Working on the road

The world is your office: working on the road

Photo: Getty Images

Showing up for work and sitting behind the same desk in the same room day after day is so last century. So pack your laptop and hit the road – the world’s your office.

In the internet age, the idea that we need to go into the same office every day for work seems almost Luddite. Thanks to co-working spaces, mobile technology, online freelancing and portable devices, these days it’s possible to fly to any corner of the globe and earn a living. With more and more travellers combining business with pleasure, it’s time to take a look at the lifestyle of the digital nomad.

Learn …

  • how fast the trend is growing
  • how to make global connections
  • how to find the right spaces to work
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A growing trend

A few years ago, the life of the digital nomad was confined to academics and those in the creative and tech industries. Due to the nature of their work, they could sit in a Berlin café whilst coding a new website or write their latest article or script from a beach in Thailand. Jump forward to 2016, however, and an increasing number of other industries are embracing the possibilities of working on the move.

According to online freelance market PeoplePerHour, self-employment will grow at an annual rate of 3.5 per cent over the next five years in the UK and at 3.2 per cent in the US. That would mean that by 2020, one in two people in both countries would be working as freelancers. And in a global marketplace fuelled by social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn, there are gigs to pick up the world over.

Make the connection

The nature of freelancing has changed a lot in the twenty-first century. Where once you needed to make contacts through face-to-face meetings, today anyone can sign up online with peer-to-peer platforms like fiverrFourerr and Zeerk and connect directly those needing a job done. It’s not just the ubiquitous millennials who have cottoned on to this new world of work – gap-year students, Generation Xers seeking a second career and even those approaching retirement are all opening their professional horizons too.

That said, the life of a digital nomad is still one you need to enter with your eyes open. While the chance to earn as you travel is undoubtedly alluring, you must be aware of downsides like chasing up unpaid invoices and negotiating a fair fee that comes with freelance work. What’s more, you need to become a pro at managing the work/life balance – there’s no point in staying at an exotic location if the only thing you’re looking at all day is the screen of your laptop.

Find some spaces

With the prevalence of Wi-Fi the world over, anywhere can become a makeshift office these days. But as romantic as signing off on your latest project from the smoky environs of a Tokyo izakaya bar might sound, in reality, the noise and distraction of other people makes it more than impractical. Fortunately, co-working spaces have cropped up in most of the world’s major cities to meet freelancers’ demand for an environment shared with fellow workers. 

Your bamboo home ... showered with a morning sun ☀️

A post shared by HUBUD Coworking Space - Bali (@hubudbali) on

As well as unlimited Wi-Fi, these spaces offer all the functionality of a regular office, such as break-out areas, printing facilities, and – with any luck – a place to lunch on the local food and drink. You can branch out beyond Amsterdam, Berlin and New York too, with co-working spaces opening up in low-cost destinations like Ubud in Bali. So get connected, book your flights and remember: there’s a whole world of work out there.

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