Digital nomads are a growing race of workers who embody the success and freedom that an internet lifestyle can offer. Wikipedia defines “digital nomads” as “people who are location independent and use technology to do their jobs, living a nomadic lifestyle”. Digital nomads work from anywhere without having to be in a physical office and use telecommunications to communicate with others in organizations.
Digital nomads are not for a short time like working from home during the pandemic, but as a way of practicing work. They are not governed by the usual HR policies of the organization in terms of leave, working time or remuneration. They are highly specialized people in their field of work and can choose to work wherever they are. They are in high demand due to their skills and choose their working hours and pay for themselves.
It is observed that the new generation of workers prefers this way of life where they are not bound by any rules and can travel and work wherever they are at that time. They aren’t too concerned about the security of a monthly paycheck because they are confident in their ability to find work when needed.
Over the next decade, it is expected that there will be around one billion digital nomads across the world, making one in three workers a digital nomad!
But why should organizations hire digital nomads? There are several advantages:
- Organizations always complained about the lack of talented people in their region. From now on, they are no longer limited to their geographical location. Digital nomads can work from anywhere and there is no visa requirement. In fact, company laws were made before the internet age and there is no clause regarding hiring people in remote locations while they stay there. This greatly expands their search radius.
- Today’s generation does not want to limit themselves to fixed jobs, which place more importance on work-life balance are not too enamored of the 9-5 routine. Organizations may need to provide more choices for people to work remotely to keep up with the changing needs of the new generation of workers. This would allow them to attract and retain quality talent without restricting their freedom.
- Since digital nomads are on the move a lot, they improve in their interactions with people and can help deliver strategic information to the business (Jade Simmons, 2018). They can provide international information on local markets. Research has shown that they tend to be more engaged because they have autonomy and are in control of their work.
- Digital nomads also make economic sense for organizations because they are profitable. Fixed costs are reduced because they do not require office space, overhead and other expenses are eliminated. It is not necessary to have restrictive policies regarding time off, attendance, etc.
- It is not necessary to have additional motivational practices as these employees are self-motivated. For them, working from where they want when they want to is motivating enough.
Finally, another plus is that they are far removed from the usual office politics, as they mostly work alone and are happier!
But hiring these digital nomads is not without its challenges.
Digital nomads are typically faceless as they rarely interact with other members of the organization. They usually work with one or two key employees. First, since these nomads do not fall under the usual control mechanisms of the office, trust must be established. Leaders need to trust these nomads to deliver even when they are outside the purview of organizations, and these nomads need to trust employers that they will not be fooled when they help organizations achieve their goals. Communication plays a very important role in the management of Digital Nomads. Clear expectations need to be set from the start in order to clarify what they need to do and when it needs to be done.
But overall, the benefits outweigh the obstacles, and it is up to organizations to decide how much to experience this new breed. It is advisable to get your toes wet before diving and gradually extend to other tasks that can be handled without face to face interaction.
In truth, the pandemic has given us very good insight into tasks that can be done very comfortably from anywhere other than the office, and some organizations have implemented a policy of working from anywhere for a long time. longer, even after normalizing things. The nomadic workers file is therefore already built!