By Cathy Clauss, Vice President – Client Development

Many employers have warmed up to remote work over the past several years, seeing the benefits it provides both employees and the business. One remote lifestyle growing globally that talent acquisition leaders need to know: the digital nomad movement.

Some estimates show there are about 35 million individuals working virtually while traveling to new locations worldwide – also called digital nomads. Hiring beyond geographical boundaries to include this unique – and growing – workstyle allows TA leaders to expand their talent pool and outshine the competition to win top candidates. Plus, employers can see increased productivity, better engagement, and lower costs.

More illuminating information about digital nomads:

  • Most come from US, UK, Russia, Germany, and Canada
  • Top destination is Mexico, followed closely by Thailand
  • Average age is 32, with most starting the journey at 29
  • Majority are tech-savvy, skills-oriented, & well educated

The ability to work from anywhere with an internet connection provides employees with more flexibility and a better work-life balance – both highly sought-after benefits. It also offers unique opportunities for personal growth and networking, allowing them to immerse themselves in new cultures and meet others who share their passion for travel.

But before you can successfully attract and retain location-independent employees, you must have a well-defined policy in place to ensure compliance.

Steps for creating a digital nomad policy:

  1. Identify suitable roles
    Not all positions are ideal for digital nomads, but many high-demand ones are. Usually, any job that can be done remotely using technology and doesn’t require physical presence is a good fit. Top roles suited to this way of work include programmers, website developers, app developers, SEO specialists, and social media marketers.

  2. Consult with your legal team
    The employment and tax laws where your employees are working may differ from those where your company is based. Your talent acquisition team should consult with the legal team, in partnership with an employment lawyer, to ensure your digital nomad policy is compliant with all relevant laws and regulations.

  3. Address data protection & privacy
    Digital nomads will be accessing sensitive data from various locations, which can pose security risks for your employees, clients, vendors, and partners. Your digital nomad policy should address data protection and privacy concerns. Work closely with your IT department to outline a framework that ensures data is stored and transmitted securely.

  4. Set expectations
    Your digital nomad policy should clearly outline expectations, including communication standards, work hours, and availability. It’s also important to have these employees regularly report any physical location changes to avoid accidentally breaking employment laws.

  5. Communicate your digital nomad policy
    Make sure each member of HR understands the digital nomad policy and can effectively speak to it to avoid any misunderstandings. Educate your employees on the policy and make it clear where they can find it. Add the guidelines to your company’s intranet and handbooks – and be sure to update regularly.

It’s clear that talent worldwide wants the ability to work when and where they want. And the digital nomad movement is just another piece of the future of work puzzle. Once you clearly define a policy for digital nomads, you can begin building an effective attraction and retention strategy – and enjoy the long-term benefits.

Cathy Clauss

Connect with Cathy on LinkedIn.