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The Growing Trend of Working on the Road

January 27th, 2022 by ashleyv

 

One of the outcomes of confronting a global pandemic has been the realization that for many, alternative ways of working and living are possible. For others, a remote lifestyle is even preferable to achieving a better work-life balance.

For those with the ability and desire to go fully remote, a growing number are deciding to hit the road full time. Read on to learn about this shift, why many newcomers are choosing to explore the nomadic lifestyle, and how it has impacted the RV industry.

Changing Attitudes

As of 2021, only 1.5% of all RVers lead a full-time RV lifestyle, but advancements in tools, shifts in remote work attitudes, and changing family goals across the country indicate that this number will soon be on the rise.

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, less than 10% of the U.S. labor force worked entirely remotely, but over the course of the lockdown, nearly half of all workers made the switch to work from home. Looking ahead, projections estimate up to a quarter of our country’s workforce plans to remain fully remote in the long term with many more expecting to work remotely for a significant portion of their time.

These shifts not only create new possibilities for workers and families in the RV community, but they’re broadening the perception of full-time RVers beyond the traditional workamping and seasonal roles that have been a predominant income source for these individuals.

The demand for remote work in graphic design, marketing, writing, customer service, and other knowledge industries is at an all-time high. Globally, 16% of companies operate fully remotely as of 2021, while over 4.7 million people work from home at least half of their week in hybrid arrangements.

As of April 2021, over 60% of working parents want to work remotely full-time, and 32% prefer a hybrid work model. For many parents, the idea of working from the road is both appealing and possible when it previously hadn’t been an option.

With more parents choosing to work from the road, we’ve also seen a rise in remote schooling, or “roadschooling.” For some, what began as a temporary fix when districts opted for virtual learning has become a long-term arrangement with families enjoying the flexibility and benefits of fully remote schooling while hitting the road for adventure-learning, too.

Benefits to Living and Working from an RV

Many families choosing to go fully remote hope to achieve a healthier work-life balance and expand their family’s experiences and educational opportunities. Beyond these goals, there are many other factors driving the decision to live and work from an RV.

Reduced bills and more financial freedom
For those looking to lower their monthly spending, embracing the full-time RV lifestyle can be more affordable than traditional lodging arrangements. Selling off unnecessary possessions and a personal residence, or completing the end of a lease, will reduce the number of bills one is responsible for each month. Without a mortgage or rent payment and monthly utilities like gas and electric, full-timers can begin a mobile lifestyle with only a few recurring bills.

Travel the country while earning a living
One of the most desirable perks to the fully remote RV life is the opportunity to travel more than is possible with a traditional 9-5 career. Additionally, full time RVers love the flexibility of a day-to-day remote schedule and find it offers a higher quality of life and overall work-life balance.

Travel the country in order to earn a living
Beyond merely gaining the ability to work and travel simultaneously, many Americans are finding ways to incorporate RVing and the nomadic lifestyle into their work directly. The expansion of the RV industry and lifestyle over the last several years has cultivated an ever-growing network of professional writers, bloggers, photographers, and content creators, all devoted to documenting the RV life and helping others get started.

Broadened worldview
Adding travel to homeschooling or virtual learning creates opportunities for students to live a life of limitless field trips. Full-time RVers with families feel that road life allows children to make connections between what they’re reading about and what they’re seeing on visits to national parks, museums, and historical sites. They also find it offers a more flexible learning schedule and lets students move at a faster or slower pace fit for their individual needs.

Finding support in a growing community
As remote work and roadschooling increases in popularity, the community and resources continue to diversify. There’s a growing support network of families sharing their stories, lessons, and tips across blogs and social media, most of which have no plans to return to traditional schooling or in-person work any time soon.

Impacts on RV Products & New Features 

The growing Work from the Road movement has rippled across the RV industry as workers adapt to a new lifestyle. Because RVs can have restricted spaces, manufacturers are introducing new products and features to help families and remote workers capitalize on the layout inside a mobile office and living space.

