Dear digital nomads – do you know what skills you need to really excel at your craft?

The age of the digital nomad is here. 

This new iteration of flexible worker is, technically, a “state” less worker, capable of working from any location, any time, and is incredibly popular as a form of work and living for digitally native younger generations, freelancers, and a new remote working demographic. 

What is digital nomadism?

  • As HubSpot says, “With 34% of remote employees working 4-5 days a week out of the office, the digital nomad lifestyle could be an exciting possibility if you’ve caught the travel bug and want to break free from the shackles of 9-5 life”.

Digital nomadism is remote work turned up a notch. It’s becoming a more popular long-term culture of working that extends the hybridisation of work and life into a new, novel, fun, engaging, freeing form of earning a keep from anywhere in the world. 

It bottles up all the flexibility and freedom of remote working and combines it with the wanderlust inherent in people who don’t want to set roots but work on the fly. 

The difference between pre-pandemic and post-pandemic remote work is that so many more jobs are now capable of being done remotely. From accountancy to QA, from teaching to even running a company, it can all be done remotely, and therefore the rise of digital nomadism is guaranteed. 

However, ignoring the digital nomad marketing efforts of some areas, states and countries to attract remote workers to their shores via digital nomad visas, digital nomadism is a pretty unique new iteration of the post-pandemic remote work norm. And it isn’t for everyone.

The pros and cons of digital nomadism.

There are obviously certain roles and career paths that are more open to nomadism than others. It’s also worth noting that, for all of HubSpot’s urging of nomadism as a combination of work with the travel bug, in reality, remote workers are looking for working spaces and routines that provide a different sort of working vibe close to home – not everyone has the luxury of travelling by default, and most professionals have priorities that keep them in a certain area like families, relationships and social circles. 

However, it cannot be ignored that remote workers do desire a different environment and creative space in which to work from time to time, be that local co-working spaces, public spots with WiFi like coffee shops and hotels, or via a hub-and-spoke arrangement with their employers. 

The key for workers is finding out what culture and work process suits them. 

The way to go about getting it is by leveraging your skills as a remote worker or digital nomad, and making sure they are communicated to those that matter – bosses, freelance communities, in-house managers, business owners and the like.

For some, the challenge lies in asking your employer or contract employers or agency to become a digital nomad – this can be a bit tricky, and like most questions of remote work and hybrid arrangements the outcome rides on a lot of variables: the existing culture of work, your peers and their needs, your team’s or department’s success, business requirements, historical working norms, on and on the list goes.  

However, the die is cast, and work is changing. If the last two years have shown anyone anything it’s that without change, companies stagnate. Most business leaders understand workers want flexibility in work for a multitude of reasons, and the data is clear that productivity and business success remains consistent no matter where people work. 

But sometimes your bosses need a bit of a nudge. They need raw proof you can excel as a remote worker, and to do this you need to find a way of communicating how your skills have adapted in the wake of the pandemic. 

Everything comes down to communication. 

So what skills should you be displaying for the benefit of your boss or company leader to ensure your digital nomadism is long term and supported?

Use self-analysis to prove your worth. 

  • Simply put, prove to your seniors, freelance community and peers that your performance has stayed consistent when working remotely or via disrupted means. You can do this via online portfolios, testimonials, in-house feedback reviews, and a well-curated CV with references – use any and every line of communication to prove your worth!
  • Self-analysis is an oft-forgotten soft skill that could make the difference for workers who want a little more “freedom” to work a little more effectively. 

Upskill yourself!

  • Proving your command and control of remote systems and tools is a basic expectation of establishing confident remote workflows, so you need to show your peers and seniors you can do this consistently, persistently, over time and over numerous projects, deliverables and deadlines. 
  • This may take a bit of patience, learning or upskilling (which good employers should assist with through L&D programmes, mentoring etc if you’re in-house and looking for remote work as standard), but the results are tangible pointers to your ability to work remotely, well. 

Show adaptability. 

  • The chief soft skill you need to display alongside communication is adaptability. You need to live and breathe flexible working attitudes in word and deed.

Planning Ahead. 

  • Digital nomadism is a parallel style of work and living similar to freelancing or contracting – and the capital rule of freelancing is planning ahead. This means financially having a fund of backup money to cover expenses in the case of a drop-off of work, but also knowing how to confidently plan workflows and deliverables ahead of time.
  • For in-house and remote workers within full-time employment, planning is a skill to show you have ample control over the planning of workflows, of working hours, and of application of skills. All of it needs to be planned and communicated.

A quick, responsive process is what you need to attract and engage the best talent.

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