Spurred by job losses and the anticipation of lockdowns in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a mass movement of migrants rushed to get home. Making it one of the biggest trends, the start-up and tech community including prominent founders, venture capitalists and big companies like Tesla moved base from the San Francisco Bay Area to states like Texas and cities like Miami.
India, too, saw a similar trend, where a host of start-up staff went back to their hometowns, while others relocated to Goa. However now since almost all the offices and businesses are back open the trend is gradually disappearing. Workers are reverting back to their businesses and metropolitan cities, but not all of them, there is still big chunk of youths entering into the state to Work from Goa
“With Covid-19 virus outbreak normalizing remote work, many tech professionals were able to put into motion their dream of having a life in Goa, away from the traffic and pollution of a large metropolis. But the excitement seems to be wearing off now,” said Sarin Curioso, the co-founder of Curioso Studio and Suites, a co-working place in Goa.
According to the experts, only 30% of those from the tech industry who moved to Goa during the pandemic may consider staying back for long. It could imply that they were choosing a better quality of life over better career prospects, they added.
Compared to other metropolitan cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Goa is still not there in terms of infrastructure for a start-up hub to flourish even though the state government is driving initiatives to change that.
There are many things that make it difficult for people to sustain for a long period. While working on a beach sounds exciting, poor internet connectivity in some parts of the state can be disturbing. Also, cab service providers like Ola and Uber are banned there, only state-run cab facility GoaMiles works, that too limited only to the main cities.
“Working from Goa can be easier for unmarried millennials who are not tied down by familial responsibilities and for beginners running small teams to operate out of Goa, but hiring senior talent becomes the main issue if you want to scale up as families with dual-income may struggle to shift to Goa,” said Akhil Singh, cofounder of ed-tech start-up Quest. Singh moved to Goa in November 2018 but is currently thinking of shifting base to Bengaluru as his company scales up.
“The influx of tech geeks into the state did keep the economy afloat in the absence of international tourism, but now they’re moving back to the cities they came from while they have inflated prices in so many categories for the locals,” she said, adding that when the reverse migration happens for real, people would start giving back to the state – by generating employment for starters – instead of just using its resources,” said Shruti Chaturvedi, founder of media company Chaaipani, who moved to Goa from Mumbai two years ago.
Bhagyashree Pancholy, a remote work, and law specialist, said work-from-home in the same city has found acceptance among Indian tech companies and other corporates but remote working or work from ‘anywhere’ is still a fancy concept that is not feasible in the Indian construct.
However, for Goa, which was viewed only as a part place by the rest of India this work from anywhere trend did come as a blessing in disguise for the State. Hopefully, Goa could be in a position to set in motion a process of brain-gain by engaging skilled Goan techies and professionals in the Goan workplaces.