The rise of a nomadic workforce

Ahh, the joys of working from home. An extra hour in bed, not having to change out of pyjamas and the comfort of working from under a duvet on a cold day. But have you considered never having to enter the office again? As the world becomes increasingly interconnected and select job roles only require internet connection to perform at full capacity, the growing phenomenon of the ‘digital nomad’ or ‘location independent’ worker could really take off.

As a MBO Partners State of Independence Research Brief states, arriving at a single definition for what constitutes a nomadic worker is problematic. It is nuanced. Some choose to travel consistently while working over the course of a few years; others indulge in shorter periods of travel lasting anywhere between a few weeks to several months; while many choose to stay in the confines of one new country and explore it in thoroughly.

They aren’t bound by border restrictions, they are usually self-employed, and find themselves somewhere in between living like a local and a tourist. They generally enter a country on tourist visa, either renewing or going elsewhere when it expires. Although most countries are playing catch up in this field, Estonia have launched an initiative in response to this flourishing trend. The Estonian Ministry of the Interior announced that they would be developing a visa that is fit for the digital nomad, noting that obtaining the relevant papers can prevent workers from entering and exploring certain countries. Those who obtain the visa will be able to stay in Estonia for up to a year and visit Schengen member countries for a total of 90 days.

As a creative marketing agency, the bulk of our team roles could in theory be conducted just as competently outside the four walls of the office. Gone are the days where freelancers hold the monopoly on this kind of idyllic work structure. As jobs become more portable, turning in to the office for the usual 9-5 may become a thing of the past.

Nowadays, people are placing a higher value on achieving a true work/life balance and this doesn’t mean settling for arriving home on time. Experience, particularly among the millennial generation, is becoming a highly sought-after commodity; people will accept working and earning less while living in a country with lower living costs if it mobilises them to travel. Of course, working remotely isn’t without its challenges – namely poor WiFi connection and operating in different time zones – but many would argue the chance to experience the world and an alternative culture make those problems more than manageable.

The Economist estimates that there are currently millions of people working in this manner worldwide and this figure could rise to a billion by 2035. The proliferation of co-working spaces, advancements in technology and the normalisation of this lifestyle means that this estimation could be more accurate than you may think.

Is a remote-based lifestyle something you would be eager to sample? If you’re a business owner, would you be deterred from hiring one of these types of workers? Get in touch and give us your thoughts @otbtweeter

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