The workplace is changing in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some people that have the means and flexibility are moving out of crowded and expensive cities to work remotely in rural areas with cheap rent and beautiful scenery.
The Taitung County Government has therefore been formulating plans to leverage its strengths to attract remote workers, sometimes known as digital nomads. Digital nomads live in exotic locations around the world for several months at a time, work through the internet, enjoy an area’s natural beauty and immerse themselves in local culture.
In this regard, the Taitung County Government has been collaborating with Crossroads, an organization that helps promote internationalization throughout Taiwan, since January. During meetings in January and April, Crossroads and the County Government discussed the emerging landscape of remote work and how Taitung could tap into this trend.
Therefore, the Taitung County Government has teamed up with the Dawu Township Office to set up a destination for remote workers. The proposed campus will provide remote workers a space to collaborate with each other and the community.
Thus, the Taitung County Government invited members from Crossroads to try living in Daniao, Dawu, and determine the feasibility for long-term remote work in the area. From December 9 to December 15, David Chang, the secretary-general of Crossroads, led a delegation of remote workers to live and work in the community for nearly a week.
This trial tested whether foreigners could integrate into a community that has traditionally had little contact with outsiders. During the day, the participants worked on their own projects, ranging from software engineering to performing arts promotion, through wireless internet tethered from their mobile devices.
When taking breaks from work, the members had chances to interact with the residents by volunteering at the local elementary school, participating in a music festival and sharing their experiences with the township government.
Everyone was moved by the warmth and openness of the residents as well as the natural beauty and relaxed pace of life found in Taitung’s indigenous communities. After the trial concluded, the members of Crossroads expressed interest in future collaboration with the County Government through various areas such as education, tourism and remote work.