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Digital nomads beyond the buzzword: Defining digital nomadic work and use of digital technologies


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Digital nomadicity has gained popularity in recent years as a fashionable lifestyle and as a way of challenging traditional work contexts, but there has been very little incisive empirical research on the lifestyle’s characteristics, its implications for the future of work, or on the technology, which supports it. This paper describes the four key elements that constitute the work of digital nomads: 1) digital work, 2) gig work, 3) nomadic work, and 4) adventure and global travel. We present digital nomads as a community of workers situated at the confluence of these four elements and define how each of these are enabled by the use of digital technologies. This research serves as a foundation for information studies concerned with the dynamic and changing relationships between future of work, new population of workers (digital natives) and emerging digital platforms.
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Digital nomads beyond the buzzword: Defining digital
nomadic work and use of digital technologies
Caleece Nash [], Mohammad Hossein Jarrahi, Will Sutherland, and Gabriela Phillips
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill NC 27599, USA
Abstract. Digital nomadicity has gained popularity in recent years as a fashion-
able lifestyle and as a way of challenging traditional work contexts, but there has
been very little incisive empirical research on the lifestyle’s characteristics, its
implications for the future of work, or on the technology, which supports it. This
paper describes the four key elements that constitute the work of digital nomads:
1) digital work, 2) gig work, 3) nomadic work, and 4) adventure and global travel.
We present digital nomads as a community of workers situated at the confluence
of these four elements and define how each of these are enabled by the use of
digital technologies. This research serves as a foundation for information studies
concerned with the dynamic and changing relationships between future of work,
new population of workers (digital natives) and emerging digital platforms.
Keywords: Digital Nomads, Gig Work, Nomadic Work, Digital Work.
1 Introduction
In the past few years, there has been a rise of digital natives with location-independ-
ent living and working styles [1]. The rise of digital nomads has been credited in pop-
ular media to a desire to escape the “rat race” of modern life, a dream to live in such a
way that provides a withdrawal from “9-to-5 obligations.” [2] Those who adhere to this
style of life are “redefining…making a living” [3] by pursuing employment that allows
for global travel, flexibility in work hours, and a departure from the traditional office
environment. This romanticized image is one of “true freedom…[without] boundaries
or borders…work[ing] from anywhere in the world. [2] The broader trend is often
called the “digital nomads” movement, and arises from a combination of improved
global access to information and information infrastructures, more flexible work ar-
rangements, a preference for travel, as well as adventure and work flexibility among
the younger generation of knowledge workers [4]. As perpetual travelers, many digital
nomads have given up the idea of a permanent home and embark on extreme forms of
remote and location-independent work; they may work from a coffee shop in Bali, In-
donesia and the next month may be working from a co-working space in Berlin [5].
We argue that the digital nomads community is a fertile context for information re-
search since it features a changing dynamic between people, information, and ICTs.
Digital technologies play a critical role in the work practices of digital nomads, and
these practices are therefore a useful context for studying the interplay between af-
fordances of emerging technologies and organizational and location-independent work,
which partly define the future of work and organization [6].
Digital nomadicity has been a popular topic for magazine articles and blog posts in
both the world of management and amongst workers and avid travelers [5]. However,
despite this surge in popularity of digital nomads, there is little empirical and academic
research examining different aspects of this lifestyle such as the working arrangements
of digital nomads, changing ties with organizations, new balance between work, per-
sonal life and travel, and the role of digital technologies [1, 7]. In particular, while the
current characterizations of digital nomads invoke monikers such as remote workers,
freelancers, location-independent workers, and online entrepreneurs, digital nomadic
work tends to be different from these monikers1.
These concepts only embrace certain aspects of the digital nomads community, and
each falls short of providing a holistic perspective on the nuances of digital nomadic
work. These labels are ill-equipped to accommodate the dynamic work arrangement of
digital nomads. They are particularly less useful in adequately distinguishing digital
nomadicity, which, in its current form, is a very recent phenomenon [2, 4], from more
traditional forms of work that share some characteristics but are divergent along other
dimensions (e.g., teleworkers).
Specifically, a key aspect of digital nomads work is the mediating roles played by a
range of digital technologies and infrastructures. Although the current discussions on
the topic (happening primarily in business press, websites, or blogs) are driven by ex-
citement, they point to the digital nomad’s savvy use of technology to accomplish work.