Here are just a few examples of new and changing products across the industry:

  • ITC’s new MOD Leg Table System allows customers to mount their table in multiple positions. It can act as a dining table, desk, or workspace, seamlessly changing positions to make space for a variety of needs.
  • RV manufacturers are creating models and adaptations specifically outfitted for the full-time RV worker. Features in these mobile home offices include ergonomic seating options, improved WiFi, and soundproofing.
  • For workers who still have a “homebase” but are embracing their RVs as mobile offices, converted camper vans are increasing in popularity, allowing customers to take off for a week at a time while maintaining their work schedule and needs.

Many RV manufacturers were exploring more extensive remote-work options prior to Covid-19, but the pandemic expedited these plans across the industry. With trends in remote work projected to maintain relevance as workers continue to work from home, the RV home office market is expected to continue evolving with these customer needs.


2021 In Review: How Recreational Activities Continue to Evolve

January 3rd, 2022 by ashleyv

2021 presented new and ongoing challenges as we continued to weather the storm of the COVID-19 pandemic, navigate the resulting global supply chain disruptions which caused product shortages across the board, and grappled with the seemingly perpetual uncertainty of what the future holds.

Through the ups and downs of the last year, there’s no denying that things are changing—and that goes for where we work and how we spend our leisure time, too. Let’s take a look at some of the ways our work and recreational behaviors have continued to evolve across the country during 2021.

Notable RV Industry Statistics for 2021

  • 11.2 million households own an RV, evenly split between individuals under and over the age of 55.
  • There has been significant growth in ownership amongst 18-to-34-year-olds who now make up 22% of the market.
  • A staggering 9.6 million households have plans to purchase an RV within the next five years.
  • Those intending to purchase an RV plan to use it a median of 25 days each year, representing the changing views towards remote and non-traditional workspaces.

Notable Boat Industry Statistics for 2021

  • The boating industry has been in growth mode since 2012, hitting a 13-year high in 2020 and continuing to spike throughout 2021.
  • Boat sales were up 30% through March 2021 compared to the previous year’s average.
  • First-time boat buyers are expanding diversity across the market, averaging younger in age and being 1.5 times more likely to be women than any other buying group.
  • Entry-level boat styles including personal watercrafts, wake sport boats, freshwater fishing boats, and pontoons are all driving record retail sales, highlighting the trend in younger, more active first-time buyers entering the market.

Though trends were already pointing towards industry growth in both RVing and boating before the start of the global pandemic, the reality of life with COVID-19 has only furthered families’ desires for outdoor recreational activities and quality time spent with loved ones. These market shifts don’t seem to be slowing down any time soon, either.

With the continued prevalence of remote work and flexible schedules, more individuals and families in the RV market are exploring the ideas of RV-based office space, home schooling, or long-term travel lifestyles going into the new year.

As for the water, boating and fishing continues to hold the top spot as the largest recreational activity in the U.S. and approximately 100 million Americans go boating each year. Heading into 2022, the market is expected to keep growing and diversifying as people continue to discover the mental health benefits, joys, and freedoms of getting out on the water.

The recent global supply shortage has also shifted the types of RV and boating products consumers have access to. Rather than waiting months for new items, many people are choosing to buy used alternatives. By purchasing used, families can get into a unit quickly at a lower cost, then update or customize later to meet their specific needs. Owners are embracing upgrades—such as additional lighting, tables to support work, or bling in the form of a new battery-lit table—to help prolong the life and value of their investment.

Despite challenges for many across the last year, outdoor recreation is still on the rise and the future looks hopeful when it comes to getting outside, exploring new ways of living, and spending time with loved ones.

Sources: National Marine Manufacturers Association, RV Industry Association


ITC Chooses Michigan CASA as its 2021 Giving Tuesday Recipient

November 29th, 2021 by ashleyv

#GivingTuesday has become a global generosity movement and ITC is joining the power of people and organizations to transform communities. ITC has chosen Michigan CASA  (Court Appointed Special Advocate) as our Giving recipient for 2021 Giving Tuesday and we invite you to support this wonderful non-profit with us by purchasing a gift for your Boater or RVer or yourself from our ITC Manufacturer’s Select® shop. ITC will donate 20% of sales from Tuesday, November 30 to Friday, December 3 in order to help Michigan CASA (www.MichiganCASA.org) help provide CASAs to the over 1300 abused and neglected children in the family court system in Michigan. Below is a letter from the president of Michigan CASA, with a story of how a CASA can change a child’s life path. Michigan CASA is part of the national organization with dedicated state programs, so if you would like to learn more about the organization visit www.nationalcasagal.org.

