Advantages, disadvantages and common uses

Teleworker. Remote worker. There are quite a few names that describe people who work from home. And more recently, there is another: the digital nomad.

Digital nomads are people who work virtually, and often from various locations, even around the world. So one day you might be working from your home office, but the next day it might be in a Starbucks, a park, or even from the beach in the Bahamas. Sounds exciting, right?

What is a digital nomad?

A digital nomad lives a nomadic lifestyle, moving from place to place and staying digitally connected. Digital nomads use technology and communication tools to perform remote work in order to travel the country or the world.

Some active nomads stay in one place for a while, putting down roots for a few weeks or months before leaving. Some choose to change city or country more frequently. They work in cafes, hotel rooms, airplanes, coworking spaces, and even caravans.

Whatever the desired configuration, a digital nomadic lifestyle relies on remote work to easily finance all trips.

Digital nomad vs location independent

Although these two terms may seem interchangeable, there are a few differences. A digital nomad with remote work is self-employed in the location, but travels almost full time. They may have sold their home and live fully on the move.

A local self-employed person usually has a home base, but can pick up and travel for a few weeks. Their job doesn’t tie them to a specific city, state, or country, but they probably live in the same place.

How do you become a digital nomad?

Determine if it’s a good fit

Before you dive in head first, it’s a good idea to dig around and understand what it’s like to be a digital nomad. As romantic as working while traveling may seem, the reality is that combining a career with international travel is not for everyone.

Be very certain that you are fully invested in the idea of ​​living light, that is to say without a lot of equipment that you could enjoy on a daily basis if you work in a more standard home or traditional job.

Calculate your budget

Assessing your spending and budgeting will be essential to becoming a digital nomad. Consider whether you will still have rent or a mortgage to pay during your trip. How much will you budget for hotels, hostels and more? What about food, transportation and the internet?

Whether you have a full-time job or freelance gigs, figure out how being a digital nomad will add expenses to your budget and if the money you’re making each month is enough.

Decide on one or more destinations

The world is your shell! Really, as a digital nomad, you could fly to Thailand tomorrow, make your way through Japan the next week, and then ride the waves of Bali two weeks later.

Determine your priorities (seeing a number of countries, changing scenery, learning a new language, etc.) and find the best places for your needs and goals.

If you feel a little intimidated to travel and work at the same time, you can also give it a try and join a co-working space, or try a collaboration—A coworking retreat for digital nomads — for a few weeks and then set sail. Working from your laptop every day isn’t for everyone!

Improve your skills

You will need to make sure you have everything you need skills to work successfully from any location, like being able to manage your workload, meet your deadlines and always work well with your colleagues, even if they are thousands of miles away.

Superior communication skills are of the utmost importance since you will never be working with your boss or coworkers in the same office. And technology should be one of your main skills, because it will act as a lifeline for your work and your colleagues.

Research the labor market from anywhere

A nomadic lifestyle involves a two-way commitment between worker and employer. In other words, employers must be as fully committed as workers to the idea of ​​working from anywhere.

When doing your job search for flexible work that you can do from anywhere, keep an eye out for companies that have demonstrated a commitment to supporting real work jobs from anywhere.

Pros and cons of being a digital nomad

Pro: Exposure to different cultural experiences. You need to know up front if you like being exposed to all kinds of cultural norms, foods, work attitudes, and other parameters. If the prospect sounds exciting, you might be in good shape. If that sounds intimidating or unwanted, now is the time to set some boundaries.

Pro: A more simplified way of life. Traveling to new cities and countries means that you will be limited in what you can bring with you. Many digital nomads sell their homes and many of their possessions in order to live simpler lives and travel more easily. You will probably feel more free without the weight of your belongings.

Pro: Less stressful work environment. Being away from the daily hustle and bustle, not moving around, and not needing a professional wardrobe can all contribute to a better work environment. Studies have shown that teleworkers are more productive. Concentrated, uninterrupted time can get your work done faster.

Disadvantage: Solitude. Much like other home-based workers, nomadic digital workers can find themselves struggling with isolation, but their attempts to connect with their co-workers can be even more extreme. If this seems too intense to you, this is a major aspect to consider.

Disadvantage: Time zone issues. Depending on where you are traveling, you may be hours ahead or behind your coworkers. Time zone differences may require you to work at night or early in the morning. This could mean that your deadline or meeting is actually in the middle of the night if you are in a different country than your employer’s. Have a clear understanding of how different time zones affect when and how you fulfill your work obligations, and how to set boundaries with your coworkers or clients.

Disadvantage: Internet / connection problems. We all know that coffee shop hotspots and WiFi connections aren’t always the most reliable. There may be times when you cannot log in. Or you have to pay a lot of money to access the internet. Anticipate internet access problems and have plenty of backups.

Common jobs for digital nomads

A digital nomadic job can be a way to help you see the world without compromising your career aspirations. If your current employer doesn’t allow you to work remotely, finding a job from anywhere will be your best bet. Here are some examples of common digital nomadic jobs:

Writer / Editor

Writing and editing jobs are great to do on the go. They can be found abundantly as freelance gigs or part-time or full-time roles. Many digital nomads even run their own blogs detailing their travel adventures.

Project Manager

Project managers who work remotely need to know how to stay on top of communicating with clients and colleagues. You will meet project deadlines, so you will need to be aware of time zone differences.

Online teacher / tutor

Virtual teachers and tutors can work with students individually or in a classroom setting. Some roles may require you to set specific meeting times, but others may allow you to log in when you are available.

Many digital nomads have a strong social media presence where they share photos and updates from their adventures. It just might fit into a career in social media. You may also be fine with being in a different time zone if an employer wants schedules to be posted in the evenings.

Customer service representative

Many businesses need overnight customer service. Depending on where you are, those nighttime hours may fall just during your normal work day. While some customer service roles may require a quiet space to make phone calls, many are entirely web and email based.

Web designer

Creativity can increase as you travel. Use it to work as a web designer. This role will create web designs and mockups, and you will likely need experience in JavaScript, HTML, and CSS.

Use FlexJobs for your digital nomad lifestyle

FlexJobs is a great resource for a digital nomadic adventure. Our job offers are updated daily with many remote jobs you can take with you on the road. We check every job and business on our site to make sure you spend less time worrying about scams and more time finding a job that fits your life. Our positions span more than 50 career categories and range from freelance to full time, and many options in between.

This article originally appeared in Flexible jobs.

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