A Millionaire’s Version of Remote Work Is Working From a Superyacht

Our world is built on contrasts and paradoxes. One such paradox would be how the private superyacht sector is booming in the middle of a worldwide financial crisis, which means the world's richest ain’t hurtin' for cash.
Rising Sun, a spectacular Lurssen megayacht, is used by billionaire David Geffen as his mobile office 14 photos
Photo: Lurssen (Composite)
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This could probably partly explain it.

The year 2020 brought a complete shift in perspective in most essential aspects of everyday life, together with countless other tragic developments that we all know too well to get into once more. Among these aspects was remote working, which was first used as a temporary solution and then a long-term option for many businesses.

Like many average Janes and Joes, the world's richest also turned to working from home during that year of social restrictions and forced isolation. The difference was that the home they chose to work from was shaped like a boat and featured the most incredible luxury amenities. To the world's multi-millionaires and billionaires, working from home meant work-from-yacht – a new trend that, three years on, shows no signs of dying down.

Rising Sun
Photo: Lurssen
Not that we needed pointing out anymore, but the rich tend to do things differently from us normies. Look no further than 2020 for an example, when billionaire businessman and music mogul David Geffen practiced a one-percenter version of the lockdown onboard his Rising Sun megayacht, one of the world's biggest, most expensive, and most secretive vessels – and thought it wise to boast about it online.

He wasn't the first nor the last to do so, though he was the only one to get burned at the stake of social media for seemingly bragging about it on Instagram. After all, as the world was facing the biggest medical crisis and restrictions that hadn't been applied in generations, here was Geffen, chilling in international waters on a floating mansion estimated at $490 million – and letting the whole world know it!

What was then a singular case is now the norm, as Richard Lambert, head of sales at Burgess Yachts, one of the biggest luxury brokerage firms, told Fortune last month. Millionaires and billionaires of the world are using their floating palaces as their favorite remote offices, which, in turn, is operating considerable changes in naval design.

Rising Sun
Photo: Lurssen
Put it differently: where the likes of you and me have grown accustomed to calling that corner of the living room "the office," the world's one-percenters do that with their superyachts. "We have clients spend up to four months a year on board and be able to actually effectively run their businesses," Lambert explained, speaking of a "real explosion" of work-from-yacht cases.

Several things have contributed to this boom besides money. Technology has evolved at a rapid pace in recent years, which means superyachts, once perfect for going off-grid for family vacations, now get a highly efficient communications technology infrastructure that allows for conducting business much like you would from the land office.

The standardization of online communications in the workplace, replacing in-person meetings, also helped. Zoom calls and getting stuff done over email became the norm during and post-2020, and once they became a reality, they became indispensable.

Rising Sun
Photo: Lurssen
Put two and two together, and you get the emergence of a new trend that is shaping the old industry.

The work-from-yacht trend is changing naval design and shows no signs of going away yet. The number of millionaires is on the rise at a global scale, which means more people with money to burn. That explains why the private naval sector is perhaps one of the few to report growth in these difficult times.

"It’s a technological revolution; we’re going to see the way we work change massively over the next 10 to 20 years. It’s an ever-evolving, and dynamic situation, but it’s here to stay," Lambert explains.

The traditional superyacht layout has changed to reflect these new demands. Today's millionaire seafarer is looking for a vessel that has multi-generational appeal and is thus able to combine leisure, wellness, and business in one seamless experience. The ideal vessel also has to be modern in finishes and features, with extended autonomy, and capable of solid performance.

Rising Sun
Photo: Lurssen
Look at any one of the more recent deliveries, and you will notice that all have the same laundry list of features, one from which an office (either in the owner's suite or separate from it), a gym, and a spa won't be absent. Some even have dedicated children's playgrounds or educational spaces for home-schooling, while others are capable of going months without docking for resupplies.

Today's superyacht is no longer a family vacation boat but a means to break off from the world without virtually doing so. A superyacht is now a space suitable for an extended stay, where the world's millionaires can play, work, and stay healthy, and they're able to do so by simply moving from room to room.

Lambert hints that this kind of versatility outweighs conspicuous luxury for once, but another look at these spectacular vessels will tell you differently: a superyacht is today a versatile, live-in space with this incredible functionality, but it's still incredibly luxurious. Even conspicuously so.

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Editor's note: Photos in the gallery show David Geffen's Rising Sun megayacht, estimated at some $490 million.

About the author: Elena Gorgan
Elena Gorgan profile photo

Elena has been writing for a living since 2006 and, as a journalist, she has put her double major in English and Spanish to good use. She covers automotive and mobility topics like cars and bicycles, and she always knows the shows worth watching on Netflix and friends.
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