How Digital Nomads are Shaping the Way Millennials & Gen Z Work

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Working a 9-5 may still be a norm for many, however, it’s been predicted that the number of digital nomads will reach one billion by the year 2035.  With this new tribe making waves in the world of work, Instant Offices looks into how they are changing the way Millennials and Generation Z think about their careers and travel.

With 5G on the rise, the trend is set to increase as reliable access to technology and connectivity improves, enabling digital nomads to keep in touch and complete tasks as they travel and explore new countries.

The stats show in the UK, more than 4.8 million Brits now identify as self-employed with freelancers comprising 42% and 6% of the UK workforce, according to IPSE.

In the US, 4.8 million independent workers describe themselves as digital nomads according to a report by MBO Partners. A study from Upwork in 2019 shows 57 million Americans identify as freelancers; a four million increase from 2014 with 53% of freelancers are Gen Z workers.

However, it’s not all lazing on the beach and sipping on Pina Coladas; a recent study shows remote workers are 13% more productive than office workers and most likely to take fewer sick days with 23% willing to put in extra hours to finish their tasks.

Most Common Digital Nomads Fields

  • Design
  • Marketing
  • Development
  • Content Creation
  • Media
  • Consulting

The majority of the available positions are geared towards developers and programmers, at 20%. Consultant positions were the second-most requested, at 8%. Data entry processors followed this at 6%, sales managers at 4% and help desk staff at 3%.

A recent Joblift study revealed that vacancies for digital nomads have increased by 8% month-on-month in the UK, at four times the rate of the country’s job market. So, while remote working positions being offered currently account for just 0.03% of the UK job market, they are steadily rising.

Industries Adapting to the Digital Nomad Lifestyle

  • Office space: Digital nomads are on the lookout for highly flexible, short-term workspace options that provide them with a productive environment without tying them into a traditional workspace lease. A hot desk in a coworking space is the perfect solution, and there has been an increase in fully connected and equipped coworking spaces in key locations around the world to cater to these frequent travellers.
  • Insurance: A growing number of travel insurance companies now offer packages tailored to digital nomads. Benefits can range from international healthcare plans to cover for valuables like laptops and cameras or accident insurance for those who enjoy extreme sports and adventure activities.
  • Data: More companies today are offering international data plans for smartphones, tablets and laptops. Services like Google Fi and Sprint Global Roaming are fast becoming the norm.
  • Banking:  Trying to regulate earnings and taxes can be a real headache when travelling between countries and earning from clients in multiple currencies. Services like Curve are making life easier for digital nomads, and cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin are helping travellers to cut through a lot of the red tape around international payments.

To get an insight into the world of Digital Nomads, Instant spoke to Jade Sarkhel and Richard Maule, two digital nomads from London currently based in Bali: “We 100% feel we are more productive, but it takes commitment! The quote “work expands to fill the time available” seems to apply to us when we were working our 9-5 jobs in the city. If you’re working for another company as a digital nomad, then it’s likely that you’ll make sure you get all your work done in the shortest time possible, therefore making you a lot more efficient. As a digital nomad business owner, it requires a lot of discipline and self-made structure to ensure you remain productive!”

John Williams, Head of Marketing at Instant Offices commented how offices spaces is changing around this new generation of workers: “As the modern workforce shifts and more people explore how to be a digital nomad, office space choice is changing significantly. The rise of coworking spaces across the world means digital nomads will always find themselves conveniently close to a meeting space or board room when needed, with access to excellent connectivity and business amenities.”