It’s true that the two terms digital nomad and remote worker have very similar concepts. Both refer to those who work outside of the office, using the help of modern technology. But what’s the difference between digital nomad and remote worker?
Digital nomad vs remote worker: A digital nomad is a type of remote worker. Although all digital nomads live a nomadic lifestyle, moving from one location to another, not all remote workers prefer traveling.
Who is a Remote Worker?
A remote worker is an employee who works outside his or her office. In other words, a remote worker works from somewhere other than his/her central office. This can be at home, in a coworking space, in a café, or even on a sunny beach. In the professional world, the concept of remote work is now very common and includes different variations like working from co-working spaces and following a hybrid model of work.
With the COVID pandemic, many people started to work remotely. Although most employees are now slowly returning to their offices and regular work hours, some prefer to remain remote workers. But remote work is not for everyone. It’s not easy or convenient as it sounds. It requires a different set of mindsets, skills, and resources. To be successful in a remote job, you must be a proactive self-starter with strong concentration and time management abilities. Remote work usually requires a home office or a dedicated space where you can work without interruptions; otherwise, it would be quite tough to focus on your task or manage your time.
Who is a Digital Nomad?
A digital nomad is someone who lives a nomadic lifestyle while working remotely using technology and the internet. Digital nomads can travel around the world and complete their world with the use of technology. Therefore, they are location-independent. The best part of being a digital nomad is the freedom to choose where to live and work. Digital nomads can travel locally or globally (in their own country or around countries of the world).
A digital nomad is a kind of remote worker. But not all remote workers are digital nomads. There are various types of digital nomads. Some engage in a combination of jobs, while some work remotely with only one company.
Generally, digital nomads tend to be younger people. They can work in most industries, including IT, design, marketing, tutoring, and media. A 2020 study by MBO Partners revealed that there are 10.9 million digital nomads in the U.S.
Digital nomads do not usually spend a lot of time in one place. They are constantly on the move. This is another difference between digital nomads and remote workers. When remote workers travel, they may spend a lot of time in one place. For example, if I’m traveling to Bali, I would hire a villa for at least 6 months, and complete my work while exploring the island at leisure. Of course, I consider myself a remote worker. But If I were a digital nomad, I would spend a much shorter duration on one location and give more priority to sightseeing and exploring the destination.
Difference Between Digital Nomad and Remote Worker
|Digital Nomad||Remote Worker|
|A digital nomad is someone who can work from anywhere and travel whenever they choose.||A remote worker is someone who works from somewhere other than his/her central office.|
|Digital nomads work anywhere, at any time.||Most remote workers usually have their regular work hours.|
|When traveling, a digital nomad would spend a shorter duration in one place and move to the next.||A remote worker would spend a longer duration in one place.|
|Digital nomads tend to be younger – usually in their 20s and 30s.||Remote workers can be of any age – even those in their retirement age.|
Conclusion: Digital Nomad vs Remote Worker
It’s true that both remote workers and digital nomads work remotely, but they live very different lifestyles. Digital nomads are a subset of remote workers. Digital nomads usually live a nomadic lifestyle, constantly on the move. But remote workers may sometimes work from their home for years on end, without traveling anywhere. This is why we say there is a distinct difference between digital nomads and remote workers.