Tech Is Helping Millions of People Work from the Woods
It’s the latest way the pandemic and Zoom are changing everything
It used to be that camping was about getting away from it all. Sitting by a campfire on a chilly night, you could disconnect from the modern world and bask in the majesty and solace of nature. Not anymore. The pandemic, Zoom, and remote work have completely changed camping. Almost a quarter of campers today are opting to bring their laptops into the wilderness so they can virtually commute to the office right from their campsite.
That’s according to a new report from The Dyrt, a camping app that helps people plan their trips and book campsites. The Dyrt’s data shows that since 2018, the number of people bringing a laptop along on their camping trip nearly tripled. As of 2021, 23.8% of campers said that they planned to use their devices (laptops, but also phones) to work from their campsite. That number was up 49% since the start of the pandemic. Because about 8.3 million people went camping for the first time in America in 2021, that means almost 2 million Americans spent some portion of last year working from the woods for the first time. It’s a trend that The Dyrt has dubbed WFC or Work from Camp.
Especially in industries like tech, remote work has opened up all kinds of possibilities for redefining our relationships with our jobs. Tech companies have experimented with three-day workweeks and other perks aimed at work-life balance and remote work. More than twenty countries have introduced digital nomad visas, hoping to lure wealthy knowledge-economy laborers to their shores with the promise of nice weather, a cost of living way lower than you’d find in tech hubs like Silicon Valley, and fast, cheap Wifi.
For many in the industry, the flexibility that virtual collaboration technologies like Zoom, Slack and Band have created has helped with practical matters, like leaving more time for childcare or reducing commutes. Others, though, have taken a more radical approach, abandoning both the traditional office environment and the traditional bounds of working life.