Ever since Internet technologies began to mature and become mainstream and more versatile, digital nomads have made them their domain. The term “digital nomad” is used to refer to people who work online and are location independent, meaning that they can move from one place to another when they feel like it or work demands it. The outbreak of COVID-19 has forced companies to shift to remote working options, which makes 2020 a revolutionary year in terms of the digital nomad lifestyle.
The digital nomad boom
Before the COVID-19 outbreak, businesses were extremely reluctant to allow employees to work from home or to hire remote workers. But now that they have experience with such an arrangement, many businesses are wondering why they didn’t implement it before. According to a survey by Intermedia, almost 57 percent of small business owners state that they will continue with remote working options for employees in the long term. Twitter and Facebook have also announced plans to shift a significant amount of work online, with the latter claiming that almost half the people working for the company would do so online within the next decade.
“We’ve always had collaboration tools in place, but now we’re really putting them to use and developing good practices around them… When I talk to the mangers now, they’re like: ‘My God, I thought I knew my people, but now I feel like I really know them.’… I think now everyone has become more intentional about objectives and outcomes of meetings… I see more efficiency that’s happening because now we really have to pay attention to each other,” Marissa Andrada, Chief People Officer at Chipotle, said to Business Insider.
Business functions on the basis of profit. If any process ensures greater profits, efficiencies, and savings, businesses will inevitably incorporate it. Allowing people to work online can not only boost productivity but also reduces the costs of operations. Imagine a business spending thousands on renting offices, paying for electricity, Internet, equipment, meals, traveling expenses, a cafeteria, salaries for cleaners, and so on. All these costs can be completely or greatly eliminated if a company decides that they only need online staff. Such a company will also have a cost advantage over its competition, which can translate into reduced prices to customers and eventually more sales.
This is why 2020 will be an important milestone in the digital nomad lifestyle boom. Moving forward, it will be easier to live such a life since companies will be more than willing to accommodate these kinds of options.
Tips to become a digital nomad
To follow the lifestyle of a successful digital nomad, you need to have a steady stream of income. For freelancers with a good reputation and a repertoire, this is an easy thing to accomplish as they will have access to short-term projects on a continuous basis. For starters, relying on project-based work is a risky move. What if you are unable to get projects continuously?
You might live an anxious life, worrying about where you will bag the next client from. As such, digital nomads who are just starting out will be better off if they have a long-term employment contract. Once you build up a good reputation online, then you can consider going it on your own and look for clients by yourself.
Traveling costs and rentals will account for a majority of your expenses. Prepare a plan of action, set goals, targets, and a tight budget. Make sure that you will be making the necessary income to meet these costs. If you plan on moving to countries or regions with a lower cost of living and a more favorable income tax regime, things will go smoothly for you. But if you are looking toward staying in a country with a higher cost of living, you may need to earn more than what you do right now.
For serious digital nomads, the world is now your home and your oyster.