Beyond the Cubicle: The Digital Nomad Trend

Top Trends By Stefan Zechner August 7, 2017

The freelance phenomenon is taking the U.S by storm. In fact, 35% of the American workforce classified themselves as freelancers last year. And as technology advances, more of these freelancers are ditching their desk chair and working wherever they want – even as they travel. The trend has created a workforce of “digital nomads,” working from coffee shops and beach chairs all over the world.

Sipping a Mai Tai during a conference call and meeting a deadline the same day you scale a mountain may sound outrageous, but it’s possible to work while you travel, and you won’t even need to hide it from your boss. According to Global Work Place Analytics, remote freelancing greatly improves employee satisfaction and productivity.

As more workers trade their 9-to-5 for the digital nomad lifestyle, companies are accommodating to retain top talent. It’s become a recruiting tool and even a source of a pride, with Forbes publishing annual rankings for the top 100 companies offering remote jobs.

Digital nomad programs

Not only are employers becoming more flexible, but startups designed to enable remote freelancers are emerging. Take Unsettled, for example: they provide 30-day co-working retreats that include housing, workspace, and events for remote workers from all different companies and fields. Unsettled gives participants more than just an opportunity to combine work with travel; they also provide a space to “explore the best version of yourself.”

For something more long-term, Remote Year offers one-year programs that place workers in 12 different cities around the world for one month at a time. Transportation, housing, and working space are all included, so you have more time to focus on immersing yourself in your new environment.

Going solo

If you’re more of an independent type, you can also venture off on your own. Tools like Skype, Slack, and Trello make it easy to collaborate from anywhere. A laptop and Wi-Fi are all you need to get started as a digital nomad.

There are several career paths which are now possible from the distance. Web development, teaching, tutoring, and consulting are just a few of the most popular remote freelancing fields. Other jobs have become easier to do with new tech. For instance, freelance writing has long been a common remote career, but today, there are resources designed to help writers find assignments or make a career on their own as a blogger.

If you’re considering making the leap to the digital nomad lifestyle, check out Nomad List, a site that ranks and categorizes the best places to live and work remotely.