Digital Nomads and the Remote Work Revolution: Happier People, Better Business
If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “I could do my job so much better if I didn’t have to come to work,” it might be time to look into Remote Work. If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “I would really love my job if I could do it from a villa in Bali,” you might be a Digital Nomad.
“Imagine your life as a remote professional of the future,” says Nathan Yates, founder of WY_CO (formerly We Roam).
“Maybe you are a full-blown remote worker (a freelancer, business owner, etc.) or perhaps you work a more traditional job and only have the option of working remotely part of the time. Either works.
Imagine having a lifelong membership to a global society of other dynamic, adventurous professionals, and a platform that allows you to travel, work and live in the worlds best cities, one month at a time, with groups of 30–40 fellow members on a schedule that best suits your work and personal life.”
Companies like WY_CO are helping ordinary people take their jobs abroad to have extraordinary experiences.
Why is this relevant to you?
Research shows that you may be among the majority if you are unhappy at work. Right now, 51% of the U.S. workforce is not engaged (Gallup), and only 44% of employees are happy in their current role (Hays).
And you may be among the majority (56%) of workers who are planning to look for a new job in the next 6 months (PayScale).
That’s a real problem for you, but it’s also a real problem for your employer.
If you stay, your company knows that “disengaged employees cost organizations between $450 and $550 billion annually” (The Engagement Institute). If you leave, it’s also expensive – it can cost 33% of an employee’s salary to replace him/her (HR Dive) – on average $30,000 (CareerBuilder).
Your happiness matters to the bottom line.
A new study says it has concrete evidence that happier employees are more productive in the workplace. The experiment showed that productivity increased by an average of 12%, and reached as high as 20% above the control group (Social Market Foundation and the University of Warwick’s Centre for Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy).
In fact, “not only are happiness and contentment key to efficiency and effectiveness (…) they are also key retainers of talent for organizations (Deloitte).”
The research also shows that there are two immediate ways organizations can increase happiness, decrease turnover, and actually inspire productivity boosts. What are the secrets?
Remote Work + Travel
- 74% of workers said they would quit their current jobs to work for an organization offering remote-work options (Softchoice)
- Companies that support remote work have 25% lower employee turnover than companies that don’t (Owl Labs)
- Only 24 percent of people who work in an office say they love their jobs. But 38 percent of mobile workers and a whopping 45 percent of telecommuting workers love their jobs! (Leadership IQ)
- Research has revealed travel is one of the best methods to maintain happiness. (Dr. Thomas Gilovich, a psychology professor at Cornell University)
- Momondo found travel increases “trust in other people in general, trust in people from other nationalities, and trust in people from other religions, which indicates that travelling increases openness towards other people.”
If you’re unhappy at work, could you imagine doing your job from, say, Buenos Aires or Sydney?
What if your company was happy to send you abroad for a period of time? Would that make you happier? More productive? A better leader?
Are Remote Working Digital Nomads Happier and More Productive?
We reached out to a few people who had embarked on a recent remote work/travel experience.
“All of these experiences add value to my personal life, but they also make me a better employee and give my company an added advantage,” said JessaElaine Del Conte.
“I think it shows employers that you are a top notch employee who is able to work remotely and still do an awesome job,” said Claire Sellers. “It also shows innovation and strong leadership skills.”
“We Roam (now WY_CO) has helped revitalize my love for my job and create new ways to connect with my clients,” said Laura Osmun. “I feel more work satisfaction because of the freedom and trust my employer showed by approving me to do this adventure. That increase in trust and overall happiness has had a positive effect on my morale and motivated me to put up great sales numbers.”
“I felt like my life had become stale… stagnant,” said GenerikB, the Gaming Hermit (a YouTuber with more than 1.1 million subscribers). “As a Youtuber, I would work 12+ hours a day, 7 days a week. That is a LONG time to be stuck in a dark room staring at a computer screen.”
How does it work?
We reached out to WY_CO to find out more about their program for liberating people from fluorescent lighting and open floor plans.
“We aren’t a trip or a program — we’re a society, a community, a club,” said Yates, CEO. “Clients don’t sign up for a one off-trip and then go about their lives. Members gain lifelong access to the community and membership benefits.”
WY_CO members can sign up for as little as one month at a time, build out their journey from scratch, or opt for predesigned itineraries that have been curated by leading travel professionals.
“WY_CO takes care of all of the ‘headaches’ so I can make the most of my time in each city,” said Sammy Smith.
“I have been blown away by my experience,” said Del Conte. “Not only do I get to live, work, and explore in some of the most amazing places but the wyco staff goes above and beyond on a regular basis. From celebrating promotions and career success with us, to helping set up networking connections in each city to encourage career advancements.”
“They go above and beyond to make sure all the moving pieces in the background run smooth,” said GenerikB. “It’s so nice to reach a new, unknown country and have everything taken care of…right down to a fresh SIM card! Not having to worry about all those “little things” allows me to focus on what’s important: my personal and professional development.”
“In just five months I feel like I have lived and learned more than I have in the last 10 years,” said Sellers. “I am more in touch with myself, what I want for my life, what I need to feel productive and happy. Every single day is a new learning experience both personally and professionally.”
What if you’re thinking about applying?
At thewyco.com there is actually an application process to vet each potential member since the group acts as a traveling professional network. This seems to be common with other companies too.
“We have a built-in network of experts in their field and everyone is always willing to offer assistance and help you learn something new,” said Del Conte. “Need help with coding? Trying to redo your resume and need an HR expert? How about a lobbyist? These are all members of my trip who have helped fellow nomads with advancing toward their goals. The learning experiences are endless, the relationships and friendships are lifelong, and this trip is life-changing. “I have learned more in the last six months than I did the entire last two years that I was at home.”
“DO IT!” said Sellers. “It is scary but once you get on that plane, you will know you have made the right choice. Not one person in our group of 30+ regrets their decision. If you are thinking about it, it probably means you should take the leap.”
If you’re called to travel, but you don’t want to put a gap on your career, growth or resume… this may be the solution.
If you’re a company trying to keep your employees happy and engaged – saving cost and increasing productivity… this may be your solution too.
One word of caution, though…
“Once you start crossing places off your bucket list it doesn’t get smaller, it gets bigger!” said Osmun.
“I honestly don’t think I can go back to the way things were before…” said GenerikB. “This experience has turned me into a digital nomad, and I have a thousand roads ahead of me to travel!”