According to some studies, by 2025, 22% of the workforce—or 35.7 million Americans—will be employed remotely. A location-independent, technologically enabled lifestyle that enables people to travel and work remotely is becoming more popular due to the pandemic. They are known as digital nomads, and the trend is becoming more popular. More people have been leading a digital nomad lifestyle for years. Then, with the release of Covid-19, the popularity of this new way of working skyrocketed. The number of digital nomads in the United States increased by nearly 50% to 11 million in 2020. According to the 2021 State of Independence Study by MBO Partners, that number increased to 15.5 million.
Here are some reasons why digital nomadism is on the rise and shows no signs of abating.
Companies implement work-from-anywhere policies.
Employers are paying attention. According to a recent Qualtrics survey, 80% of employees looking for a new job said their next job needed to allow them to live anywhere. Many companies, including Lift, Airbnb, and 3M, are switching to permanent flexible work models now that employees want to continue working remotely. For example, Spotify promotes that “work isn’t somewhere you go. It’s something you do.” Their work-from-anywhere model allows employees to work from anywhere within certain geographic boundaries.
Foreign countries are enticing digital nomads.
The growing interest in this new location-independent lifestyle has fueled the demand for digital nomad visas. Searches for the term “nomad visa” have increased by 2,400% in the last five years, according to trend tracking website Exploding Topics. As a result, countries are introducing visa options to entice foreigners to stay for an extended period. Brazil, for example, has regulations governing the issuance of temporary visas and residence permits to immigrants working for foreign employers. As a result, they can stay for one year and then renew their visa for another. Recently, Indonesia announced that it is developing a new visa that will be valid for five years, longer than any other digital nomad visa currently available.
Families are adopting the digital nomad lifestyle.
Digital nomads were once considered twenty-something backpackers who hopped from hostel to hostel looking for a place to plug in their laptops. However, flexible work and homeschooling have ushered in a new breed of digital nomad who wants to travel the world while making lasting memories with their families. According to a recent Lonely Planet survey, this is known as the “anywhere worker.” High-tech jobs can be found almost anywhere, with 61% working full-time. 70% of those in this category are between the ages of 24 and 44, while 35% are between the ages of 45 and 54. Almost half are married, and, unlike the average digital nomad, 70% are parents who travel with their families.
There are more products and services available to help digital nomads. Many products and services have emerged to assist digital nomads in navigating their lifestyle challenges. Here are a few examples:
Coliving and coworking environments
Coworking spaces for digital nomads typically offer a workplace, temporary housing, and access to a local community of like-minded individuals. These facilities alleviate the stress of juggling work and travel. Connecting with others allows you to settle in, get your work done, and find inspiration.
If you’re prepared to leave everything behind and travel, you’re in luck. For a few weeks to a year, groups of working professionals participate in Nomad Cruise and Remote Year, respectively.
Online resources and job postings
With the growth of online talent marketplaces and remote job sites, it is now easier for digital nomads to find work. There are also valuable sites that provide a wealth of useful information. Nomad List, for example, provides information on the cost of living, internet speeds, taxes, visas, and various other topics for over 1,200 cities worldwide.
People value experiences more than possessions.
In recent years, there has been a shift away from emphasising possessions and towards experiences. This trend is being fueled, in particular by millennials. Younger generations prefer to invest in experiences such as concerts, rock climbing, and culinary classes rather than expensive watches or luxury cars.
To be productive, you don’t have to sit at your desk for eight hours a day, five days a week. Instead, you can travel the world, meet people from all walks of life, and work when and where you want.
Digital Nomads Bring the World to You
The digital nomad working style is the furthest thing from the traditional “going to work” scenario of decades past, in which every employee converged at a single location. You may feel as an employer that you are losing something, but consider what you are gaining. Employees out in the world can be considered an extension of your company, making contacts with others who may bring new opportunities. Furthermore, employees who gain new professional and personal experiences bring new ideas that could become your next big thing.