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The rise of the digital nomads

October 31, 2017

Remote Working

The world of work seems to spin faster these days. Ever changing, always in flux. 

As our increasing dependency on technology makes communication easier and faster, we are learning to live and work in new ways and with improved results. Geographical boundaries and time zones are becoming less important as the links between us grow stronger.

One key recent difference is the rise in remote working. Just a few years ago, many organisations wouldn’t have even considered the many benefits remote working can bring to their business. This is a key change to the culture of work, and the role of the workplace.

We’re heading toward a world populated by the digital nomads, able to work in any space and any time. A world where flexibility is king, and new rules apply.

Its a world of new efficiencies, and benefits for everyone. What’s more, we’re already well equipped for the transformation. All we need for our new workspace is a chair and a good WiFi connection.

Remote workers are able to avoid the many daily stresses of having a single base. All those usual frustrations. The unhappy faces of packed trains and pavements on the commute and all the time and expense spent on those journeys. The office politics, the noise and disruption of the workplace….and Neil from Accounts! Let’s be honest, every office has a ‘Neil from Accounts’. You’re probably thinking of one while you read this. I know I am.

Working remotely can also lead to increased productivity. No being dragged away to hastily arranged meetings, or distracted by unwanted calls or unnecessary tasks. Remote workers generally report that they are better able to manage their time. Discipline is essential, obviously, and the demon of remote work - procrastination - is often only a cup of coffee away. In a recent report from ConnectSolutions though, 30 per cent said that remote working enables them to get more done in less time. This is just one of several efficiencies for organisations.

In 2016 , it was reported that some 41% of all sickness days in the UK were due to stress and/or mental health issues (from a report commissioned by the Institute of Directors). Remote working can help. The new found sense of autonomy and independence can boost confidence and morale, and in turn lead to lower levels of absenteeism. Remote workers feel trusted and motivated to carry out their role with a sense of ownership. A study by software services supplier PGI also found that 80% of home workers reported better morale. An obvious knock on effect of this is that the ever revolving door of retention is slowed down, and turnover improved.

Believe it or not - and it goes against natural perceptions - remote workers, or telecommuters, are also likely to feel more engaged with their team and managers when working outside of the traditional work environment with all its added stresses and distractions. Simple team management tools such as Wundamail enable teams to stay connected with each other and supported by their managers.

Digital nomads come in a variety of ages too. The freedom and individuality of the lifestyle, and the better work/life balance it offers is available to all. Even Neil from Accounts. The millennials, entering the workplace for the first time, were born into the digital world. Its how they expect to communicate, how they want to interact, and working remotely keys into that perfectly. Similarly, those over 50s workers will appreciate the ability to take a little more control of how they work and when. Increased life expectancy will lead to people working later in life, beyond retirement age, and the ability to work in a more relaxed, informal setting is a real bonus for these more experienced workers.

The change is here, the transformation to the world of the digital nomads is already underway. Its a global phenomenon that shows no signs of stopping. Another PGI survey reported that 60% of part-time remote workers would gladly leave their current job for a full-time remote working position at the same pay rate if they had the opportunity.

We’ll all be digital nomads soon enough. And Neil from Accounts will wonder where everybody’s gone.

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