Digital nomads, a category of workers that has grown over the past decade to comprise 37% of the U.S. workforce, are introducing a brave new way of working. According to a World Economic Forum forecast, flexible work, including virtual teams, is one of the biggest drivers of transformation in the workplace. Researchers predict that telecommuting, co-working spaces, virtual teams, freelancing, and online talent platforms will be on the rise, transcending the physical boundaries of the office and redefining the boundary between one’s job and private life.
Who are these “citizens of world?”
Basically, digital nomads are professionals who live a location-independent lifestyle, allowing them to work from anywhere in the world. Digital nomads are freed from offices and cubicles, and in some cases even from established work schedules. This means they can work from a beach in Thailand, a coffee shop in New York, or even from their beds—as long as there is a reliable wi-fi connection, they are good to go.
The truth behind this workplace phenomenon is that employees are looking for flexibility, and companies are gradually meeting this demand, realizing the benefits not only for employees but also for business. But how exactly do companies benefit from the digital nomad workforce?
Benefits for businesses
- Wider talent pool. The main benefit for organizations is a wider talent pool: When you need to hire a new employee, you are no longer limited by geography and can consider top candidates throughout the world.
- More creative environment. Employees who travel extensively have a broader outlook and are often more open to new partnerships. Employees who can offer a global perspective and bring new ideas can greatly benefit your company.
- Greater employee efficiency. According to recent research, hiring remote workers can significantly boost employee efficiency, as people who work remotely are often more motivated to perform well than their office-bound counterparts. The study found that personal satisfaction and quality of life play a significant role in overall productivity. Also, digital nomads tend to get more sleep and have more time for exercise, both of which foster a positive attitude and reduce stress.
- Employee development. Remote work options also help companies improve employee development and increase retention. Employees value flexibility and are more likely to stay with an employer that offers options that fit their lifestyle.
- Lower costs. Remote workers can save both time and money due to differences in global economies, salary and wage variations, time zone efficiencies, and many other factors.
Benefits for society
Remote work options also help older workers stay engaged in the workforce. According to a survey by the Pew Research Center, today’s older workers are spending more time on the job than did their peers in previous years, in part thanks to the ability to work remotely. Moreover, 74 percent of older Americans are more willing to stay professionally active if they have flexible schedules.
Workplace flexibility is a trend that is only going to increase, so companies must adapt in order to remain competitive. To attract and retain top talent, especially in the areas of Web development, e-commerce, design, and more, that means establishing remote work and other options that help meet employees’ lifestyle needs.
For more insight on remote work, see A Remote Future: Is 9-To-5 A Thing Of The Past?