What IS A Digital Nomad And How Do You Know If It’s For You?

The rise of digital nomad visas means more people than ever are choosing to live somewhere different and work remotely. So how do you know if it’s right for you?

We’re still not sure if we can comfortably use the term ‘silver lining’ when it comes to looking at what has come out of one-two-almost-three pandemic years, but there has been a long overdue move towards remote working, which has given a lot of workers more freedom than ever. Combine that with borders now being open, and the rise of the ‘digital nomad’ has seen workers looking to live overseas while working elsewhere – and countries offering ‘digital nomad’ visas to make it possible.

Deel is a global hiring, payroll and employee experience platform that just launched in NZ and has seen a huge increase in demand for its services since the pandemic. We talk to Shannon Karaka, country lead for Australia and New Zealand, about the rise of the digital nomad, how to know if it’s right for you and what you need to be sure about before you make a move.

What actually is a digital nomad and why are we seeing such a rise in it now?
A digital nomad is someone who works online from any location in the world while travelling. They are usually on a higher income than those doing a traditional “working holiday” in hospitality, tourism or retail. Technology allows digital nomads to work for clients anywhere with a decent internet connection.

Deel launched in 2019 – a year before the pandemic. How has the need for a company/structure like this changed in the past few years?
The pandemic proved that remote working is more than possible – for many people it is preferred. This realisation combined with constantly improving connectivity, a global talent shortage and the desire of people to travel post-lockdown, means that companies are more willing to be flexible in order to attract and retain top talent.

What are some of the issues a wannabe digital nomad has to take into account if they want to give it a go?
Are you an employee or a contractor? What’s your trade? How will you find clients? Once the work is done, how will you actually arrange to be paid (and stay on the right side of tax laws)?

How can Kiwis get involved in this growing trend?
Plan your trip, what countries would you like to visit? (Check out the best cities for digital nomads to get some inspo)

How are you living? A mobile home like a van or bus or moving between short-term rentals?

Organise visas: many countries now offer digital nomad visas that make it easy to apply for mid-length stays.. Malaysia is the latest to join the long list of countries offering digital nomad visas now.

Do you think more companies need to start offering jobs that have a digital nomad component?
The Digital Nomad is an outcome of a remote or flexible working policy. The important thing to the business is that the work gets done and the employee is hired compliantly. We know from our experiences during the pandemic that being at the office is not needed to complete work so that just leaves Deel to take care of the compliance.

What are some of the characteristics that make for a good digital nomad?

  • A taste for adventure.
  • Flexible but disciplined.
  • Entrepreneurial – you are often your own boss.

Why is it not just for young people?
Flexible working options gives all employees the opportunity to rethink what’s important to them, regardless of age.

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