A new concept of remote working has evolved, known as being a digital nomad. This concept sees individuals working remotely from various destinations in the world, all whilst still being able to have a constant revenue stream and the ability to freely travel to new countries. This sounds like the perfect option in theory, but is this a positive working style for everyone?
At first glance who wouldn’t want to be able to do their work on holiday, take meetings overlooking the mountains or talk to clients knowing later that day they will be sunning themselves by the beach. We all have thought that having more informal working conditions would be a positive but perhaps this nomadic style means that we are blurring the lines between times of relaxation and our working lives?
Many countries are creating visas especially for this style of work, allowing people to travel to countries for extended time and work flexibly. Creating the opportunity for this type of work means more individuals traveling and therefore a boost to the tourism industry.
On paper this nomadic work style appears to offer freedom, flexibility, and the opportunity to explore different cultures. Many people can see the appeal of having a constant income to fund travel and the opportunity to not be constrained by an office environment.
Despite the obvious positives of this work style, the reality is possibly much more challenging. An increase in flexible work hours for some individuals means they will work increased hours. More freedom may mean people are working seven days a week even if his is because they are working shorter days, this could be a leading cause of experiencing burnout.
Additionally, the reality of living out of a suitcase, despite appearing exciting, can often be a logistical nightmare. There is the constant struggle of having a charged laptop, searching for Wi-Fi and managing unconventional working times to juggle international calls. In reality perhaps there is a lot more sitting in airport lounges and internet cafes than sitting by the pool or exploring museums?
This approach may also leave individuals feeling isolated. Often, we underestimate the connections created in the workplace and the collaborative social benefits this offers. As we move away from structured work environments are we increasing the isolation of many of our colleagues? How can we ensure individuals feel supported and boost collaboration if we are all working remotely?
The industry appears to constantly be evolving to create opportunity for people to work on their own terms and create balance within their work and personal lives.
In reality, this style of work certainly would suit a very specific type of individual. Perhaps, if you are looking to travel, have the ability to self-manage and are looking for an unconventional work style, becoming a digital nomad is a great opportunity to work whilst travelling. However, perhaps it’s also important to recognise that this style of work, whilst glamourous in theory and on our Instagram feeds, is potentially a lot more difficult in reality.
Written by Lexie Cook, EP Business in Hospitality