Find out why digital nomadism will become the norm soon and how to jump on this trend that combines remote work and travel freedom.
Despite the major negative impact of this pandemic, there were many positive outcomes and silver linings. One of the good things that came out of this pandemic is the change in how we work. Companies were forced to change their old school mentality and allow their employees to work from home.
I’ve been in the corporate world for 10 years and I’ve seen many companies and met managers that micromanaged their employees. The mindset of many of them was that they didn’t like and never wanted to offer remote work. I’ve interviewed for many companies and declined job offers because of that. When a company doesn’t want to evolve and has a micro managerial mentality and culture, it hinders them from attracting today’s top talent.
The Future of Remote Work And The Digital Nomad Lifestyle
Before 2020, if someone wanted to work remotely from another part of the world or even in their own city, it was difficult to find a company that allowed the flexibility of working from home, nevermind from another country.
The only way to do that before was to own an online business and be making enough money where you can afford to sustain yourself abroad. We saw a major surge in millennials and the gen z generation leveraging social media and starting side hustles to one day allow that to be their main source of income because they didn’t want to work for stale companies that weren’t evolving with the times.
Before 2020, people living the digital nomad lifestyle were considered by many either forward-thinking, daring, risk-takers, foolish & others wished they had that life.
In the age of baby boomers and gen x, people were told to go to school, get good grades, work for someone else for 50 years, have a family, take a 2-week vacation once a year and retire on a basic income at the age of 65. Every day you commuted to and from work in traffic, worked long hours, had dinner, spent some time with your family or watching tv, went to sleep and the whole cycle started again.
Now the world of work changed overnight and companies had no choice but to figure out how they will set everyone up to work from home and manage their remote staff. Now, it is estimated that by 2025, 70% of the global workforce will be remote!
I believe that the digital nomad lifestyle in at least the next five years will be the norm for most people.
Why and How Will The Digital Nomad Lifestyle Become The Norm in The Next Five Years
It benefits everyone
Well, first of all, companies will realize (if they haven’t yet) how much overhead they will save by having a remote workforce. Employee satisfaction and engagement will go up because now, with location independent living, they will have a better work-life balance since they’re spending more time with their families instead of commuting in traffic.
Regulations are catching up quickly
Secondly, we’ve seen in less than 12 months how countries started implementing one-year digital nomad visas for people who work remotely en masse. The first country to implement this was Barbados, followed by Estonia and Georgia. Now there are over a dozen countries that offer long-term one-year digital nomad visas for people who are either self-employed or work for another company from another country.
The prices and requirements vary for each country and so does the cost of living. Keep your eyes open, because more countries will start to do the same.
The reason countries started to offer this type of visa is because short-term travel became so complicated and sometimes not worth it. Tourism around the world was so badly impacted that some countries were forward-thinking and realized since more people are working from their laptops, why not allow them to spend their money here for up to a year or two which will help boost the local economy. Most of these visas allow for people to bring their families.
So now even if you’re married with kids and you’ve always wanted to live abroad somewhere tropical, it’s so much easier to do that and start living your dreams.
Many people and ex-pats have left their countries to travel the world and it seems that is becoming more easily accessible now with these visas than it was in the past.
The current technology makes it possible
Thirdly, improved connectivity will play a major role in allowing individuals to be able to pick a remote job and work from anywhere in the world living a sort of digital nomad lifestyle. Small countries and islands that want to participate and allow digital nomads to work there will need to improve their connectivity otherwise that will reduce how many people go there for work if they aren’t able to do video calls over zoom.
The 5G rollout globally will allow for the digital nomad lifestyle to be the norm in less than five years.
What You Should Consider If You Want To Live And Work Abroad as a Digital Nomad
There are several other things that remote workers and digital nomads will need to be aware of and prepare for.
On top of having studies that allow them to travel and develop the needed skills, one of the biggest things is taking cybersecurity seriously in this new digital working world. This would be a lot to cover here but one thing I would say is to look into using a VPN (a virtual private network). There are many great ones out there.
New country, new rules
They also need to research each country to figure out the following:
- Requirements for the visa in each country they want to apply for.
- What are the travel requirements for that country?
- Internet speed and cost in that country. (Some Caribbean islands you could be paying $250 for 25 or 50 mbs of internet).
- How safe is that country for a single person, couple, or family?
- What is healthcare like there?
- If you have kids, researching the school and education system is important.
- Will you need daycare services?
- Do you want to hire a nanny or maid service since it could be cheaper in another country?
- What is the cost of living?
- What language do they speak? Do you speak that language or do you want to learn?
- What currency do they use?
- Is there a time difference and will you be ok with that?
Dealing with stuff
You also need to think about what to do with your home and belongings? Should you sell your home and put things in storage or leave it and keep paying their bills which would mean paying double the expenses. It all depends on your situation, circumstance, and your preferences.
These are definitely important things to consider and plan for before making the move.
Something I would also recommend is looking into a country that offers that type of visa and you happen to know someone there. This will make that move easier and it helps when you know someone in the country you’re moving to who can help you.
You can also join Facebook groups of ex-pats living in the countries you’re considering and asking people in those groups any questions you may have.
Pros and cons of working remotely
There are many benefits of living and working remotely from another country. So why not trade your living room couch for a condo or villa on a tropical island with beach views where after work and on the weekends you can enjoy fun activities with your spouse or family!
It may be scary to think about uprooting your family, packing your bags, and moving to another country but my advice to people is always to think about how scary it is to never live out your dreams and remain status quo especially when doing that has become easier and more accessible. If you plan properly and do things right (luckily, there is a myriad of available tools to work from anywhere these days!), there will be less fear and uncertainty. My advice: focus on faith instead of fear.
Not to point out the obvious, but life is too short! We’ve all been faced with our mortality in a way because of the pandemic and tomorrow is not promised. You may not control what’s going on in the world but one thing you can control is your life, the opportunities you take advantage of, and the choices you make.
- Are you cut for the digital nomad lifestyle?
- 10 Ways digital nomads make money
- Try a workcation before becoming a digital nomad
- Digital nomad hubs: Krabi, Thailand
- Navigating a global pandemic as a digital nomad
- 10 Great tools to monitor your business while traveling
Asya Muzlera is a Travel Influencer, Content Creator, Blogger & iPhone Photography Coach based out of Canada. If you want to check out some of her travel guides & tips, head over to the travel section of her blog. You can also find her on Instagram.