1. A digital nomad works from different locations worldwide, and leverages technology to perform their tasks.
2. The advantages of hiring digital nomads include access to a diverse talent pool, and cost savings for businesses.
3. An Employer of Record (EOR) like Horizons can assist in the hiring and management of digital nomads, ensuring legal compliance and payroll processes across different countries.
4. Challenges with working with digital nomads include lack of long-term reliability and concers around quality of work.
In this article, we address and debunk these myths, highlighting the reality of working with digital nomads.
Who is a digital nomad?
A digital nomad is an individual who leverages technology to work remotely, often from various locations worldwide. Instead of being tied to a fixed office or city, digital nomads use the internet, digital tools, and online platforms to complete tasks and communicate with colleagues or clients. This lifestyle choice offers flexibility, allowing one to combine work with travel. Many digital nomads are freelancers, entrepreneurs, or employees in roles that don’t require a fixed location. Co-working spaces, coffee shops, and even holiday destinations become their temporary offices. While the lifestyle can be liberating, it also demands adaptability, discipline, and effective time management.
10 common myths about digital nomads
Myth #1: Digital nomads are always on vacation
Lifestyle myth: Many envision people lounging on tropical beaches with their laptops, sipping cocktails, and enjoying endless vacations. They are often perceived as leading a carefree life, hopping from one tourist destination to another without serious commitments.
The reality: While digital nomads do have the flexibility to work from various locations, they often maintain regular work schedules and face deadlines just like anyone else. Travelling and working simultaneously can be challenging, requiring discipline and effective time management. Moreover, they often have to tackle challenges related to connectivity, time zones, and finding suitable workspaces.
Myth #2: Being a digital nomad is easy
Lifestyle myth: Working from anywhere in the world, especially in exotic locations, seems like a dream come true for many. People often believe that digital nomads have an easy life, free from the stresses of traditional office jobs.
The reality: Being a digital nomad comes with its own set of challenges. From unstable internet connections to cultural and language barriers, digital nomads must be adaptable and resourceful. They may also face uncertainties related to visas, healthcare, and accommodation in foreign countries. Still, with newer regulations relating to remote working visas being introduced every day, the landscape is ever-evolving.
Myth #3: All digital nomads are wealthy
Lifestyle myth: There’s a misconception that digital nomads earn a lot of money, affording them the luxury to travel and work from anywhere. People often assume that they have high-paying remote jobs or successful online businesses.
The reality: Income levels among digital nomads vary widely. While some may have lucrative remote jobs or businesses, others might be working on tight budgets, seeking affordable countries to live in, or picking up freelance gigs. Financial stability is a concern for many, just like any other profession.
Myth #4: Digital nomads lack career growth
Lifestyle myth: A common belief is that being a digital nomad means sacrificing career growth or hopping between short-term jobs without long-term prospects or stability.
The reality: Many digital nomads have thriving careers and continue to climb the professional ladder. Remote work is becoming increasingly accepted, and numerous companies offer opportunities for growth and advancement to remote employees. Many digital nomads also run their own successful businesses.
Myth #5: Digital nomadism is only for the young
Lifestyle myth: The typical image of a digital nomad is often a young individual in their 20s or 30s. Many believe that this lifestyle is not suitable for older adults or those with families.
The reality: People of all ages, including families with children, pursue the digital nomad lifestyle. It’s about adaptability and the desire for freedom and flexibility, not age. Moreover, older digital nomads often bring experience and skills to their remote roles.
Myth #6: Digital nomads only do tech jobs
Lifestyle myth: “Digital” in “digital nomad” leads many to believe that all nomads are in tech-related fields such as software development or digital marketing.
The reality: While many digital nomads work in tech, the spectrum of remote-friendly jobs is vast. Digital nomads can be writers, educators, consultants, artists, and more. The key is the ability to work remotely, not the nature of the job itself.
Myth #7: It’s a lonely lifestyle
What do people think: Constantly moving from one place to another might seem isolating, with digital nomads always being away from family and long-term friends.
The reality: While there can be moments of loneliness, many digital nomads build a global network of friends and colleagues. Co-working spaces, digital nomad communities, and meetups provide ample opportunities for socializing and networking.
Myth #8: Digital nomadism is a long-term commitment
Lifestyle myth: Once you choose the nomadic lifestyle, you’re bound to it indefinitely.