As information researchers, we see this as an opportunity to explore the relationship
between emerging forms of work and digital mediation. As a result, this paper is an
attempt to address the gap in our understanding of digital nomads, common work prac-
tices, and the underlying role of digital technologies. In this paper, by building on anal-
ysis of digital nomads forums and interviews with twenty-two digital nomads, we seek
to address the following questions: 1) What are the basic elements that define digital
nomadic work? 2) How these elements are intertwined with the use of digital technol-
2 Methods
Empirical data was gathered from two sources: an in-depth exploration of popular
digital nomad forums and a series of 22 interviews with digital nomads. Forum posts
were gathered from the /r/digitalnomad section of, the Facebook group
"Digital Nomads Around the World," and from, a forum dedicated to
digital nomadism. All three forums were chosen for their large, active populations, and
their focus on digital nomad topics. Interview participants were contacted based on their
presence on the forums, through word of mouth, or because of other writings they had
published on the topic of digital nomadism. The forum collection and subsequent inter-
views occurred from January to May of 2017.
1 1 See the Wikipedia entry for more information:
While the broad forum collection provided empirical background for the community,
analysis for this investigation focused primarily on a forum thread on,
in which digital nomads introduced themselves to the forums (“Introduce yourself”).
Contributors gave their name, profession, and thoughts on digital nomadism, as well as
a number of other self-identifying descriptions. In total, the analysis of this thread cov-
ered the introductions of 460 digital nomads and provided the basis for the researcher's
initial characterizations of digital nomadic professional life. The posts collected from
this thread spanned from December of 2013 to early 2017.
These initial characterizations were further explored through the interview process,
which occurred concurrently with the forum analysis. Participants represented a variety
of professional backgrounds but shared a nomadic, digital work situation, and associ-
ated themselves with the digital nomad community. Interview questions were devel-
oped based on initial exploration of the forums and developed as the interviews pro-
ceeded. Interviews were approximately one hour in length, were conducted through
video conferencing software, and were transcribed verbatim.
3 Findings
Analysis of interview data and the digital nomads forum suggests that digital no-
mads’ work is best described by the confluence of four key elements: digital work, gig
work, nomadic work and global travel adventure. These interdependent characteristics
can be collectively used to define who digital nomads are, and what important dimen-
sions their work entail. In describing these elements, we also discuss how they are in-
separable from various forms of digital technologies.
3.1 Digital work
To maintain their lifestyle while constantly traveling the world, digital nomads en-
gage with works that create digital goods using digital tools, what research has recently
begun calling “digital work” [8]. Digital work is the essence of digital nomadic work
since it is entwined with location-independent work practices and enables digital no-
mads to accomplish work while visiting different cities and countries. By using digital
platforms to produce a digital product, digital nomads are able to travel light. Due to
the frequency with which digital nomads relocate and the exotic locations they choose
to explore, they also do not have access to machinery or the supplies to build a physical
product. Digital devices and applications are the primary means through which digital
nomads transform digital inputs to digital outputs, and this can be done virtually from
any place where power and internet connectivity are available. In the NomadList fo-
rums, many digital nomads considered themselves minimalists. Thus, many choose to
carry minimal or easily portable gear while traveling and completing work.
Transportable digital devices allow digital nomads to carry out an increasing variety
of careers while traveling. The majority of digital nomads observed on the forum fall
into the categories of programmers, developers, designers, or content creators. Out of
the digital nomads who are considered programmers and developers, many have careers
in software engineering and web development. However, digital nomads have also
found work through a spectrum of careers including blogging, graphic design, translat-
ing documents, digital marketing, creating podcasts and YouTube videos as well as
financial and business consulting. Over 15% of digital nomads from the NomadList
forum thread “Introduce yourself” discussed starting their own business using their
skills acquired from previous training or knowledge.
