Wandering Workers: Contingent Labor Today May Enjoy a Nomadic Existence | DCR Workforce Blog

Wandering Workers: Contingent Labor Today May Enjoy a Nomadic Existence

Wandering Workers: Contingent Labor Today May Enjoy a Nomadic Existence

As Mark Twain said:

  • Work consists of whatever a body is obliged to do.
  • Play consists of whatever a body is not obliged to do.

But what if we could do both together and have a ball in the process? Well, we’d be like certain factions of remote contingent labor who become digital nomads.

Many people think that the ideal lifestyle is that of a digital nomad. After all, when your laptop or iPad serves as your office, you could be on the beach at the French Riviera or in a co-working space in Australia, Morocco or Singapore and myriad other picturesque places. People with location independent jobs are able to explore, dive, bungee jump, snorkel, surf and still contribute as much as anyone else or maybe even more – as long as they’re connected to the Internet.

Productivity and time at the office have become mutually exclusive. There’s no need to readjust one’s body clock or wear stuffy office garb to produce quality work. Their happiness and love for their job may make it more innovative and superior as well as reflect better on the employer’s bottom line.

Start-ups today are not overly concerned about hiring freelance developers even before getting their fund infusion in place. As talented workers with specialized skills embrace nomadic lives, companies are happy to put the processes in place to better protect their intellectual property rights and to manage their remote workforces to ensure that they put a top-notch product together on deadline.

Employers are seeing access to better talent as well as lowered overhead in terms of office infrastructure, by way of office space and other facilities which a traditional employee typically requires.

Ignore physical location and work hours

So who are these digital nomads and what’s their work culture, if any? Among other things, many of them love adventure enough to follow their hearts and do things such as travel while they work! Nearly two-thirds of contingent laborers take up freelance work or find independent work for themselves, turn into online entrepreneurs or work independently for a team they’re a part of. While some travel, others actually keep moving from place to place and learn languages and even new philosophies of life.

They can backpack but have no need to serve food to buy their next plane or rail ticket. Even the not-so-adventurous can still work from the side of a dear one’s sick bed, thankful to be liberated from a need to do the same work from an office cubicle. And while some don’t have the constraints of specific works hours, other jobs or gigs are flexible or may have set hours, depending on the type of work required.

Prime requirements for nomadism

If you’re considering trying nomadism, don’t just jump in without a plan. You may want to consider one or more of the following attributes before opting for nomadism. Are you:

  • Able to survive for a couple of months on savings?
  • Single or have a similarly nomadic – or very understanding – ­partner?
  • Currently in a job that allows remote work?
  • Developing your own product?
  • Wishing for a different lifestyle?
  • Desiring action and adventure?
  • Bitten by the travel bug?
  • Capable of living on a shoestring budget with minimal possessions?

The availability of cheap, or free, fast internet connections helps immeasurably. Many younger workers believe that it would be nearly impossible to refuse an opportunity to become nomads, when their job allows them to do so. Additionally, new products and services to serve location-independent workers are being developed constantly, and an illustrative list would comprise of apps that help find cheaper accommodation such as AirBnB; co-living subscriptions like Caravanserai or Nomadlist; cheaper airfares with Hitlist 2.0 or Teleport; and dealing in multiple currencies with Revolut.

Many cities also have Facebook groups, Meetups and other support groups to help digital nomads connect with each other. Companies that allow remote workers are often willing providing the necessary tools to enable their extended workforces to perform remotely with ease. It’s no wonder then that the number of remote workers is projected to reach one billion by 2035.

So what do YOU think? Will this trend continue to grow, will it be scuttled by the realities of living alone in strange countries or will it morph into something different?

The content on this blog is for informational purposes only and cannot be construed as specific legal advice or as a substitute for competent legal advice. They reflect the opinions of DCR Workforce and may not reflect the opinions of any individual attorney. Do contact an attorney for advice specific to your issue or problem.
Lalita is a people/project manager with extensive experience in operations, HCM and training and development across industries like banking, education, business consulting, BPO and information technology. She believes in a dynamic approach to life and learning as change is the only constant.