The reality: Many digital nomads choose this lifestyle for a specific period or phase in their lives. Some might do it for a few months, others for several years. It’s flexible, and individuals can always transition back to a more stationary life if they wish.
Myth #9: Every day is an adventure
Lifestyle myth: With the freedom to travel and explore, people often assume that digital nomads are always on the move, exploring new places daily.
What’s true: While there are certainly adventures, many digital nomads maintain routines, just like anyone else. They might stay in one location for weeks or months, focusing on work and establishing a daily rhythm.
Myth #10: You must be highly skilled to be a digital nomad
Lifestyle myth: There’s a notion that only the highly skilled or those in specialized fields can pursue the digital nomad lifestyle.
The reality: While having a marketable skill can be beneficial, there are various remote jobs available for people with different skill sets and levels. Continuous learning and adaptability are more crucial than having a specific high-end skill.
What are the pros of hiring a digital nomad?
Hiring digital nomads can have its pros and cons. Let’s start with the advantages. Here’s how your company can benefit from prioritising hiring digital nomads or global remote workers –
01. Cost Savings: Digital nomads don’t require designated office spaces, leading to significant savings. The company can reduce its second-largest expense, which is office space, by minimizing in-house employees, translating to reduced fixed costs over time.
02. Talent Diversity: Tapping into the digital nomad community widens the talent pool, providing access to specialized skills that might be scarce in a company’s local region, ensuring a competitive edge in recruitment.
03. Increased Productivity: Digital nomads, with their flexible lifestyles, often showcase heightened creativity and better work-life balance. Studies indicate they are 35-40% more productive than office-based peers, with more focused work hours.
04. Global Perspectives: Digital nomads bring varied cultural experiences and viewpoints, enriching organizational culture. Their diverse backgrounds offer fresh, global perspectives, fostering innovative ideas and solutions.
05. Flexible Scheduling: With digital nomads operating across time zones, businesses benefit from round-the-clock coverage. This flexibility is especially advantageous for customer support or addressing time-sensitive issues, ensuring uninterrupted service and revenue streams.
Hiring a digital nomad differs from recruiting someone on a workcation or working temporarily from a holiday destination. Read more about the insurance implications for digital nomads in our guide to health insurance for remote workers.
If you’re considering hiring digital nomads, make sure to weigh in on the potential challenges.
Hire digital nomads with Horizons
Hiring digital nomads or global remote workers using an Employer of Record (EOR) provider like Horizons simplifies the process by ensuring legal and regulatory compliance in various jurisdictions.
Here’s a step-by-step guide tailored to Horizons:
01. Consultation: Initiate a dialogue with Horizons, discussing your hiring needs and the locations of the digital nomads.
02. Role Definition: Specify the roles and responsibilities you’re recruiting for to make the most of Horizons’ range of products and services.
03. Employer Agreement: Sign an agreement allowing Horizons to act as your Employer of Record (EOR), overseeing legal and administrative responsibilities.
04. Candidate Selection: Let Horizons identify and engage potential candidates using its extensive network to find the right fit for your workforce.
05. Contract and Payroll: Horizons will draft compliant employment contracts, manage payroll, and ensure adherence to local tax regulations.
06. Continuous Support: Benefit from Horizons’ continuous assistance, covering all HR-related tasks, from onboarding to contract renewals or terminations.
Frequently Asked Questions
A digital nomad is an individual who works remotely, often from various locations around the world, leveraging technology to perform their job while maintaining a nomadic lifestyle.
EORs (Employers of Record) like Horizons simplify the hiring process by handling all the administrative, legal, and HR-related tasks. They ensure regulatory compliance across different jurisdictions, manage payroll and benefits, and provide ongoing support.
Hiring digital nomads offers businesses cost-effectiveness, access to a wider talent pool, increased productivity, a fresh global perspective, and flexibility in schedules across different time zones.
Some challenges include potential divided attention from the nomad, issues with internet connectivity, time zone differences, digital security risks, and concerns about reliability in long-duration projects.
Not necessarily. While both work remotely, digital nomads tend to move from one location to another, embracing a nomadic lifestyle. Remote global employees, on the other hand, might have a fixed remote location, often their home, and don’t necessarily travel as frequently or extensively as digital nomads.