A letter from Ms. Patty Sabin, President of Michigan CASA:

Patty Sabin, President/CEO of Michigan CASA

The holidays are upon us and for many, that means thoughts of family gatherings, tables filled with goodies, mittens and hats, and presents peeking out from under decorated holiday trees. For many, joy and thankfulness abound.

But in my role, I know all too well that this time of the year can bring sadness, stress, and incredible difficulty for many children across our state. The idea of happy family gatherings, food-filled tables, or presents under trees is a distant or forgotten dream – and for some unthinkable.

I want to share with you the turnaround story of Stephanie. As an energetic younger girl who would romp in the yard, her round face was once framed by silky, curled hair.

A neighbor noticed over time that Stephanie’s hair had begun to change. Now seven, she would slowly walk the sidewalk, shoulders hunched, her boots barely lifting from the ground. Her once-vibrant locks now hung in lank, sparse wisps. Concerned, the neighbor called for help and a social worker was dispatched.

And it was a good thing: Under the winter coat, Stephanie was found to be covered in bruises and scars and wouldn’t speak but an occasional whispered word. A doctor found evidence of sexual abuse , malnutrition, untreated bone fractures, and severe developmental delays. Stephanie’s parents claimed to know nothing saying, “she’s clumsy, falls a lot, pulls at her hair.”

While Stephanie’s life was far from right side up, that day – just weeks before Christmas – it was suddenly turned even further upside down when she became a ward of the court and sent to live in a foster home.

Although now living in a stranger’s home, Stephanie did end up receiving a holiday blessing that year. It showed up in the form of Margot, a CASA, or Court Appointed Special Advocate, who dedicated herself to learning more about her young charge and helping the fragile little girl find the very best outcome for a much brighter future.

While Stephanie didn’t have many presents under that foster home tree, she did begin to realize that in Margot, she had gotten a gift: an advocate – someone she could trust, would listen to her, and speak on her behalf. And for Stephanie, that meant the world.

In the ensuing months, Margot learned a lot about Stephanie and her family: her younger brother had also been removed from the home; her “father” was not a biological parent; and Stephanie’s developmental delays had become obvious to teachers a full year prior.

With Margot’s advocacy, a case was brought against the parents with a recommendation that neither Stephanie nor her brother be returned to their mother. The man Stephanie thought was her father was convicted and sent to jail.

Today Stephanie is 10. Because of Margot’s advocacy and research, Stephanie now lives with her Aunt Cee – her biological father’s sister.

At Aunt Cee’s, Stephanie has her own room she got to help decorate. The blond luster of her cascading curly hair has returned. And she’s made a remarkable comeback at school, now working at grade level and exceling in English.

Margot still visits Stephanie and stands in awe of her progress. The softly spoken one-word answers Margot got when they first met have blossomed into vibrant stories Stephanie tells on their visits.

Last Christmas, Stephanie helped decorate the large tree in Cee’s living room. As the days counted down to December 25, Stephanie saw presents peeking out with her name on them. A smile lit up her round face – a reaction she was experiencing more these days.

And just in time for Christmas this year, Stephanie will get another present when her adoption with Aunt Cee becomes official.

CASA’s like Margot make silver linings like this happen. Stephanie still has a long road ahead of her to be sure, but it’s one now paved more brightly.

There are more than 13,000 other children like Stephanie across Michigan who need caring advocates like Margot to help them find healing and recovery. These kids have seen things, heard things, and gone through things most of us can’t even begin to imagine. Many are scarred so deeply we wonder how they possibly could have survived or how they will ever find “normal.”

But I, and hundreds of CASAs across Michigan, are committed to building brighter futures for each of these children.

We will not fail them. And we can never give up. 

This season of giving, I’d like to invite you to join me in supporting CASAs across the state and to help recruit more Margots.  Will you help brighten the future for children like Stephanie – by making a purchase from one of our dedicated corporate sponsors ITC Incorporated?

Make no mistake: your support will change a child’s life. Thank you!