Digital nomads use many different technology platforms in order to conduct digital
work and produce their digital products. It is quite common for digital nomads to find
work on a third-party contracting website, work on a particular gig through an online
application, store information on the cloud or their device, and send the final product
to their contractor or employer digitally. The vast array of digital applications and pro-
grams used by digital nomads can be separated into two categories: 1) profession spe-
cific and 2) general tools. Profession specific tools support the work practices involved
in specific sub-categories of digital work. For example, programmers use GitHub to
write and share code whereas designers and creators often use Adobe Creative Cloud
to format website layouts. These programs are generally only used by people in their
same field of work. However, there are also certain technologies that are universal for
all digital nomads, such as messaging applications, which are used for communication
purposes. A popular messaging app amongst digital nomads in the forums is Slack,
which allows the user to communicate with many different people and teams in one
application. Digital nomads from all kinds of professions also described using commu-
nication applications like Skype to attend remote meetings with partners or clients.
Another essential component of digital work is that, regardless of the application,
digital workers depend heavily on internet connectivity in order to work on applications
and send their finished digital deliverables to their clients. Many digital nomads from
the online forums inquired about the best way to get internet access in different coun-
tries. Some digital nomads discussed using public WiFi whereas others would their
mobile data depending on several factors such as price, accessibility, and secure con-
nection. However, the digital nomad’s reliance on digital tools and services to conduct
work means that having an internet connection is necessary.
3.2 Gig work
Another critical aspect of digital nomads’ professional situation is reliance on gig
work. Gig work allows people to work short term as independent contractors with flex-
ible work arrangements on demand [9]. The combination of gig and digital work creates
the opportunity of working online freelance jobs that can be completed using digital
platforms and technologies remotely and untethered from specific locations. Participant
8 described how switching to gig work has rendered her work location-independent:
Changing the kind of work I do changed everything; I was very much tied to Los An-
geles; now that most of my work is online I can be anywhere in the world.
Digital nomads can find gigs that allow them to work anywhere in the world as long
as there is a demand for their particular set of skills and they can find a contractor.
Depending on the type of skills needed and the amount of time spent on the gig, income
levels vary between digital nomads. There is an increasing trend amongst firms that
outsource projects to gig workers since they may not need to pay for health insurance
or other firing benefits [10]. However, this often creates issues for digital nomads since
they do not have the accessibility to the resources a business generally provides its
employees, and may result in precarious work situations.
Since digital nomads (often as soloworkers) do not have access to the large and ex-
pensive resources of a firm, they must rely on an array of web services and freelance
marketplaces in order to conduct work. Unlike an employee working for an organiza-
tion, gig workers must search to find jobs in order to make a steady income. Many
digital nomads who have experience with gig work will market themselves to employ-
ers online using various online vehicles [11]. For example, participant 17 created ad-
vertisements that sent interested clients to a website in order to bring awareness of the
services their start-up offered. Participant 20 used LinkedIn and Medium to maintain
connections with other professionals in a similar field. Some digital nomads see such a
web presence as an effective way to promote their reliability to potential clients. Others
may choose websites such as Upwork and Remoteok to find location-independent gigs.
Not only are there many technologies available to help digital nomads find and com-
plete gigs, but also to help them perform a wide variety of tasks that are important for
any business. For example, since digital nomads use PayPal and Transferwise as a way
of receiving payment digitally. This allows them to bypass having a physical mailing
address and keep record of transactions. As another example, participant 18, discussed
his use of software called Groove, which helped manage his customer service. By using
these technologies, doing gig work and tasks associated with it becomes more feasible
for digital nomads and allows them to spend more time on the core project activities.
3.3 Nomadic work
Perhaps the most conspicuous aspect of the digital nomad lifestyle is its constant
movement, not only from country to country, but also from workspace to workspace.
This presents the digital nomad with not only the problem of mobility, of moving be-
tween spaces and finding locations, but also the more complicated problem of nomadic-
ity, which requires the mobilization of resources, and the navigation of local infrastruc-
tures [12]. A significant amount of research from the field of computer-supported co-
operative work (CSCW) and information systems has already labored to articulate the
concept of nomadicity, and a number of candidate definitions have emerged. This re-
search specifically describes the process of leveraging technology to accomplish work
across a variety of locations and local infrastructures [13]. Many participants from the
forums feel that nomadicity allows them to have experiences outside of a regular rou-
tine and gain freedom from the corporate world, but it also requires them to find or
assemble their workspace themselves rather than relying on the stable office environ-
ment provided by an organization. Digital nomads look for many of the resources de-
scribed by Pinatti de Carvalho, Ciolfi and Gray [13, p. 2]: “space, time, privacy, silence,
and other people.” From the NomadList thread, “Introduce yourself”, a nomadic couple
discussed their need to find a “comfortable working space in order to get any work
done.” Without this space, the couple feels their work productivity would be limited.
