Where We See the Digital Nomad Movement Going
The digital nomad movement is all over the press but surprisingly it’s still in its infancy, so expect lots of change, innovation and rapid growth in the near future.
Recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau found that 5.2% of American workers do their job from home, and a study from Swiss office provider IWG found that more than two-thirds of professionals around the world work outside of their office at least once a week.
There’s a growing group of remote work professionals who are demanding to be able to work on their own terms. As the movement is just getting started, let’s take a closer look at the future of this location independent digital nomad movement.
1. It’s going to become easier to be a digital nomad.
The infrastructure to live and work from anywhere is still being developed, especially for finding an affordable place to stay. But companies like NomadX are working to meet that need. The growth of full-time or part-time remote work jobs, coliving facilities, digital nomad communities, fast WIFI anywhere, and productivity apps are becoming more common and acceptable. In the next three to five years, it will be much easier to live the digital nomad lifestyle anywhere in the world. Digital nomads will not be not just limited to top digital nomad destinations with fast WIFI.
2. Digital nomads won’t be traveling all the time.
Some will, of course, but many will have a low-cost home base where they spend time when they’re not traveling. When they do travel, they’ll encompass the slow travel movement, traveling for months at a time and spending more time in each location to maximize productivity and the cultural experience, as traditional Nomads have done for 1,000’s of years.
3. More people will become digital nomads.
Most young professionals are waiting longer to get married and have kids, and their work can now be done from anywhere due to cloud computing, smart mobile devices, and fast WIFI throughout the world. The idea of commuting, the nine to five job, and having to pay high city rents isn’t as attractive as it once was when you can now live and work from anywhere. We expect this to change significantly, as swarms of experienced professionals join the digital nomad movement. No one knows yet how big it will become, but ask some experts and they expect there to be over 1 billion digital nomads in the not so distant future.
4. Less people will care about traditional status symbols.
Modern day status symbols are all about experiences and not things like fancy cars or nice houses as it once was for our parents’ generation. Collecting expensive possessions have little meaning to this new generation — and that can make it easier to embark on a digital nomad lifestyle, especially when living out of your backpack.
5. Pay for use will become more popular than ownership.
Many young professionals are delaying car and home ownership. And, waiting to make those big purchases means they have a more flexible, transient lifestyle that lends itself to an easy transition to becoming a digital nomad.
6. Digital nomads will seek out more remote locations.
Most digital nomads are flocking to digital nomad hot spot cities for the work infrastructure, community, and excitement but generally those cities are much more expensive. As the digital nomad trend continues and the infrastructure improves, we expect to see more digital nomads seeking more remote and minimalistic destinations to reduce costs and to live a more relaxed lifestyle to compliment the city life.
7. Empty nesters will become digital nomads.
Empty nester parents will also look to adopt the lifestyle as a pre-retirement opportunity to travel and work as they seek to further discover the world and scout potential retirement locations.
8. Remote work will become even more popular.
Corporations will be forced to not only accept remote work but allow skilled workers to work from anywhere as this will become a standard to compete for the best workers, especially in high-tech industries.
9. In-person meetings will still happen, but much more sporadically.
Teammates will still work together but more periodically for regular monthly meetings, quarterly retreats, and annual gatherings. There’s ultimately no need for daily water cooler chit-chat and long midday lunches.
10. Gig economy will become more popular.
More jobs will be based on the gig economy where you get paid for the work you do verses having a traditional job. So, if you want to work 80 hours one week and take the next week off, that will all be at your discretion.
11. Digital nomads will have different experiences by generation.
Members of Generation Z will have a much different digital nomad experience than the millennials as they pave the way for future generations, including even retirees as they search for the ultimate retirement destination.
12. Digital coops will form.
Consolidation will occur in the industry for online coaches, freelancers, co-living, co-working operators, and conferences. We expect more of a culture of co-ops, where workers share resources but remain independent.
13. Governments will become more digital nomad-friendly.
Smart governments will compete for and seek to attract digital nomads as they are a desirable audience made up of global tech workers and entrepreneurs.
14. Work on your own terms.
You will no longer be restricted to the 9–5, regular commute and water cooler politics. Many workers are already starting to experience the freedom and responsibility of remote work, but soon many others will experience the location independent global lifestyle.
15. Mastermind retreats and events
Many of the digital nomads look to earn income and connect with other nomads by planning and attending mastermind retreats, van life road trips, conferences and even spiritual ceremonies in the jungle with Shamans. The goal is to help find their spiritual/life balance, educate each other, tips and tricks and connect with other like minded nomads. We expect this trend to continue as these programs are rather new but expanding rapidly due to popularity.
Although the location independent digital nomad lifestyle is not easy or for everyone, it is a very realistic opportunity for all knowledge-based digital workers, offering a dream lifestyle.
What do you think of the movement and where do you think it’s going?
Read also: 14 Benefits Every Digital Nomad Enjoys
NOMADX is a real estate technology platform developed to meet the needs of the rapidly growing global community of location-independent remote workers, or “Digital Nomads”.
As Digital Nomads ourselves, we know what the market is looking for: trusted, affordable accommodations in highly-attractive locations worldwide at 45% less than AirBNB. We also offer educational masterclasses to help master the lifestyle as well as community events to help foster new friendships.
Please join our community of Digital Nomads and remote workers from around the world:
Facebook Group: Support Community for Remote Workers
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dave Williams is the CEO and Co-founder of NOMADX with his base in Lisbon, Portugal. Dave is a US pioneer in the digital marketing, advertising, and ad tech industries as a serial digital entrepreneur over the past 20+ years with multiple exits in the early formative stages of the search engine marketing, social media, and ad tech industries.