I am not going to blame the rise of the Digital Nomad on high oil prices, green initiatives, or a generational fad. While these may indeed be valid arguments to some, employee productivity, corporate globalization, and the idea of constant and instant access are key reasons why the group known as ‘Web Workers’ or ‘Digital Nomads’ are increasing at astonishing rates. It is no fad my friends, it is in fact just beginning.
As I see it in Corporate America (remember, blogging is a side show for me, I speak to corporate executives almost daily), there is a major shift occurring: Employees are used to the speed at which consumer apps are developed and they are used to the instant availability of information. Add the fact that most corporations have large percentages of their workforce retiring and subsequently being replaced with younger employees that are hardwired to connectivity, Digital Nomads at birth perhaps, and you start to see the issue.
Major corporations are having a struggle — they cannot keep up with the speed of internet innovation and cannot offer like services and tools in a secure fashion while maintaining compliance with SOX regulations, protecting proprietary information,etc. Frankly, their historic nature of only providing “boring” corporate apps versus corporate versions of today’s internet successes (YouTube, Facebook, Wikipedia, etc.) will eventually impact their ability to hire new employees and retain skilled workers. Eventually, this will hit everything from new product development to sales to eventually, the bottom line. It’s cubicle versus home office, but online. Check out the best remote job search sites.
Being a Digital Nomad used to mean either a traveling salesperson or perhaps the occasional work-at-home employee. Today, it means all of the above but it adds a caveat that includes capitalizing on connectivity and opportunity regardless of your location (such as virtual mailboxes). Who can respond to multiple conversations the fastest and who can create solutions and opportunity for less. Six reasons gypsies should use a Virtual Mailbox.
For example, today’s internet (a term I dislike) allows anyone to create the relationships needed to produce better products or services, for less. Younger generations realize this. If you and I can assemble a team, regardless of the location of its pieces, that can design, manufacture, and distribute a better widget, we’re in business. You are no longer looking local for help, you are looking in India, China, Russia — everywhere. Why work for a corporation right away when I can build one or perhaps build a niche that supports one?
So with that mindset ingrained into this and every generation moving forward, how is the slow lumbering corporation going to thrive, how are shareholders going to see innovation increase versus slow, and how are corporations going to attract the employees to take them there?
It’s said easily: Corporations, large and small, need to foster an environment that is not only friendly to the ‘connected’, but it must foster and harvest a culture where Digital Nomads thrive and innovation is rewarded differently. Over the next few months I will discuss these ideas at length and discuss how corporations can adapt, what these “Nomads” expect, and more importantly perhaps, how you can find them to hire them.