Published On: Sun, Oct 28th, 2018

Is Becoming A Digital Nomad Right For You?


Is Becoming A Digital Nomad Right For You? Where in the world will you work? Image via Pexels


It’s becoming the modern day career dream – a successful job is now less about the corner office and more about the ultimate flexibility of becoming a ‘digital nomad’ – someone who works virtually and from any corner of the globe, working on reports from the corner of a cafe in Sao Paolo or Skypes into a meeting from a beach in Sydney. It seems like the ultimate in freedom, glamour and modern living. After all, who wouldn’t want to swap rush hour commuting stress and office politics for seeing the world while still getting paid? But is the digital nomad life really suitable for you? And what are the realities of this way of working when you look past the image?


Is Your Job Compatible?

First of all, not every career is suitable for this way of working. After all, your surgeon could hardly work remotely from a far-flung beach! There are obviously quite a few jobs that tie you to a specific place, but there are plenty more that can be done flexibly, including jobs in tech, finance, marketing and design. If you’re really determined to get the flexible working lifestyle, it would be best to choose a path specifically with this in mind, or even retrain to make it work. You could even begin by travelling while training – plenty of degree courses can now be taken online. Click here to find out more. The basic requirement is a job that can be done from a laptop and where you don’t have to be tied to a specific location. Of course, you could always start a business of your own.


Is Your Company Supportive?

You may be able to conduct your work from anywhere in the globe as more and more companies are becoming aware to the fact that, unless you are dealing with factory workers, productivity is not best measured by the hours you spend at your desk. Project based working is more about specific outcomes and milestones which are the markers of success. It’s worth a discussion with your company’s HR department to see if there is a precedent and if anyone has worked remotely before in a similar role. If they have, it could be worth trying to speak to that person directly about the pros and cons of that situation. If not, then you may need to prepare a business case as to why your role could be done in this manner. If you think your current company won’t support this move, then you could try a listings site like Remote Ok that lists vacancies for remote working positions. If you haven’t started your career yet and are open to new experiences, it’s possible that seeking employment as an au pair, a house sitter or a personal assistant may supplement something like remote data entry to copywriting while you see the world at the same time.


Preparation Is Key

Once you’ve sorted your work, there is a lot to plan before upping sticks. You’ll need to invest in a light and portable laptop and be sure that you have a reasonably priced international data plan or plenty of access to Wi-Fi to enable your working life. It’s also a good idea to have a reasonable amount of savings to cover rental deposits on a place to stay, as hotels are expensive and not sustainable in the long term. Or you could consider a house swap, where you can exchange homes with someone in another country. House swapping websites like Home Exchanges can facilitate this and get you where you want to go. Investigate whether you will also need a visa or a work permit for the country you are going to, as many need to be sorted out months in advance of your arrival. You will also need to research local laws and customs, see what immunisations you may need for travelling, sort out the best deals on flights to get to your destination and possibly sort out a bank account in your destination country. Being a digital nomad might mean freedom, but it comes with a fair amount of personal admin!


The Right Programmes

A few of the right software applications can really help you to have a smoother experience working abroad. Reliable Internet connection is the main thing, as you don’t want to be faced with painfully slow speeds when you need to work. Slack is a great project management app that can keep you in touch with teams and clients while working remotely and allows you to collaborate well remotely. A package like Office 365 online will give you access to all the files you need plus proper presentation, spreadsheeting and word processing apps.