1. A digital nomad is someone who can work from anywhere; they are not dependent on being in a particular location. Digital nomads can be freelancers, independent contractors, or employees.
2. A digital nomad is not the same as a remote worker. There are several variations of remote working, but essentially a remote worker is someone who is typically restricted to a particular location such as their home and is often not able to travel to different locations as they must have a secure and reliable internet connection. On the other hand, a digital nomad can be anywhere providing they have the facilities they need to work remotely.
3. It is understandable why many people are thinking about how to become a digital nomad due to the number of benefits it brings such as flexibility and an ability to have adventures and explore new places whilst working.
4. Becoming a digital nomad also has disadvantages such as relying on countries to provide access to wifi and adequate workspaces so that work can be completed.
5. There may also be legal issues with living and working in a place according to the local laws. Many countries are offering remote working visas for this exact reason to make it more accessible for people to travel for a longer period of time.
It certainly sounds like a dream lifestyle to be able to work from anywhere in the world without being restricted to a specific location. But for many, this is reality.
According to statistics published by Harvard Business Review, the number of digital nomads in the USA increased to 10.9 million in 2020 (a 49% spike from 2019). This figure continued to rise to 15.5 million in 2021. It is estimated that 44% of digital nomads are between the ages of 26 – 41, and 21% of them are around 32 years old.
With the rapid development of technology centered around remote work, a workforce experienced in working from home, and rising awareness of work-life balance which leads many to travel, the “digital nomad lifestyle” has gained extreme popularity among remote workers. It is no surprise that since the pandemic, many people who were already working from home would naturally want to take the next step and work from anywhere. [To learn more, read our employer’s guide to adopting a remote-first culture].
People seem to value their well-being, their lifestyle, and time doing what they love more now than ever before. The idea that people have to wait until they retire to enjoy traveling seems to be a thing of the past.
What is the definition of ‘digital nomad’?
Digital nomads, also known as remote or independent workers are people who are location-free, meaning they can work from anywhere in the world and are not tied to a single place.
Typically, digital nomads will work from anywhere that has an internet connection such as coffee shops, restaurants, co-working spaces, apartments, or internet cafes.
A digital nomad should not be confused with a remote employee. A remote worker/employee is usually someone who is tied to a specific location that has a secure and protected internet connection such as a home or co-working space. Contrastingly, a digital nomad can be based literally anywhere in the world as long as they can access what they need to work.
What are the pros of being a digital nomad?
When we think of digital nomads, we think of young millennials sipping cocktails on a beach with their laptops in hand. It is true that for many, there are benefits to becoming a digital nomad. Read on to see a list of benefits for a digital nomad lifestyle:
What are the cons of being a digital nomad?
When people consider how to become a digital nomad they may focus on the potential highlights, but in reality, being a digital nomad has its flaws and may not be for everyone.
For more on the pros and cons of being a digital nomad, check out this comprehensive investigation from German international news specialsts, Deutsche Welle.
Horizons supports businesses recruiting digital nomads
At Horizons we can help you access a global talent pool including digital nomads who stay in a country for an extended period of time.
If you would like assistance with recruiting digital nomad workers or hiring one full-time in their destination country, please do not hesitate to contact us today.
Frequently asked questions
How do I start living as a digital nomad?
If you want to know how to become a digital nomad, the first thing to do is consider whether your line of work gives you the capability to work from anywhere. If not, it is worth looking at how you can adapt your work and skills to become a freelance worker, set up a business, or find a role with a company that welcomes digital nomad workers. Once you have a steady flow of work in place and you are earning money, you can set off on your adventures finding places you can work from. Depending on where you go, you may need to apply for a remote working visa.
Becoming a digital nomad is worth it if you are the type of person who likes location freedom, flexibility, and unpredictability. This is a lifestyle that allows you to live wherever you want, work, and travel. This life is not for everyone, however, if you prefer a stable income and want to be based in one location due to family or community commitments, then becoming a digital nomad may not be right for you.