Digital Nomad

Digital Nomad - Fad Or New Norm

Imagine a work culture without offices allowing you to work while traveling to different cities of the world. Before 2019, this would have been a dream, however, it is possible in the current scenario, post-pandemic.

A few years ago, popular media portrayed digital nomads as freelance photographers, fashion models or makeup artists with thousands of Instagram followers, posting pictures as adventure junkies and flawless figures, the reality is much more approachable.

Trendsetter

According to DigitalNomadHelp.com, the “Digital nomad” is not the only term (or always the most popular nor preferred), but it is the currently popular term for someone who works remotely while traveling or living away from home.

It quickly and accurately describes both our digital and nomadic lifestyle: our work relies on technology, internet access and we travel from place to place without a permanent home.

Emergent Research and Rockbridge Associates (on behalf of MBO Partners) surveyed 3,457 U.S. citizens in August 2020 about digital nomading. Amongst other things, the survey observed the following:

  1. Since 2019, the number of digital nomads has grown by 49% – give credit to the pandemic or the ever changing work scape.
  2. Considerable growth of remote workers as a percentage of digital nomads – as contrasting as it may seem, significantly more traditional job holders took digital nomad work profiles as compared to the independent workers.
  3. Gen Z and Millennials form the majority of the Nomads – as per the report, “The share of Baby Boomers fell from 27 percent of digital nomads in 2019 to just 17 percent in 2020, and Gen X’s share fell from 25 percent to 22 percent. This was likely due to older workers being more concerned about COVID-19 and their greater risk of serious illness, making them temporarily less interested in a nomadic lifestyle and more comfortable staying at home.”
  4. Rise in VanLife – due to Covid restrictions worldwide, it made sense to try the caravan life and hit the road. The survey found that 17 percent of American digital nomads – 1.9 million people – are VanLifers.
  5. The number of people interested in the Nomad lifestyle has increased exponentially – 19 million people wanted to opt for the digital nomad lifestyle in 2019 and that has increased to 64 million people in 2020.

The implication of wealth transfer

According to 2019 research by Cerulli Associates, roughly 45 million U.S. households will collectively bequeath $68.4 trillion to their heirs over the next quarter-century. This transfer will constitute the largest redistribution of wealth in human history. Generation X stands to inherit 57 percent of that $68.4 trillion; millennials will collect the bulk of the rest. This means, millennials will become a lot richer (or at least, some millennials are). In the coming years, that reality is likely to heighten the generation’s class contradictions – and just might redraw the dividing lines in American politics.

Flexible working

Volatile work culture enables working from anywhere with ease, it is now easier to switch jobs than ever before. Earlier considered non-stable, it is now part of the new normal.

Mindset changes with each generation. Wealth is defined by the circumstances that the generation lived in. According to Luciana Paulise, in her article for Forbes, “Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, tend to stay in a job for an average of 8 years and 3 months.”

While talking about Baby Boomers, Luciana stated, “Various events impacted this generation while they were growing: The World Wars ending, leading to a sense of optimism and prosperity, landing on the moon and The Civil Rights Movement, and the idea of living the American Dream.”

Luciana added to describe Millennials, “They want to be heard, and they are known as the "We Culture." They like freedom, so Millennials are rethinking their work-life balance, especially after the Pandemic, and want to take advantage of the remote work policies,”.

Adverse implication

Apart from boosting tourism through flexible remote working, digital nomads are also part of negative growth as they act towards:

  • Local economic imbalance caused by outspend
  • Non-contribution in the community as a result of their staycation
  • Own mental health as a result of silo working and prolonged societal disconnect

Legal industry nomads

The legal profession has a history that includes great lawyers moving from their hometowns to bustling metropolises – to learn and earn. Moving to metro cities led the cost of consulting and advisory go up, the work that requires less face-to-face interaction.

The digital nomads in the industry will have a diverse benefit to the economy. When employees’ cost of living goes down, employers can reap the benefit and pass the cost to the client, while nomads help in distributing the wealth across cities.

Talent movement or brain drain

Wealth creation is not the real intent of the new generation and with wealth transfer from baby boomers to millennials/gen z, job-hopping and subsequent brain drain are inevitable. The question arises if its talent movement or brain drain from metro cities to smaller cities.

Microsoft, in its recent study, stated that “Talent is everywhere in a hybrid work world. Further, remote job postings on LinkedIn increased more than five times during the pandemic, and people are taking notice. 46 percent of remote workers we surveyed are planning to move to a new location this year because they can now work remotely. People no longer have to leave their desk, house or community to expand their career, and it will have profound impacts on the talent landscape.”

According to Christoph Hardt in a Wired article, co-founder of Berlin-based COMATCH, a global marketplace for independent consultants. “We’re working with clients who are struggling to staff their projects – demand has doubled compared to January.”

Hardt believes the current demand for workers is entering its peak and will subside over the next year or so. There will be a reciprocal effect turning it to the Great Hire. “Smaller cities, which previously had the brain drain, could hire the talent on a remote basis,” Hardt says.

Corporate considerations 

Recently trending #37 on YouTube, a video by World is One News (WION) stated, employees are not lured by external factors especially since pandemic and companies need to deep dive into the employee’s mind to gain insight.

The entire world of corporate leader and policy maker’s is brainstorming:

  • Can company’s hiring policies enable retention of employees that are leaving for the good (start-up)?
  • Is it possible to retain employees by the use of futuristic technology such as ML and AI?
  • Can predictive analysis examine the trend followed by start-up CEO’s while they were employed?

What are you waiting for?

There are plenty of resources for you to plot your digital nomad path ahead. One such resource provided by Visadb.io, award winning company founded by Danish Soomro, Leader of Digital Nomads Around The World. Danish & team has created a database list of 800+ long-term visas in 150+ countries - what are you waiting for?

Disclaimer: While every attempt has been made to ensure that the information in this article has been obtained from reliable sources, neither Novum Learning or LPI nor the author is responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information, as the content published here is for information purposes only. The article does not constitute a comprehensive or complete statement of the matters discussed or the law relating thereto, and does not constitute professional and/or financial advice.