Despite the potential economic downturn and the fact that more and more employers (such as Disney and Starbucks) are urging their employees to return to the office, proponents of telecommuting and digital nomadism remain optimistic that this trend will continue.
“In the worst state of the economy, we were still seeing an increase in digital nomadism, especially among those who are highly skilled,” says Dr. Rochelle Haynes, CEO of Crowd Sourcing Consulting and head of research at the Association for the Future of Work. Dr. Haynes is now working with Barbados in order to help Barbados develop the infrastructure required to draw in and productively engage digital nomads.
She warns that businesses that do not include digital nomads in their future personnel strategies risk losing out on some highly qualified workers. “Talent is going in this direction, and companies should be paying attention. We’re seeing more people choosing to resign and seek out other opportunities because they’re re-thinking their work-life balance and work experience.”
In addition, the data shows that 81% of digital nomads are extremely satisfied with their work and lifestyle, compared to 68% of non-digital nomads, at a time when employee engagement is shockingly low. The key to unlocking the discretionary power that leads to a remarkable, motivated employee is that satisfaction.
Where Does Digital Nomadism Go From Here?
Dr. Haynes, as a researcher studying the future of work and digital nomadism, has access to a wealth of information about the trend and its future. Her message: companies would be smart to consider adopting rules for digital nomads to continue attracting a highly skilled workforce.
“If employees want to work remotely from around the world, they will find the jobs that allow them to do so,” she says. “At the same time, countries are going to look to create centralized hubs that cater to the well-being, attraction and accommodation of digital nomads. 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.”