The global pandemic’s impact on our daily lives will still be felt for the foreseeable future. Thankfully, the days of lockdowns, mask mandates and restricted travel seem to be coming to a gradual close. It’s fair to say that we’re all grateful and relieved. However, the pandemic fundamentally changed how we all work and live, with employees formerly restricted to office working giving the licence to work in fully remote or hybrid models – due to this the days of 9 to 5 office working are behind us.
Work From Home Anywhere
Businesses are now increasingly accepting and even encouraging more flexibility when it comes to where we are permitted to work from. During the pandemic, our homes became our office, gym, cinema and for some of us, the school classrooms. Let’s be honest, it’s been challenging. However, we are no longer restricted to working or living in these environments and the world is quite literally the oyster of workers. This has driven the concept of the “digital nomad”, the idea of workers that have no set location, which become widely accepted and adopted. Companies across the world have allowed their teams to choose to work from home, or abroad – sometimes for months at a time. These are not just freelancers—it includes CEOs, artists, writers, programmers, teachers…the list goes on!
In the U.S., in 2019, independent digital nomads (e.g. freelancers, contractors, etc.) outnumbered remote employee nomads. But during the pandemic, there was a “flippening”. In 2021, remote working digital nomads from the U.S. (10.2 million) far outnumbered independent nomads (5.5 million). Furthermore, countries accepting digital nomads have formalized the process by providing digital nomad visas. With global tourism still reeling from the effects of the pandemic, this will likely remain the case. And let’s face it, working from a beach, mountain top or hammock sounds pretty great, right?
Beware – Roadblocks Ahead
Unfortunately, there are still obstacles to overcome in this area. One of the main challenges for digital nomads is internet access, and we don’t mean finding a connection – WiFi networks both public and private are easily accessible. What many nomads may not consider is that the internet as it exists today is full of roadblocks. These blocks can be implemented by your service provider or even governments. This means certain online content is restricted in certain regions. For example, digital nomads that work for US organizations and choose to work from within the EU can be faced with challenges connecting to US websites due to censorship driven by GDPR concerns. Roadblocks were put in by some non-EU nations after the introduction of GDPR to fully protect themselves from regulations around managing user data.
The Key To Online Freedom
There is a solution to this problem and like so many challenges in today’s world – it can be solved by technology. With the latest browser technology or extensions users can change their IP address and access content as if they are based from virtually any region in the world – meaning the world really is at their fingertips. The internet should be borderless – for digital nomads, and travellers across the globe, this can mean the difference between total disconnection and staying in touch. The difference between paying too much and yes, having a few more pina coladas on that beach they’re lucky enough to be working from. Internet users should be able to get the full, global view of what’s on offer, irrespective of where they happen to be traveling or located.
Being able to hire employees from anywhere in the world will vastly widen the talent pool that businesses acquire talent from and for employees it means they can live and work from anywhere in the world. It’s a win/win situation and with technology allowing digital nomads to operate as if they are in any region – they can now truly work from anywhere.
By Avi Cohen, General Manager, Hola