Top executives want to be digital nomads
Among the applicants seeking to live and work remotely from Bermuda for a year are chief executive officers and chief technology officers.
And it is hoped that once they experience the island they will spread positive words about it to their social and business networks, and possibly bring business to Bermuda.
The high calibre of job titles among those expressing an interest in becoming a “digital nomad” one-year resident in Bermuda is seen as a factor differentiating the island from others countries promoting similar remote-working opportunities.
David Burt, the Premier, said “From Bermuda's perspective we encourage people to go into offices, we think as long as they are following precautions they certainly are safe. But that's not the same case as persons in Silicon Valley or other places.
“If you look at the amount of chief technology officers, CEOs — the job titles of people who are actually applying for the Work From Bermuda Certificate, that's the sweet spot if we are going to continue. They will come to Bermuda and say ‘Why haven't I been to Bermuda before?'”
Mr Burt made his comments during a Work From Bermuda Certificate webinar, hosted by the Bermuda Business Development Agency and the Bermuda Tourism Authority, which shared information on the certificate and discussed ways for local entrepreneurs to meet the desires of new residents, the long-term economic benefits, and guidance on how professionals in international business can make the idea successful.
Mr Burt said the top advantage Bermuda has over other places offering similar digital nomad opportunities is its proximity and connections to the North East of the United States. He also said: “Bermuda is one of the few countries in the world where we can confidently say that we have the ability to run fibre into every single home. We have the right cable connections, the right submarine cable connections.”
From an international business perspective there are long-term benefits, according to Lynesha Lightbourne, business development manager, asset management and high-net-worth services, at the BDA.
She said: “It's about the experience. Coming to Bermuda is an experience for these individuals who work in the corporate sector, so the Work From Bermuda Certificate is a great opportunity for anyone to come and experience first hand — to live it and love it. And if someone likes it after being here for an extended period of time, they will potentially bring their companies here and invest in real estate, purchase property, set up another corporate structure, or perhaps establish a family office.”
She added: “This opportunity gives us a potential for a ripple effect, and that is a great thing for all of us, and that is why we should all be invested in ensuring that it is successful. It's a great opportunity to create Bermuda advocates who will also tell their own networks about Bermuda and spread the word of ‘why Bermuda'.”
Some digital nomads are already on the island. There are opportunities for Bermudians with a house or condominium to let to provide accommodation for the one-year residents — although a key factor is having a furnished property.
Penny MacIntyre, partner at Rego Sotheby's International Realty, said the real estate sector is actively looking for inventory, and working with owners to help educate them on the opportunities presented.
She added: “This is presenting Bermudians particularly with the ability to look at a revenue stream.”
When asked if the Work From Bermuda Certificate will evolve and become the norm, the Premier said: “The pandemic is going to cause us to reimagine how work is, and what it is we are doing. It's probably too early to make predictions as to what that trend may look like. We need to know what happens when it comes to long-term immunity and vaccinations to see what things will look like in the future.
“But for the next year, it is certainly something that is going to affect us, and we are going to have to examine that as more evidence becomes available.”
Glenn Jones, interim CEO of the BTA, wrapped up the webinar. He said: “It was really encouraging to hear the Premier say the titles of the people who are looking at Bermuda really does differentiate us from some of the other countries that are attempting this kind of experience of people working remotely from their countries.
“Short and long-term, this has a really positive impact on our economy, and impacts positively people who work outside of tourism and outside of international business and that is really the kind of economic stimulus we want to see.”