Wouldn’t it be great to work from anywhere? Truly anywhere.
Digital nomads are people who do just that – they travel the world and work from wherever they want. Most digital nomads have better mental health than employees who feel stuck in a 9-5 job because they have freedom and autonomy over their schedule and life.
The downside to hiring a digital nomad is that most companies don’t have policies in place to work with them. Not to mention, because digital nomads can work from anywhere in the world, it can be difficult to have meetings because of time zone issues.
If you’re a digital nomad, your life is completely yours. You choose where you are in the world, who you work with, and when you work. You can roam freely from co-working space to coffee shop to a balcony on your cabin in a little mountain town. But employers often struggle to work with digital nomads because of their unpredictability and lack of policies in place. Not to mention the amount of discipline it takes to be a digital nomad.
Work-Life Balance for Digital Nomads
Many people who set out to be digital nomads believe that they are entering a life of freedom. While they are untethered to a particular location, digital nomads need to be incredibly disciplined in order to get their work done and stay organized.
It takes a lot of discipline to do your job when you’re traveling the world, but the fact that digital nomads get to work from anywhere they want means they’re often happier and mentally healthier than someone who is relegated to a traditional office job.
Digital nomads sometimes struggle to get the work done, mostly because it’s hard to balance leisure time and work time when you’re off in a foreign country. When you’re traveling the world, the two can blend together. This is one of the digital nomad challenges that people who live this lifestyle face.
On the other hand, some digital nomads struggle to turn work off and find that, with the use of self-discipline, they literally have to schedule free time into their days. Working with digital nomads can be challenging for these reasons.
Recruiting Digital Nomads
Some companies will require remote workers to come into the office once in a while, making it harder for a person to be truly nomadic while they work. This can be another digital nomad challenge and a struggle for companies working with digital nomads.
Many digital nomads are not just freelancers, but people who work for companies that allow remote work. So they have adopted a lifestyle of moving around and working from wherever they please. It can be difficult to keep track of a digital nomad, who often may not disclose where they are living and working.
Most companies don’t have policies in place to manage a digitally nomadic lifestyle.
If a digital nomad doesn’t tell their employer where they are working from and they are out of the company’s jurisdiction for legal or even tax reasons, that worker can put the company at risk.
A lot of digital nomads are getting paid high salaries for companies located in areas like New York or San Francisco where you can make a lot of money but also the cost of living is high. Yet because they are working from “wherever,” they are banking all of that money. Some companies don’t believe that you shouldn’t be getting paid a New York salary and working from a cabin in Montana.
Digital Nomads vs. Remote Workers
All digital nomads are remote workers, but not all remote workers are digital nomads. Someone who works remotely often lives in one place, stays in the same time zone, and has a predictable schedule.
Remote working became a necessity when the pandemic started and has continued to this day to be a popular way for people to work. Digital nomads don’t stay in one place for very long, regardless of whether they are tied to a job that has typical 9-5 hours or not.
Some digital nomads are freelancers, but not all. Remote workers tend to work for a company but are just not in person working in the office. In both cases, technology plays a huge role in the person getting work done because they need internet and computers and Zoom meetings and calendars to keep everything straight.
Digital Nomads as Team Members
Because discipline is incredibly important for digital nomads, deadlines and scheduled meetings are crucial to successfully working with a digital nomad.
There is inequality in the workplace when it comes to hiring digital nomads. Most are young, white people with enough privilege to afford plane tickets and Air BnBs and have an education that affords them a job that doesn’t require them to be in person.
Working with digital nomads can be challenging for companies and team members.
Some people may resent the digital nomad life and the ability to work remotely full-time. It can also be hard to stay in touch with digital nomads who are truly location-independent and may not always disclose where they are.
Addressing Mental Health for Digital Nomads
Digital nomads can be incredibly hard on themselves. The need for discipline, particularly self-discipline, can make it hard for digital nomads to give themselves time to enjoy their life. Even if the whole point of living a nomadic lifestyle is independence and freedom.
Digital nomads have chosen a nomadic lifestyle because they don’t want to be location dependent, but that can take its toll on someone’s mental health if you’re constantly moving. Some digital nomads keep a home base, but many do not. It’s important for companies working with digital nomads to understand the mental health challenges digital nomads face and offer support when they can.
If your company is working with digital nomads and you need support to manage the digital nomad challenges, we are here to help. Contact us for a free consultation today.