No one can deny the digital nomad trend. More and more companies are choosing to hire remote workers, while more and more employees and entrepreneurs are taking the leap to become digital nomads. But are these terms just millennial buzzwords? Is the dream of becoming location-independent just a fad? Or is the rise in remote work here to stay? Here are our thoughts:
What is remote working?
Remote work is when someone works outside of an office, usually from home and communicates with the office via the Internet and/or phone calls. If you work from home, you’re a remote worker.
What is a digital nomad?
Digital nomad is a term used to describe someone who is location-independent and works remotely, usually using this opportunity to travel. If you can work from home, why not work from… Portugal?! Our social media manager is currently working remotely from Mexico! You can read an interview with her about the digital nomad lifestyle here.
Why are employers allowing people to work remotely? Isn’t that inconvenient?
Working remotely can benefit employers as much as employees. Think about how much a company can save on office space, utility bills, equipment and all other kinds of costs, if their staff work from home. If the work is being done online anyway, why shouldn’t someone be able to do it from where they feel most comfortable?
Of course, if the role is client-facing or requires in-person meetings, that’s a different story. But in the age of global conference calling, fast WiFi connections and screen sharing or video options, meetings are simple to work around too.
There’s also the added benefit of employers being able to access remote talent. The recruitment pool is no longer limited to the local area; you can employ someone who best meets your expectations in qualifications and experience, rather than someone who is simply able to commute to the office.
This is a great opportunity for parents of young children, those with physical disabilities, or primary carers who need to stay at home, but who have the time and the facilities available to work online.
As a travelling digital nomad, can you really do your job and be on holiday at the same time?
As with any business owner, a digital entrepreneur would see their own company struggle if they didn’t put the same work in that they do at the office, so it’s unlikely that they would act in a way that would be detrimental to their own income and business success.
But, how do you hold remote employees accountable? The obvious answer is that if the work isn’t getting done, then your remote worker might not being putting in the same effort they would do in the office, but it’s no more likely than someone who’s not getting much done in the office. However, if it’s a concern, there are tracking software options available that can hold employees accountable who are working remotely.
The digital nomad lifestyle can also offer flexibility and a better quality of life for many of those who choose it, which is a benefit that an employee won’t want to risk. For example, being able to live in a cheaper country that allows you to save more money, or being able to work around childcare. Would you risk those benefits by skiving off work? Probably not.
Plus, without the distractions of the office – sitting in on meetings for the sake of meetings, chatting with coworkers, bumping into someone in the kitchen and catching up over coffee – you are free to focus on your work. That could actually increase productivity (and a beautiful setting can contribute to higher motivation).
So is remote work here to stay, or is the digital nomad lifestyle unsustainable?
We believe that remote work is only going to keep increasing. The benefits for both employee and employer are significant. And when your staff are happier and have a stronger work/life balance, then you retain employees better and productivity is higher.
Of course, there are unique challenges brought on by remote work, such as potential miscommunication and the loss of an opportunity to build relationships with other staff members (but therefore, also an end to toxic office politics!). But, for many, the pros outweigh the cons.
In the digital age, most job roles today require hours and hours sat at a computer. Would you rather spend those hours staring at a screen in an office cubicle, or at home in your pyjamas with your cat, or in a café by the beach in Bali?
The decision is yours.
To learn more about remote work and how it all works, read an interview with our own digital nomad social media manager, Amy Poulton.