14 Sep What are Digital Nomads?
Digital nomads are individuals who are not tied to one location, and travel from place-to-place using technology to connect them to the world. In an HR context, they use telecommunications technologies as their means to work from wherever they are currently situated.
The digital nomad lifestyle is attractive to millennial and Gen Z workers as more and more young people move away from traditional social norms either through necessity (low financial security, lack of housing etc) or simply a desire to travel and see the world. COVID has put many of these plans on hold and has adversely impacted the travel industry, but Google searches around terms like “jobs that allow you to travel” have seen dramatic increases throughout the lockdown period.
Why are digital nomads on the increase?
COVID has turned our concept of the world of work upside down – in particular, the notion of where and how we work. As we talked about in previous posts, workers became decentralised from their main office location due to global lockdowns, and this has given them an insight into a life outside of the constraints of commutes and physical proximity.
The claustrophobic nature of lockdown has also seen many regular travellers longing for experiences outside of their current country. However, job losses and damaged economies are giving workers an understanding of the importance of financial security. There is now increased risk and competition for young people who are entering the job market and this could prevent them from putting off a career to go travelling. Instead, many are turning to working gap years and looking for ways they can earn whilst travelling.
Employers are also seeing the value in giving workers the space and freedom to choose their work location. Digital nomadism can boost wellbeing by creating a better work-life balance, and can engender a relaxed culture of innovation and creativity learnt from becoming more worldly-wise.
Digital nomads can tap into a broader pool of jobs when job hunting, as the world is quite literally their oyster – provided that they have the technological means to engage with their employer and remain productive while out of the office.