)
EMPIRE BIO (Cinema)
Ninos (Italian pizza $$)

Blågårdsgade
Local street with small shops, galleries, budget restaurants & bars

Gao Dumpling ($)
Limited Works (Gallery)
Café Blågårds Apotek (Bar & live music venue $$)

Omar
Late-night food ($$)

Refsnæsgade 32, 2200 CPH N
restaurantomar.dk

Kaf
Plant-based café; with an amazing breakfast & to die for cakes ($$)

Birkegade 21, 2200 CPH N
cafekaf.com

Pompette
Cool natural wine shop, bar & snacks ($$)

Møllegade 3, 2200 CPH N
pompette.dk

Mahalle (Chain)
Lebanese food ($)

Birkegade 6, 2200 CPH N
mahalle.dk

The Barking Dog
Cozy cocktail bar ($$)

Sankt Hans Gade 19, 2200 CPH N
thebarkingdog.dk

Minas Kaffebar
Budget coffee shop ($)

Nørrebrogade 72, 2200 CPH N

Andersen & Maillard
Hyped and crowded (but great) coffee shop ($$)

Nørrebrogade 62, 2200 CPH N
andersenmaillard.dk

Pico
Multiple tiny pizzas ($$)

Skyttegade 3, 2200 CPH N
picopizza.dk

Da Gallo Pizzeria
Real italian pizza ($)

Glumsøvej 44, 2700 Brønshøj
pizzeriadagallo.dk

Mikkeller & Ramen to Bíiru
Ramen & beer restaurant ($$)

Griffenfeldsgade 28, 2200 CPH N
mikkeller.com/locations/ramen-to-biiru-norrebro

Baka d'Busk
Vegetarian & vegan plant bistro ($)

Rantzausgade 44, 2200 CPH N
bakabistro.dk

Tigermom
Asian inspired food ($$)

Ryesgade 25, 2200 CPH N
tigermom.dk

Restaurant Safari
Cosy and casual late-night dinner and wine-handout ($$)

Baggesensgade 9, 2200 CPH N
restaurantsafari.dk

Copenhagen V (Vesterbro) & SV

Prolog Coffee Bar
The nerdiest of coffee shops

Høkerboderne 16, 1712 CPH V
prologcoffee.com

Siciliansk Is
Without question the best ice creme shop in the city

Skydebanegade 3, 1709 CPH V
sicilianskis.dk

Tivoli Gardens
World’s oldest amusement park (expensive, but worth a visit)

Vesterbrogade 3, 1630 CPH V
tivoli.dk

Istedgade
Old red light district that has undergone extensive gentrification and turned into one of the trendiest areas with small shops, restaurants & cafes

Es (Women's Clothing & Slow Fashion)
DANSK (Furniture & interior)
A Door (Tiny interior shop)
KYOTO (Men's & Women's Clothing)
Skydebanegade Legeplads (Outdoor playground)
Falang (Asiateria $$)
Sticks & Sushi (Sushi chain $$$)
Jagger (Burger chain $$)

Værnedamsvej
French street with small shops, cafes & coffee shops

Granola (French Café $$)
Rist (Coffee Shop $$)
Dora (Interior)
Les Trois Cochons (French Restaurant $$)
Wood Wood Life Store (Lifestyle shop by Wood Wood)

Kødbyen (The Meatpacking District)
Old Meatpacking Districts turned into a cultural, creative hub with galleries, restaurants & bars.

Gorilla (Restaurant, bar & hangout spot $$)
VH1 (Contemporary gallery)
Fiskebaren (Seafood restaurant $$$)
Tommy’s Burger Joint (Burger bar $$)
NOHO (Co-working, café & bar $$)
1656 (Cocktail bar $$$)
Paté Paté (Restaurant & wine bar $$$)

H15 (Cafeteria, bar, studio & scene $$)

Mesteren & Lærlingen (Dive bar $)

Sønderboulevard
Local boulevard, with a lot of hangout spots, basket and soccer courts, small shops & cafés

K I H O S K H (A modern grocery store with specialties and a great selection of magazines and beer $$$)
Dyrehaven (Café & Bar $$)
Volatil bar (Natural wine bar $$)
Absalon (Old church turn into community space)
Edison & Co. (Vintage interior and design)

CARCEL
Sustainable & slow fashion made by women in prison

Oehlenschlægersgade 36, 1663 CPH V
carcel.co

Lidkoeb
Modern cocktail bar ($$)

