What’s next for digital nomads?

Whether you’re sitting with a laptop on the beach or at a buzzing coworking space abroad, ‘location-independence’ is the future of work – and companies need to get on board.

The growth of flexible workspaces around the world has risen hand-in-hand with the rise of digital nomads, who are defined as those who live a laptop-centric, location-independent lifestyle that allows them to travel and work remotely, anywhere in the world.

In 2020, a study by MBO Partners found that almost 11 million American workers consider themselves digital nomads – up from 4.8 million in 2018 – while 17 million aspire to become location independent over the next few years.

The report also shows that the number of digital nomads in what are considered to be ‘traditional, full-time’ roles rose dramatically from 3.2 million in 2019 to 6.3 million in 2020. Of course, this was largely due to the pandemic but the shift is not likely to be reversed.

Many big name companies such as Spotify, Twitter and Salesforce have announced that their employees are allowed to work remotely as a permanent option. Spotify’s Work From Anywhere model not only allows its employees to choose the country and city they work in but will also provide coworking space membership for all of its workers.

For businesses adapting to the new world of work and wishing to attract and retain the best talent, it’s going to be important to consider the needs of the digital nomad community. Here are some tips…

   1.  Introduce ‘digital nomad’ work policies

Digital nomads are often on the road so if they are employed by a company (rather than being a freelancer or contractor) it’s important to have suitable policies in place to protect them. Companies must consider the regulatory and legal risks of having ‘location-independent’ employees who work while travelling through different countries. US law firm Littler has compiled a report that unpacks some of the legal issues surrounding employees who work as they travel, for example.

   2.  Work in similar time zones

Working in similar time zones to head office will mean that digital nomads are reachable within standard business hours. “For the sake of maintaining your productivity and open team communication, you need to set clear guidelines about availability,” says Janelle Owens, HR Director at Test Prep Insight in a feature for Ivy Exec. “For us, this means that overseas employees have to be logged on for at least four hours of every workday that overlaps with our team on the US West Coast.”

   3.  Ensure super-fast Wi-Fi

Avoid destinations where local internet connectivity is not strong enough for video calls. Companies that can provide access to a professional coworking space will address the key issue of finding safe, secure and reliable Wi-Fi to work from, avoiding the security risks of public access networks. A Spaces membership will ensure that digital nomads have everything they need to keep working on the road.

   4.  Find a coworking community

It can be lonely being a digital nomad so tapping into a professional community can help workers feel happy, more motivated and productive. Having a Spaces membership means that digital nomads can drop into any location across the world, whether it’s Spaces Wave in Gdansk, Poland, Spaces Nuestro in Bogotá or Spaces Horgans Quay in Cork, Ireland. In fact, a membership opens up the full IWG (Spaces’ parent company) network, so you can make use of any one of its 3,500 locations in over 120 countries across the globe.

A global network for digital nomads

Spaces parent company, IWG, has recently partnered with the world leader in airport hospitality, Plaza Premium Lounge (PPL), to offer all Spaces customers a discounted rate on airport lounge access across the Plaza Premium Lounge network.

Located in 70 international airports across 30 countries and regions, the lounges offer a comfortable and convenient base for business travellers and digital nomads on the move. With its strong presence in Asia and Europe, and continuous growth in the Americas – from their award-winning London Heathrow T2 departure lounge to its recent debut at Budapest Airport, and the recently introduced São Paulo/Guarulhos International Airport T2 departure, an architectural masterpiece of modern design and sustainability – the partnership allows immediate accessibility to IWG members, enabling them to operate on a safe and secure network, ensuring peace of mind through a comfortable and relaxing airport experience.

All that Spaces members need to do is show their membership card on their Spaces app to get the discount and to access any of PPL’s walk-in lounges.

Discover how Spaces membership can help you or your team embrace the digital nomad lifestyle, with access to thousands of locations worldwide.

Enjoy this? You might also like these Spaces magazine stories:

Which countries offer digital nomad visas and how to get one

Smart tech platforms to connect your hybrid workforce

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