All Financial Wisdom
The Life of a Remote Employee – Digital Nomads & Laptops on the Beach
Young people today no longer want to be engineers, doctors or elite athletes, but digital nomads. Who wouldn’t want to bill several thousand dollars each month from from a hammock on the shores of Ibiza?
In case you’re not familiar with the term, a digital nomad is a professional who uses technology to make a living in a delocalised way, without working hours and without an office. The only two tools you need to work while traveling the world are a laptop and an internet connection.
“It’s great that Black unemployment is the lowest it has ever been, but that statistic is not so impressive once appropriate context is added. The Bureau of Labor Statistics only counts people who are jobless and actively seeking work as unemployed. That means that people who are unemployed, but have given up on the job search are not included. The official term from the the Bureau of Labor Statistics is “discouraged workers.”The freelance economy is in full swing.”
More and more people are participating in the freelance economy. Digital nomadism is in its golden age. With headlines like “How to bill $100,000 in two months even before launching your product”, “How to leave your job behind, and create a 6-figure business in less than a year” or “How did I manage my company from a Land Rover Defender? It seems crazy NOT to jump in to the freelance economy, right?
I do not know about you, but this new, romantic and ideal new work scenario causes me a lot of skepticism, especially if social media networks, Instagram in particular, become the showcase with which to show success to other mortals.
Here is an example of a digital nomad working from his office on a beach in Ibiza. Will not the brightness of the screen bother you? Nor the breeze of hot air? And the sand? I guess not.
As great as the idea of working from anywhere in the world, without a boss to give explanations and with a schedule set by yourself, I think there is a bit of smoke around digital nomadism. Call me a fool, but I do not want to be a digital nomad.
Of course, I have my reasons. Broadly speaking, I think these are the three major problems of the digital nomad that I would not like to have to face:
1. Technical problems.
Before we said that a digital nomad only needs a computer and an internet connection to do their job. The problem is that, as always happens, the reality is not that simple.
A very easy example to illustrate this problem: laptop batteries, hopefully, only lasts a few hours. And as far as I know, no electric energy emanates from the slopes of Kilimanjaro or from the trees of the Amazon jungle. Therefore, for very digital nomad you are going to need to have a plug nearby.
It also happens that in many of the destinations preferred by digital nomads, Internet connections are bad, exasperating and very expensive. If in five-star hotels in many of these countries, access to the network is very complicated (sometimes limited to the reception area), I do not even want to imagine what it must be like to beg for a free Wi-Fi connection on the street.
2. Problems of concentration.
The technological limitations are not the only ones that the digital nomad will face. You will have a very serious problem of concentration if you can not find a quiet place to work.
Digital nomadism is often associated with bloggers, copywriters, web designers, consultants or translators. The common denominator of these professions is that without concentration there is no creativity. Correct me if I’m wrong but, at least in my case, productivity plummets in work environments that are not routine.
The flights of 8 hours, the nights in the hostels, the nocturnal exits and the impossibility of creating habits and routines, do not help one to be productive and efficient.
3. You have to reset your life frequently.
Leaving aside the labor issue, a nomad is forced to reset his life constantly. At first this may seem like a fun challenge, even stimulating, but I do not think that in the medium and long term the effects are equally positive.
Inevitably, this instability and this lack of continuity will end up moving to the professional field and contributing to feed the problems of concentration that we explained in the previous point.
It will not be easy to live in continuous movement if you have a family with two small children. As a parent, I start to tremble just thinking about what children need to spend a weekend away from home, so I can not imagine what it means to be in constant movement.
Now you may think that I am against teleworking but this is not the case. I still think teleworking is the future. In fact, almost half of my current work is done remotely. This allows me to reconcile my personal and professional lives and be more productive, organizing myself as I please.
Thanks to teleworking, physical barriers are eliminated and geographical expansion is allowed. Not to mention that the cost savings are significant for both the company and the teleworker.
But no matter how much you decorate, work is still work and requires less posturing and more ergonomics and concentration. Do not be fooled, there are no shortcuts or tricks. Consistency and effort are the only keys to success with a business, even if you are a digital nomad.