Vesterbrogade 72B, 1620 CPH V
lidkoeb.dk

11o
Books, magazines, gallery & café

Tullinsgade 11, 1618 CPH V

Bevi Bevi
Italian food & wine bar ($$)

Oehlenschlægersgade 53, 1663 CPH V
bevibevi.dk

Mangia
Minimalistic Italian restaurant ($$)

Bagerstræde 9, 1617 CPH V
mangia.dk

Vester Vov Vov
French-inspired art cinema & café est. 1975

Absalonsgade 5, 1658 CPH V

Central Hotel*** & Café
1 room hotel & café ($$)

Tullinsgade 1, 1618 CPH V
centralhotelogcafe.dk

Coco Hotel****
Boutique hotel ($$$)

Vesterbrogade 41, 1620 CPH V
coco-hotel.com

Manon Les Suites*****
Hotel & spa ($$$$)

Gyldenløvesgade 19, 1600 CPH V

Sporting Health Club/ SHC Søerne (Chain)
Gym with boxing

Gyldenløvesgade 19, 1600 CPH V
sportinghealthclub.dk

Østerberg (Chain)
Ice creme science ($$)

Tullinsgade 25, 1618 CPH V
osterberg-ice.dk

Osteria 16 (Chain)
Italian restaurant ($$)

Haderslevsgade 16, 1671 CPH V
osteria16.dk/haderslevgade

Italo Disco
Italian Restaurant ($$)

Oehlenschlægersgade 5, 1663 CPH V
italodisco.dk

Barril
Pasta & Wine Bar ($$)

Helgolandsgade 2, 1653 CPH V
barril.dk

Steel House
A luxury hostel in the middle of the city

Herholdtsgade 6, 1605 CPH V
steelhousecopenhagen.com

Café Riga
Outdoor bar, drinks, wine, beer & snacks ($$)

Dannebrogsgade 53, 1660 CPH V

BaneGaarden
Copenhagen's green Narnia

Otto Busses Vej 45, 2450 CPH SV
banegaarden.com

Supermarco
Italian supermarket and food temple ($$$)

Støbegodsvej 1, 2450 CPH SV
supermarco.dk

Copenhagen Ø (Østerbro)

Juno the bakery
Modern bakery, known for their cinnamon buns ($$)

Århusgade 48, 2100 CPH Ø

Kastellet
Old navy base & one of the best-preserved fortresses in Northern Europe (great for a stroll)

Oz Men's Store & Oz Women's Store
Men's & women's clothing

Østerbrogade 116-118, 2100 CPH Ø

Gro Spiseri
Nordic self-sustained rooftop restaurant ($$$)

Æbeløgade 4, 2100 CPH Ø
grospiseri.dk

Hønen & Ægget
Local café with breakfast & lunch ($$)

Øster Farimagsgade 16, 2100 CPH Ø
hoenenogaegget.dk

At the Counter
Local café

Randersgade 45, 2100 CPH Ø

Isoteket
Ice creme shop

Randersgade, Bopa Pl. 43, 2100 CPH Ø
isoteket.dk

Leckerbaer
Reinventing the Danish butter cookies ($$$)

Ryesgade 118, 2100 CPH Ø
leckerbaer.dk

Hos Fischer
Italian restaurant & pizza ($$)

Victor Borges Pl. 12, 2100 CPH Ø
hosfischer.dk

Svanemøllen Strand
Beach & wooden pier

I Blame Lulu
Preloved women's clothing store

Rosenvængets Allé 8, 2100 CPH Ø
iblamelulu.com


April
Coffee Store & Showroom

Ryesgade 88, 2100 CPH Ø
aprilcoffeeroasters.com

Amager & Islandsbrygge

Amager Standpark
Beach park

Copenhagen Cablepark
Wakeboard park & hangout spot

Kraftværksvej 24, 2300 CPH S
copenhagencablepark.dk

Il Buco
Organic Italian restaurant & café ($$)

Njalsgade 19C, 2300 CPH S
ilbuco.dk

Harbor Baths
Yes, you can swim in the harbor!

Alice
Ice cream & coffee shop

Markmandsgade 1, 2300 CPH S
alicecph.dk

Christianshavn, Inderhavnsbroen & Refshaleøen

Christiania
Freetown established in 1971 in an old abandoned military area. Christiania is known for its alternative housing, acceptance of artists, addicts, and vulnerable minorities, Green Light District/pusher street, and a liberal view on cannabis and psychedelics.

