According to Google Trends, searches for jobs in isolated locations have increased significantly this year compared to last year. And while the demand for remote working has never been higher, that usually means working comfortably from a computer at home or in a coffee shop.
Google Trends stats January 2022 vs January 2023
- ‘rural careers’ up 300%
- ‘jobs in isolated locations’ up 200%
- ‘Antarctica jobs’ up 49%
- ‘lighthouse jobs’ up 53%
- ‘offshore jobs’ up 83%
- ‘international jobs’ up 69%
If you’re looking to leave the water cooler chat behind and never have to sit in rush hour traffic again, a new study has revealed the world’s most remote working locations and the jobs that redefined ‘remote working’ a long time ago. And the results are varied, from puffin watching and penguin counting to outer space research right here on earth, there is a remote life job for every taste.
StaySafeApp.com, the company that conducted the research, set out to discover the most extreme living and working conditions, where often people work alone, have to survive all weather conditions and have little contact with the outside world. Each location is ranked by how far it is from a developed town or city, how accessible the location is and the nature of the work.
Don Cameron, CEO of StaySafeApp.com, said: “Lone workers are those who spend a large part of their working day or week away from colleagues, but we found these jobs take that definition to a whole new level. When you are alone for any amount of time at work, it’s best to be aware of all the risks and have the right support and training in place. The same advice applies whether you are thousands of kilometres from home, or just working in another building on your own.
“If you do find yourself working alone, make sure you have regular communication with your line manager and someone knows where you are at all times. They should know your schedule and check in with you regularly to ensure you are safe.”
Sirius dog patrol, Greenland
A dedicated unit of the Danish Special Forces Command, primarily patrolling the world’s largest national park, Greenland’s vast and unforgiving border, the Sirus Dog Patrol is a job not for the fainthearted. As such, only the most elite soldiers in the country make up a small team that works in the coldest and most remote regions on earth, in order to protect Denmark’s security.
Soldiers have to be trained in multiple skills, including dentistry and medicine, due to them not having access to these services whilst on patrol. They live in darkness during the winter months and their only access to the outside world is via Satellite telephone. Temperatures can range from –10ºC to a bone-chilling –55ºC, and the nearest city is 1002km away. Women are welcome to apply but none have yet.
Lighthouse caretaker, Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse, Australia
Even though most lighthouses are now automatic and don’t need a keeper to shine the lights anymore, there is still the important role of the caretaker to ensure the lighthouse and its surroundings keep running smoothly. The Maatsuyker Island Lighthouse in Australia is the country’s most southerly and sits on a 186-hectare island, 5.5km off the coast. The island suffers from dramatic weather with 250 days of rain per year and winds up to 176km per hour. This can be a problem when the only access to the island is via helicopter flight.
The caretaker job, which is open to two people, gets thousands of applicants applying every six months. Their role is to maintain grounds and buildings, plant and equipment, monitor all power and water systems, basic land management work, and carry out weather observations for the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) for which they receive payment. In August 2019, two volunteer lighthouse caretakers became engaged to be married at the lighthouse.
Scientist, Concordia Station, Antarctica
Located 1,600km from the South pole, the French-Italian research centre, Concordia Station dubbed ‘White Mars’, is so remote that the European Space Agency’s Mars programme used it to understand how humans react to long-term isolation. It provides a unique platform to learn about Earth and 16 scientists live here for one year in complete isolation; this includes four months of the year in total darkness. The scientists gather relevant data to study glaciology, seismography, the Earth’s magnetic field and the climate. Plus, the cloud-free skies make Concordia an excellent site for astronomy observation.
The centre is based at 3200 metres altitude, so the crew has to live with a third less oxygen than is available at sea level. The nearest human beings are stationed some 600km away at the Russian Vostok base, making Concordia more remote than the International Space Station. All topped off with temperatures reaching minus 80 degrees and you have to really love science to take this job.
Warden, Calf of Man, Isle of Man, UK
In 1959 the Calf of Man, an island off the Isle of Man, was made a bird sanctuary and has been looked after by two seasonal wardens ever since. The 618-acre island becomes their home and place of work from March to November, as they share a farmhouse. Their only company is sheep and seals, and a small fishing boat arrives weekly with their food and other supplies, depending on the weather.
Wardens are responsible for monitoring the native birds through migration and breeding, with close attention paid to the Puffins on the island. The downsides are that they can only take showers once a week to save water, and have just two wood-burning stoves to keep the wardens warm.
Marine management officer, Tristan da Cunha
Part of the UK’s overseas territory, Tristan da Cunha in the South Atlantic is one of the most isolated islands in the world. 2,400km from the nearest land, it’s home to 250 islanders and millions of seabirds and fascinating wildlife.
The marine management officer role lasts for three years and is responsible for a project that will engage the inhabitants and ensure long-term protection of their waters and wildlife. Tasks include everything from running events with local school children to counting penguins! It’s no small task, as they’ll be covering the Marine Protection Zone, an area three times the size of the UK, and the largest in the Atlantic, which is home to one of the world’s most pristine marine environments and wildlife.
Fire lookout, Gila National Forest, New Mexico
Phillip Connors quit his job at the Wall Street Journal back in 2001 and has been perched on top of a 35-foot-high tower looking for signs of smoke, ever since. As Fire Lookout, he helps alert firefighters to potential forest fires so they can tackle the blaze early. But it’s not as easy as you may think, the park in New Mexico is 10,970 sq km. It’s an 8km hike from the tower to the nearest road, but Philipp stays there half of every year.
The Black Fire in 2022, forced Phillip to evacuate via helicopter as he watched it creep closer for days at a time. He has also been witness to the impact of a warmer climate, and how the weather and landscapes have changed as a result.
Seafood processor, Alaska
This job is often recommended on Reddit when someone asks what jobs they can do that is isolated. Although it’s a busy seafood processing plant, the repetitive nature of the tasks and little time for a casual chat with colleagues make it perfect for someone who prefers solitude.
Perhaps the most physically demanding job on the list, a seafood processors will find themselves on their feet up to 16 hours a day in very cold temperatures, sorting, butchering and packing away fish. You could be working 7 days a week, or not at all, depending on the fish deliveries. Travel and housing costs are covered by the employer, but don’t expect peak luxury, as it will more likely be dorm-style rooms.
Winter Caretaker, Yellowstone National Park, US
From December to March, the winter caretaker has to clear the snow from 100 rooftops and roads in the 8,000 sq km park. You’d be right in thinking there must be a lot of snow for that to be a full-time job, 3.8 metres is the average but it’s not uncommon for it to be twice that on the higher ground.
With temperature sometimes hitting minus 22ºC, it can actually be too cold to move the snow. Too fluffy and dry and it’s like sand. So it’s better to wait until it’s hard and can be cut. The caretakers use saws and shovels to push the cut blocks off the roofs. They are also responsible for maintaining other buildings like employee dorms and the trails around the park. Not as isolated as it once was, as phone signals are fairly reliable now, the caretakers do still have to plan around a twice-season 110km trip to the nearest town for fresh vegetables and milk.