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Will There Be More Digital Nomads From 2021?

Has the global COVID-19 pandemic spurred a rise in the number of digital nomads and is it set to continue?

In the wake of COVID-19, many people have been forced to reconsider their lifestyle choices, as well as their working environments. And while the teleworking movement isn’t a novel one – this past year saw an overnight surge in the remote workforce.

While the increase in remote work adoption continues to amaze the globe, it’s natural for questions to arise: What does telework look like in the future? Are we on the precipice of another working revolution? What does the future hold for digital nomads? Will company leaders be forced to accept this new unrelenting work lifestyle?

The industrial age swept up the global populace with tedious, inflexible office hours and the need to keep a close eye on staff for productivity. We must open our eyes to the fact that this is the digital age – and it is being led by the dreamers and change-makers of the world.

The added fact of technological advancements and the wanderlust movement taking over (due to the travel bug bitten millennial generation) has culminated in many embracing the possibility of working from anywhere in the world.

They are known colloquially as digital nomads. 

Digital Nomads – A New Kind of Lifestyle

The digital nomad lifestyle is completely borderless – free from the traditional constraints of an office desk or a single time zone. Buoyed up by the convenience of technology and connectivity, digital nomads work remotely, completing their daily tasks while enjoying the splendors of their current destination.

These location independent workers aren’t scarce either, with currently almost 5 million digital nomads in the world – according to a report by MBO partners: COVID-19 and the Rise of the Digital Nomad. And millions more set to adopt this lifestyle in the coming years.

Digital nomads shouldn’t be seen as mere traveling freelancers – many are leaders at the spearhead of innovation in their fields. Connecting with people worldwide on a daily basis, many digital nomads establish start-ups that leverage technology and ultimately bring value to the economy – making them a desirable populace for most places. Hustling in coffee shops and co-working spaces and mingling with like-minded individuals – they tend to work in innovative spaces and belong to a network of forward-thinking multinational professionals.

Source: Unsplash

What Are the Benefits of Adopting a Digital Nomad Lifestyle?

  • Enjoy flexible office hours
  • Choose your own office space
  • Maximum variety of projects and work scopes
  • No more commuting
  • More time to chill out
  • Less stressful working environment
  • Opportunities for personal development
  • Grow your entrepreneurial skills
  • And the most obvious one: travel the globe!

Countries Encouraging Digital Nomadism

As a tourism segment, many countries were already encouraging digital nomadism before COVID-19. Ever-increasing in popularity, however, naturally, the digital nomad lifestyle isn’t exactly supported by a global pandemic, with many countries going into full lockdown and subsequently closing their borders. 

Nevertheless, the digital nomads will persist – and countries are seeing the benefits of this niche tourism segment. Many countries are introducing working holiday visas to promote this form of tourism and boost their badly affected economies.

For instance, Barbados hopes to entice digital nomads with their “Barbados Welcome Stamp” – allowing people to stay on the island and work remotely for up to a year. Prompted by the COVID pandemic, the Barbadian government explained that short-term stays might prove more difficult with the likes of testing and possible quarantines.

Another tropical paradise working opportunity is at the luxe Yoko Village – located in the beach-side town Santa Teresa, in Costa Rica. The co-working village offers nomads social, spiritual, and environmental fulfillment with their 80 villas, co-work center, communal garden, gym, and pool facilities. To top it all off – sweeping views of both the mountains and the ocean.

An openness to digital nomads is also increasingly common in smaller places, with Georgia, Bermuda, and Estonia all offering digital nomad visas.

The Future of Digital Nomadism

The pandemic squashed many travel dreams, and most digital nomads scrambled back to the safety of their homeland borders. The future of travel is still shrouded in uncertainty, and digital nomadism is too. But it’s not going anywhere. . .

And the MBO report foresees a significant shift in this nomadic lifestyle due to the pandemic:

  • More traditional employees making the change to digital nomads
  • Increased travel closer to home
  • More extended stays, less travel

With an estimated 1 billion digital nomads expected by 2035, we are looking at a future where remote workers will have more working opportunities, better pay, and more technology to help them grow. As more companies make moves to break away from the traditional 9-5 office setting, 2021 will likely be the year of the digital nomad.


Jenny Cohen Drefler

Jenny Cohen Derfler

Air Dr CEO & Co-Founder

Jenny is the CEO and one of the Co-Founders at Air Doctor. She spent more than 20 years at Intel, most recently as general manager of its manufacturing facility in Israel and before that in various engineering and manufacturing roles in Silicon Valley. Air Doctor is her second startup having previously founded electric vehicle company ElectRoad.