It is important to note that even though digital nomads share some important char-
acteristics of nomadic workers commonly studied in the previous research, their career
aspiration and motivation for constant mobility may differ from most nomadic workers
(who are also rising in numbers in the corporate world). What makes digital nomads
distinct is their length of travel and decision not to have a home base [7]. In addition,
while nomadic workers typically travel for their work, the digital nomad travels while
working. While the nomadic worker is often drawn to various locations and spaces by
their work, the digital nomad’s work must be flexible around whatever spaces they can
find in the locations they choose to travel. One member of NomadList named Zbynek
discusses how he quit his IT career in the banking industry to become a self-employed
android developer in order to live as a digital nomad. This change in career allows
Zbynek to work remotely, unlike a career in corporate IT support that may be location-
bound. Similarly, participant 12 discussed the transition from a career in legal services
to becoming a food and travel blogger. In a similar manner to Zbynek, participant 12
now enjoys the world travel, and as a blogger, she can do work anywhere in the world
as long as there is internet access and a properly working device (as opposed to her
previous career as a lawyer). It is quite common for many digital nomads to completely
change career paths in order to make an income while traveling. While this may require
acquiring more knowledge or a different set of skills, digital nomads make necessary
preparations before becoming location independent.
The use of portable technologies and personal cloud services facilitates nomadic
work of digital nomads across different places. Given the knowledge-heavy varieties
of digital nomad work, it is of utmost importance for such workers to maintain a large,
stored collection of information. By transferring their relevant information to cloud
storage, where it can be accessed anywhere with an internet connection, digital nomads
can maintain the necessary knowledge base without the struggle of packing, storing,
and carrying more things. Most interviewed digital nomads noted they accomplish work
across various devices, and portable devices provide them with the flexibility to work
from different spaces or while in transit. Additionally, digital nomads use cloud services
to share information or collaborate on a document with clients or peers. Through these
services, the digital nomad assemble a kind of movable office, which allows them to
reach their professional materials from anywhere.
Evident from interviews and discussion on online forums was the fact that one of the
largest challenges of constant nomadicity is loneliness, since most digital nomads are
unable to maintain long-term relationships and are confined to whatever spaces and
people they can find in their location. A user on reddit described the problem: “...there
are profound psychological factors in remote work. They can be obstacles to overcome
or job/mood killers if not. Also, I fear ‘cabin-fever’ may be added to the list as you sleep
and work in the same place. Not very stimulating.” A number of online communities
and social programs like Hacker Paradise have developed around the digital nomad
community in order to partially address this negative consequence of nomadism.
Through these online communities and interaction on online social platforms like Twit-
ter and, digital nomads sympathize and connect to others that are dealing
with the same difficulties, or find meetups and events near where they are traveling.
Founder of NomadList forum, Pieter Levels, is looked up to by many in the digital
nomad community for creating the digital platform that allows digital nomads to share
not only their travel advice but also to meet others in the digital nomad community.
3.4 Global Adventure Travel
For digital nomads, work and life blur together because of the choice to travel and
work nonstop simultaneously. Digital nomads are also different from many forms of
nomadic workers studied in the previous literature [e.g., 12, 13] because they are global
travelers with a passion for continuously visiting new places. Digital nomads choose to
travel to exotic locations around the globe, such as Chiang Mai, Ubud, and Phuket.
Since digital nomads choose their lifestyle, most of them opt for tropical areas or places
that are known to be ideal areas for hobbies like surfing, hiking, backpacking, or skiing.
From nomads forums, we observed some digital nomads embark seasonal travel styles
that more closely resemble the true traditional nomadism. For example, participant 19
spends winters in tropical regions, and returns to Northern Europe during summers.
There are a number of digital nomad meetups, such as the travel program Hacker Par-
adise and the Digital Nomad Conference, which are often marketed for the variety of
its destinations, allowing the digital nomad to “travel the world.” 2
Some digital nomads find traveling partners or arrange to room with other digital
nomads in order to reduce costs. Nomad-specific online communities provide essential
hubs for finding important information about places to visit and people to travel with.
