Article: No office? No problem! The life of digital nomads

Employee Engagement

No office? No problem! The life of digital nomads

But should HR be wary of digital nomads?
No office? No problem! The life of digital nomads

Digital nomads are professionals who operate remotely from any location they desire. The notion that once seemed a dream to many – "If I could, I would work from a deserted beach" – now rings true for thousands.

The rise of completely digital roles, facilitated by new technologies, has enabled many to work in a previously unimaginable way: never setting foot in an office, sometimes without ever seeing it.

The pandemic hastened the adoption of a practice that had already begun to emerge before COVID-19 struck, albeit on a smaller scale.

This trend is so prevalent that forty countries have introduced a specific visa for "digital nomads" or international telematic workers. It is issued to professionals who wish to work from anywhere within that country, remotely for any destination.

A close look at the life and working style of digital nomads

But what exactly is a digital nomad lifestyle? What sort of work is conducted in this mode?

The definition of digital nomadism connotes complete freedom of location and schedule. Whether in the Himalayas (connectivity permitting), Cuzco, or their living room, they must devote the necessary hours to complete their projects.

This mobility has been leveraged by many, who blend their project work with tales of their travels across various platforms. However, not all are bloggers.

Numerous businesses have developed models to support this type of work. The key lies in setting clear objectives and timelines, which digital nomads can adhere to without sacrificing the freedom that defines their lifestyle.

Performance-based work has proven effective in motivating employees in general, and digital nomads in particular, as it allows them to balance the quality of deliverables with their personal lives.

Being a digital nomad is not only a style of work but predominantly an attitude. Although increasingly common, it involves relinquishing the security of working in a single location, for one company, with a regular monthly salary. Above all, it requires clear priorities and robust discipline and organisation.

For some, working while travelling, or travelling while working, may resemble a holiday, but it demands serious commitment to maintain this dream job.

Should HR be worried about digital nomads?

HR professionals should keep a keen eye on several quirky yet crucial factors when considering digital nomads for their teams. Let’s explore these considerations, served with a sprinkle of caution:

1) Legal and tax compliance

Ah, the thrilling world of international law! Different countries have their respective mélange of rules regarding work permits, taxation, and employment law. HR must ensure they’re playing by the rules in the digital nomad’s locale, which might change more often than a chameleon on a disco floor.

2. Data security

Remote work can be as risky as sending a postcard through a hurricane, especially if digital nomads are tapping into public Wi-Fi. Companies need iron-clad cybersecurity measures—think VPNs, encrypted chats, and Fort Knox-style data management protocols.

3) Communication and collaboration

Achieving flawless communication across different time zones and shaky internet connections is like conducting an orchestra where every musician tunes in from a different continent. Tools like Slack, Zoom, and Asana are the conductors' batons, but HR must also cultivate a symphony of asynchronous work.

4) Performance Management

Traditional performance metrics just don’t cut the mustard for digital nomads. HR needs to whip up clear, outcome-based performance dishes that everyone can digest, ensuring that both managers and wandering workers know what’s on the menu.

5) Cultural fit and engagement

Keeping company culture alive across the miles is like throwing a party where half the guests are holograms. Regular virtual check-ins, team-building exercises that don’t induce yawns, and inclusive events can help everyone feel like they’re at the same bash.

6) Support and resources

Digital nomads might wrestle with challenges like isolation or the puzzle of local logistics. Offering a lifeline through dedicated HR channels, mental health goodies, and handy local guides can turn the ordeal into an adventure.

Tuning into these factors with a blend of humour and strategy, HR can effectively harness the prowess of digital nomads, ensuring the business scales new heights while everyone enjoys the ride.

Read full story

Topics: Employee Engagement, Culture, Life @ Work

Did you find this story helpful?



How do you envision AI transforming your work?