How Can Large Enterprises Benefit From Remote Workers? I
Sam O’Brien of RingCentral discusses how large organizations can benefit from remote working and introduces us to the “digital nomad”.
While the concept of digital nomads may be somewhat new, the nomadic lifestyle isn’t.
Mankind has long been a species attracted to the nomadic existence. In our earliest years, we roamed from one environment to the next freely, following nothing but the stars in our efforts to hunt and gather.
Before modern civilization began, it was people were rarely tied down to a single location. However, now we’re living in a very different kind of society, where the everyday rat race has gripped as all, holding many of us steady in the same place.
To continue living and earning successfully, humanity has often had to stay put – tethered to a specific desk or location.
However, that doesn’t have to be the case any more.
The rise of new technology like cloud communications, collaboration apps and productivity tools means that the internet can now be our proverbial office.
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 a week outside of the office.
The question is, what does digital nomadism mean to the future of work?
What Is Remote Work, and What Is a Digital Nomad?
There are so many different types of digital nomads in the current landscape that it’s hard to find a one-size-fits-all definition.
What we do know, however, is that these employees aren’t the ones that you see sitting behind a desk every day. Industries from all over are beginning to embrace remote work, and the digital nomad is a part of that revolution.
Digital nomads can work for themselves or complete tasks for another company from a distance. Unlike standard remote workers who usually work from home or a nearby coffee shop, nomads are defined by their passion for exploration.
These people tend to change their destination frequently, while still making money from a connection on their laptop or phones.
Digital nomads are risk-takers. 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, constantly experiencing life in new and thrilling ways.
What Does a Digital Nomad Do? Digital Nomad Jobs
So, how exactly does a digital nomad pay for their enigmatic lifestyle?
Well, as mentioned above, these experts rely on remote working and tasks that can be done from a distance. Fortunately, remote jobs are becoming increasingly popular, with 43% of American employees spending time working remotely in 2018.
Some digital nomads can continue working for a specific company while they travel. They might deal with things like data input or accounting from a distance, for instance. These tasks rarely require more than the right internet connection, some communication tools, and specialist software.
Other digital nomads focus on building a career around something that they’re good at. These people are freelancers who work for a wide variety of clients and companies online. As semi-entrepreneurial spirits, they have the extra work of seeking out clients and holding down repeat customers to consider as they earn their daily income.
The key to finding the right digital nomad jobs is to look for something that suits a highly active and remote lifestyle. You won’t be able to be a branch manager or a manufacturing floor supervisor when you’re halfway around the world. However, you can do things like:
- Customer service through cloud communication
- Design and website building
- Writing and editing
- Accounting and financial management
- IT and administration
- Project management
- Recruitment and HR (with video conferencing)
- Software development
- Teaching and tutoring
- Virtual assistant
In the age of the cloud and automation, the number of remote jobs available for digital nomads is growing. Virtually any job that you can do online can be done from a distance.
All you need to do is find a working strategy that’s suitable for you. Some of the best digital nomad jobs even allow you to choose your own clients, work according to your own schedule, and set your own pay.
Why Is Digital Nomadism So Popular?
So, what makes the digital nomad lifestyle so compelling?
In simple terms, it’s all about the freedom.
To “go to work” you don’t need a lengthy commute as a digital nomad. All you need to do is turn your computer on and log into your unified communications platform, or whatever other tools you need. Your desk is your Wi-Fi and your office is the entire world.
As a result, digital nomads have the unique opportunity to explore the furthest reaches of the planet, without having to worry about living in absolute poverty. As a digital nomad, you can:
1. Work where you want, when you want
Digital nomad jobs put you in the driver’s seat when it comes to things like your work schedule. You can choose to work whenever and wherever you feel the most productive. For some people, that will be at home at a desk, for others, it will be in a local café.
Like remote workers, digital nomads may also have the opportunity to adjust their working schedule to suit them. If you want to do something for yourself first thing on a Monday morning, then you don’t have to start work until after that task is done – unless you have a specific deadline to meet. You can even take long breaks in the middle of the day so you can recharge.
Just make sure that you’re setting boundaries for your work–life balance, or you could end up shackled to your computer 24/7.
2. Be inspired by new environments
If you’re remote working as a freelancer or small business owner, then you get to choose exactly what kind of lifestyle you want to live. Some people jump around from place to place for years. Other digital nomads eventually settle down in a specific location and become remote workers.
They say that travel feeds your soul, but it can also make you a more productive and creative professional too. A lot of people today find it difficult to innovate and think outside of the box when they’re constantly stuck in the same location. Disrupting your day-to-day patterns with thrilling new environments gives you a chance to build and evolve as a person.
You may find that the digital nomad lifestyle helps you to become the kind of professional that you’ve always wanted to be.
3. Eliminate the stress of traditional work
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 office. This eliminates a lot of the stress that’s associated with things like the standard office chaos and the daily commute.
For instance, did you know that longer commute times are often associated with higher blood pressure and BMI, as well as significant issues with stress and sleep? You can even start to get rid of some financial stresses with digital nomadism too.
While a lot of people worry about the concept of making money on the go, you’ll find that living in places like southeast Asia and beyond can be a lot cheaper than living in Europe and the US. You may even be able to adapt to living a more minimalist lifestyle, so you don’t need to make as much money to get by.
Is It Easy to Be a Digital Nomad?
For remote workers with a passion for travel, digital nomad jobs could conceivably have a lot to offer. When life is going well, the freedom to move around the world and explore new destinations can be a wonderful thing. However, learning how to become a digital nomad successfully isn’t always simple.
There are challenges to living as a digital nomad that affect all remote workers, as well as specific issues that travelling employees need to overcome.
1. Digital nomadism is socially isolating
To some extent, the digital nomad lifestyle can seem to be a socially freeing concept. After all, you get to travel the world meeting new people and interacting with different cultures. However, you rarely get the opportunity to put down roots and form real connections with anyone. This can make the relationships that you do build feel a little hollow.
At the same time, you’ll have a hard time connecting to either your clients as a freelancer or the other people in your office if you’re working for an employer. Remote working is a very isolating experience. If you don’t have regular meetings over video with your team members, and a means to stay connected each day such as a collaboration app, then you could lose track of your company culture.
2. Life is unpredictable
For many digital nomads, the fact that their lifestyle is unpredictable is what attracted them to their digital nomad jobs in the first place. These kinds of workers rarely want to be tied down to a specific kind of routine. They feel that working according to a common schedule puts them in a rut. However, an unpredictable lifestyle can be problematic too.
For instance, when you’re travelling the world, if you suddenly lose your internet connection, you might be stuck unable to get work done for your employer. If you’re not working, then you’re not getting paid. At the same time, there’s always a risk that your laptop or phone could end up broken or stolen, forcing you to find money for new tools as quickly as possible.
3. It’s so easy to get distracted
As a digital nomad, you’re also at 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.
Despite these obvious challenges, the remote working and digital nomad movement is growing. Already, the remote workforce has grown by 140% in the last 15 years. What’s more, when digital nomads find the right routine for their needs – they thrive.
A Stanford University study found that remote workers and digital nomads took fewer sick days than their counterparts, and were 13% more productive overall.