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The rise of the digital nomads

Acer logoAcer 25/09/2017
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We explore how tech is revolutionising the way we work…

The term ‘digital nomad’ has been coined fairly recently since the emphasis on the work life/balance has shifted and workers are fast realising the ease and importance of flexible working. A digital nomad is essentially someone who works remotely and relies on technology to do so – submitting work from any corner of the globe and dialling into meetings.

The Internet, digital innovations and a new breed of versatile, lightweight devices have revolutionised our work and play, and there’s now no need to be tied to one specific place. When you can combine travelling the world and working at the same time, it’s not hard to see the appeal. And, with large investments like houses and cars becoming increasingly hard to secure, people are instead investing in tech, such as 2-in-1 devices that offer the power to work and grow your business along with the versatility to capture your adventures and still travel light. For working travellers, the world is your oyster and it’s an exciting, freeing prospect.

Where to start

Forward thinking, efficient cities are ahead of the curve when it comes to freelancers. Berlin is a dream for start-up hubs as they’re dotted all over the city with fast Wi-Fi and are inspiring communities. Portugal, similarly, has a great co-working scene with Porto and Lisbon leading the way. In both cities, emphasis on lifestyle is high.

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Further flung locations that are drawing remote workers include Bali, an island that has attracted the bohemian creative crowds for years with its low-cost living, year-round sunshine, plethora of workspaces like Hubud, and the soul-restoring possibility of surfing or scuba diving in your lunch break. Colombia is also seeing a bit of a digital boom and a strong community of remote workers is growing fast. So much so, it’s slated as one of the top spots for 2018. Of course, there’s always Silicon Valley in the US, just south of San Diego Bay, but Portland and Austin are fast on its heels tapping into the power of the digital nomad.

What to do

Millennials are the generation most likely to eschew the rat race and take the leap to freelance. Typical careers for digital nomads are writers, photographers, graphic designers and digital entrepreneurs – as all you need is your own imagination, the Internet and a powerful, versatile lightweight device. Vloggers might have pioneered this type of nomadic working life, getting much of their content inspiration from their varied travels, but that’s changing fast. An increasing variety of jobs can be done remotely, such as counsellors offering online Skype sessions, web designers and app developers.

The tech

Portability and lightweight technology are key to making it as a digitally savvy nomad. You don’t want to be lugging around a heavy laptop and different chargers on your travels, but you still want something powerful, so a 2-in-1 device is ideal for functionality and fun. Battery life is another factor to consider when buying your tech. There’s nothing worse than your battery running out on a plane or a train, whether you’re working or watching a film. Remote working also means you have to get into a head space that's adaptable to getting focused anywhere. For late nights and long working hours, you’ll need something that feels comfortable to type on and something that does everything you need. Download apps to keep up with your home life – from banking to keeping in touch with friends. Becoming a digital nomad really could open up a whole new world.

Challenges faced

While working remotely sounds like the dream life, it’s not without challenges and living a nomadic lifestyle isn’t always smooth sailing. Discipline is a key factor for a digital nomad. You’re on your own time, nobody else's hours and knuckling down to work (particularly, if distractions come in the form of a blissful beach) can be tricky.

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Time differences can be a plus or minus, in that sometimes you might get longer on deadlines, but on the flip side, you could be replying to emails at any time of the night. Juggling work can be tough but getting organised (in the form of spreadsheets and notes to keep on top of invoices and deadlines) and staying relaxed should alleviate those issues.

Co-working spaces

One of the biggest benefits of a co-working space is being in a community environment where you never know who you might be working alongside, the skills they have and the contacts they can share. Such places are a great place for networking and a nice space to meet locals and integrate with their culture. Keep an eye out for companies like Remote Year, which allows digital nomads to meet up and work and travel together for a year, or WiFiTribe.

Find out how the 2-in-1 Acer Switch 5 is the perfect travel device – combining power and extended battery life for work with lightweight versatility for easy travelling.

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