The concept of a digital nomad is by far not a new one, but it has been shoved to the fore recently by the pandemic which has forced us all into some version of digital nomad. However, instead of working remotely in some exotic place taking in the sounds and smells of an inspiring location, most of us are confined to our living rooms facing very uninspiring piles of laundry waiting to be sorted.
In the early days of the pandemic, some people saw an opportunity and if they were able, hastily packed up their devices. They raced off to get to exotic places like beachside holiday resorts in Mexico and Costa Rica, mountainside retreats, cities they've always loved, or some even just travelled to family in another country to wait out the pandemic.
However, as the situation evolved and various countries closed borders, imposed restrictions, etc. those pandemic-escapees were forced to face the fact that their exotic quarantine had turned into a nightmare.
They faced issue such as:
Yes, vacation fatigue is a definitely a thing. Research published in the Journal of Happiness (also a thing!) stated that while vacations have solid positive effects on health and well-being, the effects are short-lived and after eight days of a holiday happiness starts decreasing.
Those that tried to repatriate faced:
The pandemic has brought about a massive shift in the way people view a regular workday and productivity. The 2020 pandemic saw a surge in remote working by almost 50% compared to 2019 in the US alone!
Companies are now redesigning work processes and introducing new technologies to facilitate this new way of doing things. A recent paper was published by researchers at the University of New South Wales that explored these changes and what it will take to make this paradigm shift in this “new normal” world we find ourselves in.
They explored the space between the traditional view of work, which they referred to as “factory paradigm”, and the digital nomad at the other end of the spectrum to find feasible solutions. The researchers found that many organisations favoured control (usually by using information technology) over workers' innovation, creativity and motivation. The paper also studied how companies can make the leap from the factory paradigm to the digital one by looking at digital nomads for inspiration.
Possible solutions they found include:
Whilst the typical digital nomad pre-Covid was distinctly well-educated, able to travel easily and of an entrepreneurial mindset, using their experiences in the research was very significant to how we can work in the future even though the remote worker is in a more traditional job.
The frenzied vaccine rollout globally has given rise to the hope that travel freedom and “life as we knew it” is imminent. Many are looking at this as an opportunity to rearrange their lives so that work does not once again become the focal point.
Can you make that transition to digital nomad? A few factors to consider when you're making this choice:
Forbes magazine recently listed the ten best countries to be a digital nomad based on analyses by the company Circle Loop (full index here). They considered factors like internet reliability and cost, average rental prices and even the Global Happiness Index.
Regardless of your decision the conventional workplace has definitely changed and how it looks in the near future will depend on the many factors discussed above. However, this may be the opportunity to take control of your life- both personal and career- and mould it to look like what to you want.
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