Twitter, Square, and Upwork – just a few places that have made the switch to full remote work… forever. As the pandemic hit, the remote infrastructure, which could have taken the better part of a decade to naturally evolve, happened in a matter of months. Commutes to the office halted. Residing close to work ceased to matter. Listings in Silicon Valley grew 48% year over year, with sales increasing by only 22%. And the rise of a digital nomad lifestyle became more prevalent than ever before.
Employees are now free to work from anywhere. Employers have had their talent pool expand dramatically. Yet, empowering this new digital nomad lifestyle and showing employees how to become a digital nomad is paramount. And right now, the data is showing, 71% of employees are struggling to adjust to the new remote work environment.
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How to Empower Employees to Become a Digital Nomad
Without the right tools in a digital nomad’s backpack, a digital nomad lifestyle can be a struggle. Simple activities like communicating with other team members, collaboration on projects and even location can be an issue. Setting up a remote infrastructure with the right digital nomad toolkit is an essential step to ensuring productivity and managing remote employees, thereby improving ROI. Now, apps, software and even specific devices have gone from nice to have to a critical part of a digital nomad’s backpack. Beyond that, maintaining a digital nomad lifestyle while on the go requires specific equipment and security measures. As opportunities for digital nomads continue to increase, it’s important to give an employee the necessary tools to help navigate any roadblocks in collaboration, communication, digital security, and travel.
Collaboration Essentials for a Digital Nomad Lifestyle
Whether your employees are first-time digital nomads or a mature traveler, optimizing collaboration for the highest level of productivity is key to any remote work environment. Employees could be spread across the country or world, but by providing a digital nomad toolkit that makes it easy to collaborate, that shouldn’t be a factor in productivity. Below are the top 3 tools to offer your digital nomads and keep productivity and collaboration high.
Document Tracking and eSign
All that is left to do is sign a document, but somehow, it gets lost in the shuffle. And on top of that, the employee doesn’t have the ability to digitally sign the document. In an instant, an easy task turns into a bottleneck for a digital nomad. By incorporating document tracking into your digital nomad’s backpack, you can easily track the status of a document, set due dates for signatures, and reminders as that due date approaches. There is no possibility of documents getting lost is transition no matter how many planes, trains, and automobiles are in the digital nomad’s lifestyle.
Productivity Management Software
When you have multiple team members living the digital nomad lifestyle, collaboration and ensuring productivity can be difficult. By being able to manage and interact with all your digital nomads through a single dashboard across time-zones, you can ensure the productivity of your digital nomads by measuring it each day and getting an analysis of their effectiveness.
Centralized Resource Repository
Sifting through emails and messages to find a document isn’t a productive use of time. Not to mention the likelihood of your digital nomads using an incorrect version of a document. When digital nomads make up most of your employees, a centralized repository that tracks changes and gives nomads the ability to access resources from single source is critical for success. No manager wants to deal with the nightmare of multiple employees working on different versions of a document without any oversight.
Communication Essentials for a Digital Nomad Lifestyle
As part of the digital nomad lifestyle, your remote employees are wandering the globe. Certain communication tools are necessary. Having the right communication tools in a digital nomad’s backpack empowers productivity while allowing digital nomads to be successful while living this lifestyle. Below are the top 4 communication tools to put in a digital nomad’s backpack and keep communication seamless.
Time Management App
With a digital nomad lifestyle, employees time-zones may differ. Their work schedules will vary. But being able to manage those digital nomads time is crucial, especially if they are hourly. By automating the tracking of when your employees are online each day, week, and month, payroll becomes easy and communication can be flawless.
Request Time Off
As part of the digital nomad lifestyle, remote employees want to take time to explore the places they are visiting. Having an easy way to request and approve time off is key to empowering your digital nomad workforce. Take time to think about and customize your PTO policy to support this. Make sure to sync this with the team’s calendar and payroll. That way, everyone can clearly see when a fellow digital nomad is off enjoying their travels and when they are hard at work.
