The Irrelevance and the Relevance of Location: Great Attrition and Digital Nomads

Monday, 12/09/2022

The 2nd Thessaloniki Metropolitan Summit: entitled "Europe in times of unrest: Taking the vision of unity & solidarity to the next level," was held at the Ioannis Vellides Congress Center, Thessaloniki, Greece, on September 8-9, 2022. Alba Dean and Professor of International Business Relations, Kostas Axarloglou, was one of the invited luminaries who shared their thoughts on how the evolution of new technologies has majorly impacted the relevance and irrelevance of the work location.

Dr. Axarloglou participated in a roundtable discussion on "The Irrelevance and the Relevance of Location," which took place on the second day of the conference. His fellow panelists were Kyriakos Pierrakakis, Minister of Digital Governance, Greece; Haris Broumidis, Chairman & CEO, Vodafone Greece; Panayotis Georgiopoulos, Chief Executive Officer, Nova – Wind, and Bart De Witte, founder, HIPPO AI Foundation, founder, Digital Health Academy, Germany.

Dr. Axarloglou started his discussion by pointing out the three significant dimensions for digital transformation: (1) government policies enabling transformation and digitalization of the state, (2) telecommunication companies implementing this transformation, and (3) entities that provide services that benefit the people.

Moving on, he discussed how the evolution of new technologies such as IoT, AI, Metaverse, etc., along with 5G technology, make location (almost) irrelevant in communications, socialization, trading, learning, health treatment, etc. Specifically, Dr. Axarloglou referred to the significant number of 20 million employees who quit their US jobs between 04/2021 and 09/2021, of which 50% left without having another job. Moreover, Dr. Axarloglou explained why employees quit and clarified how the job's location had impacted their decision to resign after the pandemic.

Additionally, Dr. Axarloglou stressed that a new generation of employees now prioritizes life and work balance. They can choose work locations, provide services from anywhere in the world, freelance, or even work for another company. These so-called digital nomads have the opportunity to switch jobs but not locations of their choosing. This new trend has become a thorn in the side of business managers and leaders as they shift their focus to talent attraction and employee retention.

Lastly, Dr. Axarloglou wrapped up his presentation with an emphasis on the disruptive phenomenon of employee location. According to Dr. Axarloglou, employees do not want to give up their locale (i.e., home, town, etc.). Yet, historically, location has tied employees to the area where they work. Now, the place of work has become irrelevant due to remote work, and employees have the freedom to leapfrog from jobs or even work sites.

Dr. Axarloglou concluded his discussion by saying: "We are in front of two disruptive phenomena, both in terms of workplace and also in terms of locations. These are the outcome of digital transformation."

If you would like to view the panel discussion in its entirety watch below.

Alba was an Academic Partner at this year’s event.

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