Digital nomadism: The new normal?

Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, digital nomadism was an exclusive career path into which few risked venturing into. With the pandemic changing the course of traditional white-collar career structures (perhaps forever), remote working is the new normal.

However, some people are taking it even further.

Digital nomads are defined as “people who choose to embrace a location-independent, technology-enabled lifestyle that allows them to travel and work remotely, anywhere in the world.” 

The concept of digital nomadism is not entirely new. It was a ‘thing’ even a few years ago, but the pandemic has accelerated the trend dramatically. There was an increase of 49% American ‘digital nomad’ workers in 2020 to 10.9 million. The pandemic has revealed that there is no correlation between working in the office and productivity. The stigma around remote work is quickly vanishing.

The until-recently unexpected surge towards e-commerce has many consequences for the business world, and not just in terms of the employer-employee relationship. Take Airbnb. Its business model can be re-evaluated to accommodate digital nomads. Tech firms, meanwhile, can develop more affordable, reliable and high speed pocket WiFi to facilitate remote working.

Caribbean and European Union (EU) countries are jumping on the digital nomad bandwagon. Several offer special visas for this new phenomenon. This trend has inspired some countries to entice digital nomads to counteract for lost tourism revenue. Estonia’s ‘digital nomad visa’ is valid up to a year, while Portugal has established a ‘digital nomad village’ on the island of Madeira. In Asia, cities such as Ho Chi Minh City, Bali and Bangkok, once the playgrounds of global backpackers, are ripe for digital nomads. Visas are now being offered with this in mind.

If the digital nomad lifestyle looks idyllic – sitting under swaying palms on a dreamy Southeast Asian beach while working – there are still cons to consider. The biggest challenge many remote workers face is not being able to disconnect from work. There are also different time zones to think about.

Digital nomad salaries vary too. In the survey, 81% reported annual earnings of US$50,000 and more. Roughly, a third reported yearly income of US$100,000. For some, though, the freedom that digital nomadism offers in today’s new world has no price.

It is a great time to be a digital nomad! Cabin fever affects so many in a world of lockdowns and restrictions. While it might take time for us all to rediscover the pleasures of wanderlust, digital nomad visas may just be the solution for those that really want to live the dream.

Talk to Healy Consultants Group about how we can help secure your digital nomad visa today.

Healy Consultants Group provides a wide range of corporate services across the world. Email or WhatsApp us now to find out more about our services.

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