Remote work has seen a huge uptick in recent years. Both millennials and Gen Zers are leading the charge for job flexibility. In addition, a combination of cutting-edge tech and the quarantines of the coronavirus pandemic normalized the work from home (WFH) concept.
As both offices and travel begin to reopen again, it has introduced a new wrinkle to the remote work question. What about digital nomads? Should companies invest in employees and contractors whose lifestyles aren’t just offsite but are location-independent?
Here are a few of the biggest reasons why digital nomads should be a serious consideration for any modern organization.
1. Digital Nomads Are Tech Mavens
Technology is coming to define the modern workspace. It doesn’t matter if you’re crafting marketing content, overseeing invoicing, or communicating with clients. Tech is going to impact your activities in one way or another.
When it comes to working with digital nomads, you’ll have to lean on technology in many different ways. You’ll need to utilize cloud-based workflow platforms, global payroll solutions, and online communication channels.
Five years ago, this would have felt like a burden that a company would have had to accommodate. After the pandemic, though, many of these internet-based systems are already in place. All that remains is to find employees that are savvy enough to use them. Enter the digital nomad.
Wandering workers have no choice but to remain technologically up to date in order to operate in their profession. In addition, the natural allure that the lifestyle has on younger generations of digital natives means there’s a good chance that the average digital nomad will be a youthful individual. In most cases, this means they’ll be comfortable working with whatever tech you may choose to use in your operation.
2. Digital Nomads Bring a Unique Perspective
Working with tech is a great logistical advantage. But digital nomads also bring a more subtle element to the table. They have a unique aspect of life itself. This comes from time spent on the road interacting with different people and witnessing an endless procession of cultural differences.
This can be hard to come by in a traditional workspace. If you have a physical office, everyone working there will be coming from the surrounding local culture. Even if someone relocated to your area, they will acclimate to your way of life over time and not vice versa.
Hiring remote workers can expand your cultural and experiential footprint, but only to a limited degree. For instance, consider a firm in the heart of Washington D.C. that hires a remote employee in the countryside of Montana. The urban, political nature of the parent company may be able to benefit from a more rural cultural influence of their new employee. But both viewpoints will be relatively fixed.
In the case of a digital nomad, you aren’t just tapping into a new cultural perspective. You’re bringing someone on board who is well-versed in a variety of cultures and lifestyles. They know how different the human experience can be, and they’re comfortable with that fact. This can be a huge boon to your company’s culture and can bring an exciting and unique perspective to many different areas of your business operations.
3. Digital Nomads Are Innovators
Digital nomads aren’t just comfortable with different views and perspectives. They are also willing to think outside of the box. This is built into the very essence of their lifestyle.
Digital nomads aren’t displaced or wandering due to hardship. They’ve consciously chosen that lifestyle over others. In addition, successfully living as a digital nomad requires a willingness to break cultural norms and expectations. Anyone living a nomadic lifestyle must be able to embrace the unknown and relish in the unexpected.
Over time, this can lead to a hard-to-come-by boldness and a willingness to take chances. By having a digital nomad in your corner, you can tap into an opinion that isn’t afraid to take risks and find audacious solutions.
It doesn’t matter if you’re hiring a digital nomad to help with an exciting marketing campaign, oversee your mundane accounting department, or anything in between. By remotely bringing a world-traveler onboard, you can tap into a powerful stream of confident creativity. Over time, this can transform your business for the better.
4. Digital Nomads Save Overhead
Much like many other remote work situations, digital nomads can also reduce your expenses. Their absence from a physical office naturally reduces various costs, such as:
- The need for a larger rented space;
- Desks, chairs, and other office basics;
- Office-specific perks, from a simple coffee bar to a local group activity or retreat.
When you hire a digital nomad, you gain an employee who won’t be on-site much at all — if ever. This makes it much easier to keep your operational costs at a minimum. Without an at-home workspace, you may not even need to compensate a digital nomad for normal WFH expenses, such as an internet connection or a laptop.
For their part, a digital nomad knows that they’re sacrificing certain aspects of their professional career in exchange for their freedom and flexibility. This may include things like in-office perks, healthcare benefits, and at times even a steady paycheck.
Nevertheless, in most cases, especially when you’re working with part-time or freelance digital nomads, this isn’t seen as a negative so much as an exchange. A digital nomad is willing to do without certain perks if that means they can work in a cafe in Cambodia one afternoon and then put in an all-day intensive in a cowork space in Hong Kong a couple of days later. In other words, they’ve already adapted to a lifestyle that can function in spite of the lack of these normal work benefits.
From tech skills to innovation, lower expenses to unique perspectives, there are many reasons to incorporate digital nomads into your company. The best part is, due to their free-floating nature, no digital nomad is going to be devastated if they have to part ways with an enterprise down the road. This makes it even easier to try hiring a digital nomad without making a massive, long-term commitment.
So, assess your organization and consider where the benefits of a digital nomad will be the most welcome. Do you need to reduce costs in a certain department? Are you feeling stagnant and in need of an innovative viewpoint in another area? Once you find the best position, you can begin the hiring process in the name of a more diverse, lean, and forward-thinking future for your business.