Time Zone & Country Conversion
A digital nomad lifestyle can spread your workforce across the world. While this dramatically opens your hiring pool, every country has their own local holidays which legally must be recognized. By creating new policies for employees’ local holidays, your digital nomads will feel culturally supported and their lifestyle recognized. Make sure that this is reflected on the PTO calendar so this time off is communicated clearly to employees across the globe.
Messaging & Video Chatting
When new employees are figuring out how to become a digital nomad, the easiest way to ensure communication with them is messaging and video chat apps. These can be streamlined across continents and downloaded onto any phone. By providing this simple solution, a digital nomad should never be out of reach during work hours.
Security Essentials for a Digital Nomad Lifestyle
From paycheck to proprietary information to personal information, security is a challenge in a digital nomad lifestyle. Not only is it a concern for the digital nomad, but their employer as well. Make sure that these three tools are in your digital nomad’s backpack:
Secure Cross-Border Payments
With digital nomads trotting the globe it can be difficult to stay tax and currency compliant, but it is also essential when employing digital nomads. No digital nomad wants to worry about their money getting to their account. Make sure to have a system in place that handles these complexities to make it easy on you and your remote employees.
As part of the digital nomad lifestyle, remote employees will connect to public Wi-Fi and a variety of networks. To secure information transfer, make sure they use a VPN. With so many providers to choose from, check out the best VPNs for 2021 to recommend or provide your digital nomads.
When traveling abroad most digital nomads can’t get SMS authentication codes. But ensuring your network privacy and safety is critical. Google and Duo Authentication apps are great ways you can secure logins and ensure privacy on any network.
Easy Travel Tools for a Digital Nomad Lifestyle
While mobile apps and software are easy to include in your digital nomad’s lifestyle, there are certain types of equipment that need to be included in a digital nomad’s backpack. As part of a digital nomad lifestyle, electricity and internet aren’t a given. Therefore, there are four top essentials to consider providing or recommending to your digital nomads.
A portable wireless modem or MiFi, is essential when traveling the world. Digital nomads don’t have a guarantee of reliable internet or any internet. The data powering your digital modems MiFi can be paid for through a mobile network. Make sure that the wireless modem they have works internationally.
Lite & Durable Laptop
A digital nomad’s backpack shouldn’t be too heavy or difficult as they cross a country or globe. But too often, laptops break with extensive travel. Mac has a history of building laptops with a long battery life and a durable but lite design. If you want to provide something a little less expensive, try a new Dell Insprion weighing just over 2lbs.
When out and about or even in certain countries, access to electricity isn’t assured. And with countries having different conversion requirement for electric outlets, it is always good to have a backup. When looking at options, consider the room available in a digital nomad’s backpack. Weight and size are a consideration. Another consideration is the milliamps (mAh). While 20,000mAh power might work for a mobile phone, it will barely get more than one charge out of it with a laptop. Try to find something with a little more mAh. Also, if they intend to fly with their power bank, make sure it is TSA approved.
Teaching Employees How to Become a Digital Nomad Isn’t Easy
When dealing with first-time digital nomads adjusting to the digital nomad lifestyle, don’t expect it to be smooth sailing. Communication and collaboration occurs much more naturally when in the same place. The same cannot be said when you have a workforce of digital nomads. Try creating a checklist to make sure you have given your digital nomads all the tools mentioned above to help them succeed in this lifestyle. Be ready to be agile and adjust for unforeseen circumstances. And finally, look for ways to make it easier on yourself and your digital nomads as they navigate how to become a digital nomad.
Jessica Edmondson has 6 years of writing experience exploring trends in the B2B SaaS, FinTech, Telecom and Smart Home industries. Jessica graduated from Oakland University with a Bachelor’s of Arts in English and Creative Writing. Her interests center around disruptive and transformative digital trends and technology.