The typical 9-5 office based work is slowly becoming a thing of the past. More and more people want better work/life harmony. Unfortunately, it’s not always possible, especially if you’re in an office type job working Monday-Friday 9-5, but once you start #SmartWorking, the impossible becomes possible.
A new trend that has developed over the last decade is life as a digital nomad. A digital nomad is a person who is location independent, meaning they work where they like providing they have a good Internet connection.
New innovation in technology, including Voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) means the only thing they need to communicate is a good internet connection. Many digital nomads move city-to-city working remotely or in coffee shops.
While many office workers look forward to their annual holiday, digital nomads travel and work, meaning each day can feel like a holiday.
CoWorking spaces around the world have allowed digital nomads to build a strong infrastructure and stability to work effectively without the need for long-term lease.
Digital Nomad vs Remote Working
While they’re very similar. A remote worker often works from one or two fixed locations, i.e home or a shared office. However, a digital nomad is more of a wanderer, therefore they do not work from set locations, but work from different locations as and when they like.
The traveling lifestyle of a digital nomad is one that many people can envy, but it’s not without its difficulties.
Some remote workers and digital nomads can find working alone isolating at times. As previously mentioned in our mental health post, the reason for this isolation is that we’re used to being busy.
On a day-to-day basis at work and even at home, we’re constantly filling our brains with information. At work, our minds are often processing information non-stop, not just with your workload, but everything that is going on around us. The noise, the chit chat- we never really get a break. Even once we’re home, some of us will watch TV or sit scrolling on our phones- at this point, we’re still filling our minds with information.
By coming away from a busy environment, we’re not processing as much information and it allows some quiet. However, as we’re not used to so much quiet, it can leave us feeling a little ‘lost’. One way to combat this is to simply embrace the quiet when we start feeling isolated or lost, it’s important to close our eyes and just enjoy the quiet around us for a couple of minutes. Eventually, you will become accustomed to it, rather than ‘training a new muscle’ (so to speak), we’re actually relaxing it. When you begin to embrace the quiet and not see it as isolating, your creative juices will flow more as there’s less resistance in the mind.
This isn’t to say you have to embrace it all the time, for a happy life, it’s all about balance. Therefore, enjoy the quiet but also enjoy your new life. Take your laptop to a coffee shop for a couple of hours, or meet friends for lunch. If the weather allows, work outside in the garden or in nature if you can get a WIFI connection on the go as nature helps us ‘reconnect’.
While you may think, ‘this only applies to remote workers’, this isn’t the case. The opposite side of the wheel for digital nomads is that they can struggle to adjust. As digital nomads like to travel from location to location. This can also lead to feeling isolated as not having a ‘home-base’ can sometimes give you the sense you don’t belong anywhere. It’s important to find balance.
Funding a digital nomad lifestyle can be expensive within itself. Anyone who can work from a laptop can effectively become a digital nomad, the challenge is the expense. This isn’t to say you need a full-time job. Freelancers also benefit from traveling as it allows you to have flexible hours and be your own boss. However, regardless of your career choice, you will need to be able to fund your travel and a steady income is very much needed in order to achieve it.
Working around work
Some remote workers would love to travel and live a digital nomad life, however it’s all about what job you’re doing. If you have weekly face-to-face meetings, or are required to attend events and see clients often, this would lead to you cutting your trip short. It’s important to look at the full picture and see if working as a digital nomad in your current remote working position is actually achievable.
If you’re a remote worker looking to become more of a digital nomad and you’re not sure where to start. Start small, plan small trips around and work from home the rest of the time. There’s no rule that says you have to be one or the other. You may find that you don’t like traveling as much as you thought as the convenience of being at home is sometimes a lot less stressful and more organised- especially if you need a printer often or have lots of notepads, folders and stationary you need as it’s not overly practical to travel everywhere with it.
The only way to try is to test the waters and see if it’s for you. Try a small trip away somewhere, but do your research first. Make sure the Internet connection to where you’re planning to work from is strong.