5 Ways to Start the “I Want to be a Digital Nomad” Conversation

Posted on Apr 16, 2019 | 0 comments

5 Ways to Start the “I Want to be a Digital Nomad” Conversation

Perhaps you have been rehearsing a conversation in your head with your employer, your partner, your friends—or possibly yourself.  Is it reasonable to choose a location as one of the most important aspects of employment? Is it possible to have a location-independent profession that provides meaningful work and good remuneration? Is it fair to put your own preferences and dreams ahead of the traditional career path? Here are 5 points for starting the conversation about becoming a digital nomad:

1  Strength in Numbers

This isn’t a fringe movement or a fleeting trend. Technology has enabled people to contribute meaningful work and choose the location to live that they find the most rewarding.  According to MBO Partners, more than 4.8 million American independent workers describe themselves as digital nomads.  Among traditional U.S. workers, 27% said they “might” become digital nomads in the next 2-3 years, and 11% said they planned to. Global Workplace Analytics says the remote workforce has increased by 140% since 2005. And it’s a natural extension to telecommuting, a trend that is very familiar to most. According to researchers, 70% of people around the world work away from the office at least one day a week and at least 53% work remotely for half of the week or more.  Becoming a full-time, location-independent digital worker is the next logical step in an ongoing transition from the traditional office-bound, 40-hour work week.  A study by Citrix predicts that 50% of the workforce will be office-free by 2020.


2. Argue the Economics: The Employer

There is good evidence that shows working from home is good for the employer. A two-year study by Stanford Professor Nicholas Bloom reported a 13% performance improvement from people working at home as well as 50% increase in employee retention rates.  Another study from Coso Cloud reported that 23% of remote workers are willing to work longer hours to ensure all work is completed on time over their office counterparts. And over half of remote workers are less likely to take time off for illness.  Offering remote work is predicted to be increasingly important in retaining and hiring talent; a Gallup research poll showed one-third of workers would switch jobs if they could have a remote schedule. Finally, consider this stat from a Global Workplace Analytics report: in 2016, a typical business could save $11,000 per telecommute/remote worker per year.


3. Argue the Economics: The Employee

Estimates may vary, but research shows that remote workers may save up to $7000 a year for the same work performed in an office setting. Savings may come from avoiding commute costs, which cost the average American $2,628 a year. Further savings may come from reductions in child care, clothing, and food costs.  Flexibility in schedules may allow for additional income opportunities. While salaries vary wildly based on type and quantity of work, a TechRepublic survey noted that one in five Digital nomads make over $100,000 a year and 22% make between $50,000 and $99,999. 38% of respondents said they feel less financially stressed as a digital nomad.


4. Emphasize the Possibilities

Digital nomads are a diverse group. This trend is not centered around tech-savvy millennials; in fact, there is not a majority generation, profession, or socio-economic class that comprises digital nomads. According to the report “Digital Nomadism: A Rising Trend,” one-third are female and 54 percent are over the age of 38. They are a mix of full-timers (54%) and part-timers (46%). A spike in “unretiring” Baby Boomers is predicted as the movement continues to grow. Creative professions dominate, but IT and marketing are also strong participants in the movement. And women are experiencing greater opportunities than in the traditional marketplace. According to a report by Remote.co, remote companies have more women leaders: almost one-third of remote companies have women CEOs, founders, or presidents, while S&P 500 and Fortune 500 companies only report 5.2% -6.4%


5. Appreciate Growing Support Services

In response to the increase in remote workers, there is a growing industry seeking to support and encourage. Technology enabled this shift in the first place and continues to provide easier ways to connect and manage work. Online talent marketplaces make it easier to find full- and part-time work from any location. Co-working and co-living spaces provide a place to work with professional infrastructure and can often be used on an as-needed basis or rented for a few hours a week.  These cooperative arrangements also reflect the growing desire to retain a flexible work schedule while engaging in a community of people with similar work issues. A variety of online social media groups cater to digital nomads and there are even touring/travel companies with services tailored specifically to this group.


Want to learn more about moving your job to a new country?

Passport Career provides detailed career information and extensive resources about networking, finding a job, an internship, or an alternative career opportunity. If your organization, embassy, university/college, library, or other institution would like access to our country portfolios (15,000+ pages of expert content for 80+ countries and 250+ cities) to share with your students, employees, spouses/partners, and others managing a national or international career transition, please contact us (or send email to: info@passportcareer.com) regarding a free, live, online demo and details on how to obtain a license to access Passport Career. Individuals interested in making a transition are welcome to contact us for a free demo of our services.


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