The Future of Work: Digital Nomads

digital nomads

Focused on deliverables and not office optics, remote work continues to grow

Any place that you can set up your laptop (and charger) is your temporary office. Coffee shops, a restaurant bar, the passenger seat of a car, or even a park bench. This globalization of communication has granted us the ability to work for anyone from anywhere, creating a much broader definition of work. It’s amazing how the internet has connected us, a part of daily life that we often take for granted. 

Back in August I wrote about how digital nomads benefit from digital education credentials on the blockchain. Here, I focus on what the future of work looks like as employment becomes task oriented and continued education can be obtained course by course.

 

The era of digital nomads

 

Digital nomads can be defined as people who work remotely from around the world via their computers. While this lifestyle applies to both full time employees and freelancers, it particularly suits freelancers with unpredictable schedules who take on contract work. The gig economy, which provides freelancers with a stream of work and employees with active side hustles, makes being a remote worker even easier by allowing people to accommodate their travel with contract opportunities.

 

I’ve made it my mission to support this relatively new style of work that leverages digital connection for autonomy, flexibility and unlimited potential. We’ve built an education marketplace for knowledge and skill sets that are needed by today’s growing industries. With each employment opportunity presented to a remote worker, there also comes the opportunity to define one’s expertise. On demand education allows digital nomads to upskill on their schedule, taking courses in line with job opportunities. By providing course-by-course continued learning, we’re fostering expert freelancers and contract workers. 

 

Personal preferences are defining what work looks like

 

The incredible shift in how people earn money and focus their energy is a dramatic change from the way that work once was; based in an office building for optics and ‘productivity’ and bookended by time spent commuting. It’s an empowering shift that in 2018 saw 4.8 million US citizens identify as digital nomads, according to a study by research firm MBO that was reported by The Guardian. The article quotes that “in the UK, the Trades Union Congress calculated that the number of remote workers rose by almost 250,000 between 2005 and 2015.” 

 

The Guardian’s article includes an interview with digital nomad Danish Soomro, a Canadian-Pakistani who was living in Greece at the time of publishing. Soomro said that “we live in a project-based economy, and more digital work is becoming available in more occupations, creating opportunities for people to go nomadic. Life goals are also different. Millennials tend to favour experiences over possessions, which suits this kind of lifestyle.”

 

In Buffer’s State of Remote Work Report, published February 27, 2018, 43% of the 1900 global remote workers surveyed said that the “biggest benefit to working remotely is the ability to have a flexible schedule.” The second greatest benefit was being able to spend more time with family. While some digital nomads may eventually find that they crave stability, the preference towards work accommodating personal life is here to stay. This is a generational change, with a requirement for values-based employment. Backing this up, the report also states that “90% of remote workers plan on working remotely for the rest of their careers,” likely because it suits their ability to customize workspace and style.

 

Benefits for workers and companies

 

But remote work doesn’t just benefit workers, it also poses real benefits to companies. A 2018 Forbes article explains that “employers are increasingly using gig workers to lower costs and meet project needs.” (In this context, gig workers references remote workers who take on projects instead of full time, traditional employment.) Because they’re able to take contract work opportunities that directly leverage their expertise, gig workers can be more able to provide companies with a successful project outcome. The article continues, saying “58% of midmarket companies report that a significant driver behind their use of gig workers is to access skills and experience that is not available in their current workforce. Great talent tends to be concentrated in certain areas, and not always open to permanent relocation. Remote work or contract-based work arrangements can help companies attract the right talent and fulfil current needs to remain competitive.” 

 

At ODEM, we have found this to be true - and we do our best to accommodate talent in order to keep them around. As proponents of having the right person for a job regardless of location, age and formal credentials, our company is largely made up of remote workers located around the world. Our focus has always been on finding the best people, no matter what time zone they’re in -- the optics of having people in seats in front of you have been smashed by international productivity. Today, ODEM has people contributing to the success of our product and marketplace in the US, Brazil, Canada, Cyprus, Egypt, Holland, Romania, Honduras, UK, Switzerland and more.

 

The courses that ODEM offers are as varied as our workers. View them all here, and check back often as new educators add their courses to our program catalogue. Join the conversation on Telegram, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

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