The pandemic opened a new, unforeseen chapter in the future of civilization. Many things have changed forever, including human behavior, medicine, global economic standings (nations that were on top find themselves below some underdogs), travel/tourism, and work, to mention a few.
The aspects of work, leisure, and travel have undergone such significant changes that entirely new industry segments have formed as a result. The biggest change that the urban populous worldwide has witnessed is the mobilization of almost the entire working population for at least a brief period.
This incident has had irreversible effects on workers and organization mentality worldwide.
The future of digital nomadism
A recent MBO partners survey found that there has been a 131% rise in the number of Americans identifying as digital nomads as compared to pre-pandemic 2019. Furthermore, 66% of all digital nomads were recorded as traditional employees (working for companies, not independent contractors or freelancers).
Since the subsidence of the virus and the easing of COVID mandates worldwide over the last year, companies have been toying with various models of work, trying to design the ideal one in which productivity is maximized.
Another recent survey found that 60% of employees want to be digital nomads or at least work in a hybrid work model.
In an interview with Forbes magazine, Dr. Rochelle Haynes, CEO of Crowd Potential Consulting and head of research at the Association for the Future of Work, shared her thoughts about the future of digital nomadism and the future of the global work scene.
Remote work is here to stay
In the interview, Dr. Haynes hypothesizes that companies that don’t include digital nomads in their design may risk losing out on highly skilled workers.
“Talent is going in this direction, and companies should be paying attention,” she said, adding that more people were choosing to resign and seek other opportunities because they prioritized work-life balance and work experience.
The MBO partners’ study also found a significantly higher job satisfaction rate among remote workers compared to people who go to the office regularly.
Dr. Haynes added that over time, she realized that many companies were reluctant to mobilize their workforce because they were concerned about taxes, information security, and compliance issues.
She said (in response) that many online service providers, software, and applications now offer solutions to the said concerns.
There has been a significant rise in the sophistication of data encryption software and project management tools and an increase in the database material for remote work-specific training for managers and employees.
The interview concludes by stating that the data collected by Dr. Haynes in her research indicated that remote work “isn’t going anywhere, and companies would be wise to consider adopting digital nomad policies to continue attracting highly skilled professionals.”
“We’re going to see more countries mature their digital nomad policies not just by working with individuals such as myself to ensure they have the appropriate infrastructure but also by directly partnering with companies to bring a portion of their workforce to their shores,” she said.
The interview was conducted by Larry English on behalf of Forbes magazine and published on January 31, 2023.