Remote work or work from home has become familiar since the COVID-19 pandemic. While the idea of working away from the workplace can be traced back to the 70s, it has become more common and widely accepted by many workplaces since the pandemic. With the rise of remote working, there is also a new trend called digital nomadism. Digital nomads are people who work remotely while traveling. They generally work from hotels, cafes, or other public places, using public Wi-Fi or mobile hotspots. Most of them are freelance workers with skills in programming, content creation, design, development, and other areas. Digital nomadism combines the flexibility of remote working with the freedom of traveling. As a result, people are now traveling more, which is expected to continue for the foreseeable future.
What is the deal for the employees?
Travelling has become more convenient and affordable, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic struck the world. Countries are now prioritizing their tourism industry to revive their economy, which was severely affected by the pandemic. Digital nomadism is becoming increasingly popular among the new generation, or “Gen Z,” due to the ease of travel and the opportunity to work remotely while exploring new places. With a growing awareness of work-life balance, more people prefer to spend time on personal pursuits rather than working overtime. Working remotely also saves a lot of time since there is no need to commute to the workplace, allowing for efficient time management. This extra time can be spent traveling and discovering new destinations, enriching individuals’ experiences and broadening their horizons. These diverse experiences can also enhance an employee’s performance, leading to better income opportunities. Additionally, working remotely can save on the high housing costs associated with urban areas. The money saved can be invested in securing a better future for the next generations.
Being a digital nomad or working remotely may seem appealing to many, but it’s not always as incredible as it sounds. One of the biggest challenges that remote workers face is loneliness, followed by burnout. Even though digital nomads have the freedom to travel and explore new places, they often end up feeling detached from their loved ones and surroundings, which can lead to severe mental health issues.
Moreover, obtaining a working visa and complying with local tax regulations can be daunting for digital nomads. Freelancers, who comprise a significant portion of the remote workforce, experience irregular and inconsistent income, adding to their financial worries.
Time zone differences also present a major obstacle, as it can be challenging to maintain constant contact between employers and employees. Personal time management and productivity can be challenging while working remotely. Setting clear boundaries between work and personal time requires careful consideration. As a result, remote work may not be a viable option for everyone, and it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons of working remotely before deciding.
The employer side of the coin
Digital nomadism and remote work culture can benefit employers in various ways. Firstly, it significantly reduces office costs, as employees work from their chosen locations. Remote workers can work in a distraction-free environment and set their work hours, which can increase their happiness and, in turn, boost their productivity. Additionally, offering workplace flexibility can help companies attract and retain top talents worldwide, making it easier for organizations to hire skilled employees with diverse backgrounds. This can lead to a multicultural workforce with different perspectives, improving problem-solving, creativity, and innovation. Moreover, a diverse workforce can also help increase the organization’s ESG factors, leading to increased investment and ultimately taking the organization to the next level.
Managing remote employees can pose challenges for admins and HR personnel compared to in-office employees. One of the main issues is the lack of a visible company culture to maintain, which could be detrimental to the existing culture. Additionally, establishing mutual understanding and bonding between coworkers can be challenging due to remote workers’ low level of interaction. This could make teamwork difficult, ultimately impacting the productivity of the company.
There is also a risk of data breach when remote or digital nomad employees access company data from a public network. Public networks are known to be easy to hack, so the risk of a security breach is significantly higher if a digital nomad employee has to access sensitive data from a public network.
Everything changes with time, including the job market and workplace cultures. The change happens with the new generation of the workforce. People born around the 2000s, commonly known as the “Gen Z,” are entering the workforce and changing the culture around them. The “Gen Z” is notorious for accepting and rejecting trends, yet the trend of remote working and digital nomadism survived. Not only the newest generation but others are also adopting these changes. As more and more businesses adopt remote work, there will be an increased demand for employees with the skills and experience of working remotely.
Additionally, new jobs are being created solely based on remote working cultures. Among these new job titles, “Remote Team Lead” and “Virtual Assistant” are the most common in recent years. Remote working also influenced a change in the nature of work. Employees are now more inclined to work flexible hours and prefer a more decentralized work environment. This could be challenging for businesses. But to look at the bright side, it can also be seen as an opportunity to create a more flexible work environment.
The trend of remote working and digital nomadism is likely to continue in the future. The increased availability of technology, the changing attitudes towards work-life balance and the global economic landscapes are shaping the future of jobs. Keeping these in mind will help employers attract and retain top talents from all over the world.