Digital Transformation

Are we all set to become digital nomads?

Digital nomads
Felix LEMAIGNENT
Written by Felix LEMAIGNENT

Digital Nomad you said?

“Digital”. Over the past few years, it might have been one of the most used word within the professional world. One talks about digital marketing, digital transformation, digital natives… The digital era has created many new terms and “Digital Nomad” is, of course, one of them. If you are not already familiar with this concept, this is how Tanya Mohn defines it: “Digital Nomads are the people who use telecommunications technologies to earn a living and, more generally, conduct their life in a nomadic manner”.

The future of work

I have been working for a recruitment agency specialized in contract jobs for about 2 years and I am up to date with all the communication and the (surprisingly) recent fashion around Freelancing. I tweet about #futureofwork or #workrevolution and I read almost every article related to what appear to be a great change in our society. Indeed, everyone seems to agree on the fact that the traditional structure of the company is going through a significant evolution and that the employee of tomorrow will be either self employed or mobile.

When I say mobile, I mean that due to technological improvements, many tasks can be done anywhere as long as you have a laptop and a Internet access. As a result, more and more companies allow their employees to work remotely, which usually stands for work from home; and the “Bring Your Own Device” policy (allowing the use of personal devices at work) is becoming common, especially in startups.

Besides, Freelancers are ever more numerous (1.4 million in the UK which represents a 14% increase in the last decade). The rise of work in project mode modifies enterprises’ needs in human resources and we can observe a raise of the external consultant positions. Many Freelancers can be seen as Digital Nomads – even if they work on site – when they alternate countries to deliver their missions.

Finally, co-working spaces are proliferating. Who needs an office when you can work in a nice and stimulating environment, while networking simultaneously, and at a low price? Yes, work is changing. It is becoming more flexible, more mobile and allows new ways of life. But are we really facing The Rise of the Digital Nomad as Hannah Lamarque says in a Huffingtonpost article ?

Will everyone become a Digital Nomad?

It seems that the digital nomad way of life is spreading. The phenomenon is linked to the path our society is taking. Today’s world is global and connected: many companies are international; travelling is way much cheaper than it was for our parents and more and more countries get access to the internet. Thus, working by travelling has simply become possible.

In addition to that, millennials are considered as ‘slashers’, changing jobs and company every 2 years or so. This statement explains why this lifestyle is becoming such a dream for many employees.So it is not taking a big risk to say that where are going to see more and more people joining the movement.

However, I think that working as a digital nomad is not an easy thing. First, you need to be really flexible and a family life can make it quite complicated. I wonder how many people are actually willing to spend years travelling around. Moreover, in my point of view face to face contact with coworkers or employee will remain important. In my current position, I could not imagine working from home every day. Physically being in a team can motivate, offer a better agility and the office is a space to socialize with your colleagues. This is probably why a lot of companies continue to require workers within their premises.

Furthermore, some jobs are more suitable than others to the nomadic status. According to a survey done by the german co-working space Welance, marketers, programmers and designers are the most represented professions.

Finally, finding clients can sometimes feels like a struggle. To be a Freelancer, working remotely for a market at the other end of the world ask for a minimum of organization. You have to deal with time zones, ensure a steady internet connection and grow from a network or skills that allow you to sell your services remotely. But if you are ready to overcome all this, I am convinced that being a Digital Nomad is an experience that is worth trying.

About the author

Felix LEMAIGNENT

Felix LEMAIGNENT

CMO at Club Freelance