SofieBadet
Classic old bath house, sauna & spa

Sofiegade 15, 1418 CPH
sofiebadet.dk

GANNI Postmoderne
GANNI fashion outlet

Overgaden Oven Vandet 40, 1415 CPH
ganni.com

Kanalen
French inspired Danish cuisine ($$$)

Wilders Plads 2, 1403 CPH
restaurant-kanalen.dk

The Apartment
Cult-favorite interiors store

Overgaden Neden Vandet 33, 1.sal, 1414 CPH
theapartment.dk

The Corner (Next door to 108*)
Coffee & wine bar ($$)

Strandgade 108, 1401 CPH K

Restaurant Barr
Northern European restaurant ($$)

Strandgade 93, 1401 CPH
restaurantbarr.com

Nærvær
Quality food in relaxed surroundings ($$$)

Strandgade 87 E, 1401 CPH
naervaer.dk

Baby Baby Bar -> Empirical Dock House & Iluka
Summer chill, swim, hangout spot & concrete beach ($$)

Refshalevej 151, 1432 CPH

Blocs & Walls
Rock climbing gym

Refshalevej 163D, 1432 CPH
www.blocs-walls.dk

Lille Bakery
Hyped bakery ($$)

Refshalevej 213A, 1432 CPH
lillegrocery.com

Amass
Airy, industrial dining room serving global dishes, made from produce sourced from own kitchen garden ($$$$)

Refshalevej 153, 1432 CPH
amassrestaurant.com

Broens Gadekøkken
Street food court ($)

Strandgade 95, 1401 CPH
broensgadekoekken.dk

La Banchina
Food, wine, swim, summer chill & hangout spot ($$)

Refshalevej 141, 1432 CPH
labanchina.dk

B & W Marked
Antique 4,000 m2 flea market (mostly furniture)

Refshalevej 171B, 1432 CPH

Frederiksberg

Hart Bageri
Another hyped bakery ($$$)

Gl. Kongevej 109, 1850 Frederiksberg
hartbageri.com

Copenhagen Zoo
Good for kids

Roskildevej 32, 2000 Frederiksberg
zoo.dk

Mêlée
Tiny French bistro

Martensens Allé 16, 1828 Frederiksberg
melee.dk

Jerome Vintage
Luxury vintage clothing

Gl. Kongevej 105, 1850 Frederiksberg


Polly
Cosy & casual restaurant in the heart of Frederiksberg ($$)

Gammel Kongevej 96, 1850 Frederiksberg
restaurantpolly.dk/polly

Cisterns
Underground art experience

Bag Søndermarken, 2000 Frederiksberg
cisternerne.dk/en

OUTSKIRTS & OTHER

Louisiana Museum of Modern Art
Contemporary museum with an amazing garden (worth the 1h train trip)

Hornbæk Strand
Beach & surf spot

Arken Museum of Modern Art
Contemporary museum

Bakken & Dyrehaven
Old amusement park & natural resort

Experimentarium
Experimental science museum

Mønsklint
Chalk cliffs overlooking a beach

Bornholm
Small inhabited island with beautiful nature - good for a weekend getaway

Lynæs Surfcenter
Café, surf & sub school, burger joint, bakery, bar, office community, events, accommodation, and more!

Lillero
Stay in luxury tents under the stars with the ocean in front and the forest behind you. Experience nature, enjoy delicious food at @madro_dk, and hop in the sauna after a swim.

Ro Naturcamp
Here you can relax in the middle of the most beautiful nature, surrounded by orchards and water. Opens July 2020.

MICHELIN RESTAURANTS ($$$$)

Geranium***
Fine dining restaurant

Noma**
Scandinavian restaurant

Alchemist**
Holistic cuisine

Jordnær**
Local Nordic cuisine

Kadeau Copenhagen**
Fine dining restaurant

AOC**
Fine dining restaurant

Søllerød kro*
Classic French cuisine

Kiin Kiin*
Contemporary Thai fusion

Formel B*
Fine Dining Restaurant

Kong Hans Kælder*
Fine dining restaurant

Marchal* located in D'Angleterre
Modern European restaurant

Alouette*
Contemporary cuisine

Clou*
Fine dining restaurant

Relæ*
Farm to table

108*
Seasonal kitchen

Kokkeriet*
Danish restaurant

CREDITS

PHOTO ROLANDS VARSBERGS

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