Dec, 2020 - By Nilanjana Chakraborty
Mankind has always been a nomadic species. In our earliest years, we roamed from one region to the next, tracking the stars and following the seasons in an effort to hunt, gather and protect our tribes and families from vicious predators. Before the birth of modern civilization, it was commonplace to move about across wide ranges and territories, covering swaths of land and sea from hundreds to thousands of miles apart. Imagine looking at beautiful landscapes in the Swiss Alps or the Carpathians, instead of being in the office. Instead of travelling every day to work, you have the liberty to work from anywhere and everywhere. The rise of new technology such as cloud communications, collaboration apps and productivity tools means that the internet can now be our office, letting us be location independent. We’re free to move around again, and many of us are taking advantage of that fact, with 34% of remote employees spending 4-5 days outside of the office. Ever seen pictures on social media of remote workers sitting on a white sand beach, laptop in hand, making an income and immediately wonder how they can do that too? Well those aren’t just pictures, this is a trend today.
This may sound fictional, but a growing number of professionals have made the move to a more nomadic lifestyle, all with the help of technology, a trend called as being a ‘digital nomad’. Digital nomads are people who are location-independent and use technology to perform their job. Digital nomads work remotely, and telecommute rather than be physically present at a company's headquarters or office. They may work from foreign countries, coffee shops, public libraries, co-working spaces, or recreational vehicles. All they need is their laptop and a good internet connection. From a freelancer to a remote worker, this new kind of working is changing the way people think about careers and travel, continually pushing the boundaries about what can be and should be acceptable in the modern working era.
In today’s business world, the new working life has made way for the ‘digital nomad’ – a person who doesn’t rely on working in one specific location. Instead, they work entirely remotely, using technology and connectivity to complete tasks and execute day-to-day activities as they travel and explore. While the notion of being a digital nomad continues to be an aspiration for many working adults, flexible-working option specialists, Instant Offices has investigated why this new way of working continues to be highly desirable. An instant office is a furnished and fully-equipped pay-as-you-use office space, located in a building managed by an operator
There are so many definitions for digital nomads and it is difficult to find a one-size-fits-all definition. One thing that goes without saying is that these employees do not sit in front of the same desk, going to the same office every day. Instead, they are location independent, working somewhere away from the office. Today, all the industries are beginning to adopt remote working and digital nomad is a new revolution altogether. Normally remote workers work from home or at co-working spaces, or a nearby coffee shop. But nomads are defined by their passion for exploration. They have a deep desire to travel and move about while they continue working.
These people tend to change their destination frequently, while still making money from a connection on their laptop or phones. From London to Paris, these nomads are global travelers.
These nomads rely on remote working and tasks that can be done from a distance. Fortunately, remote jobs are becoming increasingly popular.
Digital nomads are risk-takers, often relying on their own hustle .After all, in this lifestyle, you’re never 100% sure where you’re going to end up, or whether you’re going to run out of money before you can pay your rent. However, this kind of employee thrives in exciting and fast-paced situations. They get to live among diverse cultures in places all over the world, devote themselves to learning new skills, and experience life in new and thrilling ways.
To ‘go to work’ you will not need a long commute as a digital nomad. All you need is your Wi-Fi and maybe your laptop and that is your entire office.
As a digital nomad, you can decide where you wish to work from.
You can work from wherever you feel the most productive. A few may prefer working from home at their study table whereas the others it will be a local coffee shop. For some it can be a new country altogether.
The digital nomad life is often imagined as the ultimate dream life.
They spend their days hopping from beach to beach with a cocktail in hand.
According to a survey from MBO Partners, digital nomads grew from 7.3 million last year to 10.9 million this year, a 49% increase.
However, According to Economic Times, digital nomads still only account for 7% of the U.S. labor force. This number is expected to grow as more and more companies have adopted the resources and infrastructure to accommodate these workers.
Meanwhile, many people have expressed wanting to become digital nomads over the next two or three years. Steve King, partner at Emergent Research, which helped conduct the survey, believes that these are ‘armchair digital nomads’ who will never make the leap.
It wouldn’t be fair to say that as a ‘digital nomad’, life is all beach-dwelling and short working hours. However, the way of life is marginally more flexible and allows individuals the freedom to achieve a strikingly desirable work-life balance. Digital nomads are, in fact, some of the hardest working people in the economic ecosystem. It is not easy to stay constantly on top of your business whilst travelling, and although this lifestyle may sound appealing, it actually involves a lot of multitasking, accommodating different local infrastructures and missing out on social interaction. The best digital nomad jobs come with plenty of opportunities for freedom and flexibility. You can decide whether you want to work from the comfort of your own bed one day, or whether you want to head to a local co-working space. This eliminates a lot of the stress that’s associated with things like the standard office chaos and the daily commute.
The global pandemic has shined a spotlight on location independent and remote working that has facilitated not only flexibility, but the chance for individuals to choose the safest working environment for them during this unprecedented time.
Digital nomadism during the pandemic was a realization for many after their organizations needed to shift to online models almost overnight; this required significant adaptability and business initiative from organizations. With the technology we already have, shifting from work-from-office to working from home was relatively simple for many. It was hardly a leap then, for individuals to conceive of working not just from home, but from anywhere with internet access. The benefits in this respect can be reaped by anyone who is able to work from a laptop.
Moreover, digital nomads are more productive. According to research from Stanford University, digital nomads are actually 13% more productive than their office counterparts. However, the digital nomad lifestyle has its disadvantages as well. Imagine you’re travelling the world, if you suddenly lose your internet connection, you might be stuck unable to get work done for your employer. There is also a risk of getting distracted almost constantly. While remote working from your desk at home is unlikely to overwhelm you with shiny things to do and see, digital nomadism offers something different. As a digital nomad, you’ll be exploring the world and seeing new things all the time. It can be tempting to ignore your work so that you can experience more. That’s one of the reasons why digital nomads need to ensure they have a purpose, a goal and plenty of focus when they work. If you’re not passionate about what you’re doing, and you don’t have a schedule to guide you, then you could end up getting nothing done.
The digital nomad lifestyle is a socially freeing concept. You get to travel the world meeting new people and interacting with different cultures. Living in China may seem exciting, but if you don’t speak the local language you’ll struggle to make social connections. You will neither get the time nor the opportunity to make real connections as you will keep moving from time to time. This can make you feel depressed at times.
Work wise, you’ll find it difficult to connect with your clients as a freelancer. Digital nomads are here to stay. With work-from-home being the normal, it is much easier for people to move about and work from where they feel like.