Digital nomads use Facebook as a way to connect with people in order to find housing,
and connect with other digital nomads through NomadList and the slack channel #dig-
italnomad. On these forums, digital nomads make recommendations to each other, offer
advice, and rate different aspects of a travel destination, such as its internet connectiv-
ity, cost of living, and fun. For example, one commenter on NomadList discussed how
he would negotiate with Airbnb hosts to obtain lower rates for long-term housing.
Unlike tourists, digital nomads work continually while traveling and must therefore
constantly balance their travel and professional productivity. Conflation of perpetual
travel and work imposes non-trivial challenges; productivity for digital nomads is a
critical issue that many deal with on a daily basis because of their constant state of
‘workation.’ A commenter on Reddit described the problem of avoiding productivity
loss while travelling: “Keeping a schedule ensures that doesn't happen and also helps
with motivation. Here where it's warm and sunny, and the cool people you meet tell you
about all the awesome things they are going to do, it's a lot harder to motivate yourself
to work.” In many cases, enforcing the boundary between personal and professional life
involved digital nomads setting aside time to be available to their team members on
chat programs, and using productivity applications to keep track of work schedules.
Additionally, part of the digital nomad’s productivity problem is due to constantly
switching time zones or working in a different time zone than their client or employer.
A contributor to the NomadList forum described the obstacle of working with employ-
ers across time zones and how he dealt with it by changing his work schedule for dif-
ferent clients and by making himself available to collaborators through messaging apps.
Such messaging applications like Slack, as well as team management applications like
Asana or Trello, helped digital nomads maintain work schedules for themselves and for
their team members. Similarly, applications, which keep track and compare time zones
were a common subject of discussion on the forums. Digital nomads use these digital
applications to stay on top of their work hours and manage productivity.
While digital nomads travel to likely tourist destinations, they differ from tourists in
that they seek out resources, which allow them to accomplish nomadic work. In both
the forums and interviews, many digital nomads discussed frequenting co-working
spaces, which are specially designed for remote workers; these spaces offer a temporary
office and a more predictable work environment. Tourists are much less likely to lev-
erage such work-related resources while visiting new places.
4 Discussion
Digital nomadicity can be seen as a hybrid of four concepts described above and is
complicated by the compound problems of mobility and professional flexibility (See
Figure 1). Digital nomads share commonalities with other non-traditional work settings
such as remote or nomadic work. However, as an emerging community of digital work-
ers, digital nomads exhibit characteristics that make them distinct from these categories
and descriptors. Although digital nomads inherit characteristics from all the four labels,
people categorized under one label are not necessarily digital nomads.
Fig. 1. Digital nomads at the confluence of four concepts
There are groups and professions that fit each label but are not necessarily considered
digital nomads such as: (a) stationary corporate IT support (digital workers), (b) Ama-
zon Turkers (gig workers), (c) tourists (global travelers), and (d) itinerant salespeople
(nomadic workers). Borrowing the essential aspects of these different labels, we can
gain some insight into the dynamics of digital nomadicity, and into the enabling roles
of technology in their work life.
The work practices and work life of digital nomads signal the declining roles of or-
ganizations and the fixed notion of workplace. This trend also highlights the agentic
power of individual digital workers who increasingly act as “free agents” [6] and enjoy
the benefit of choosing where and when to accomplish work. This sociotechnical
change can be associated with changing norms of work (e.g., looser ties to organizations
among new generations of workers and desire for benefits like “flexworking”) and the
proliferation of ubiquitous personal technologies and services.
Research findings also make it clear that in order to arrive at a holistic perspective
on digital nomads and their digitally mediated work practices, there is a need for a more
nuanced understanding of the core elements of their work such as gig work and digital
work. Current conceptions of digital work as a distinct subcategory of knowledge work
are in their infancy [8]. As evident in the context of digital nomads, the nature of digital
work lends itself to virtualization, liberating workers from specific workspaces and
therefore enabling location-independent work. Research on gig work is also in its de-
veloping stages and lacks conceptual clarity about online freelancing, which constitutes
the type of gig work digital nomads engage with, is little taken up in the current bulk
of information research. A vast majority of current research has directed attention to
microtasking via platforms such as Amazon Mechanical Turk or more idealized forms
of gig work such as those taking place around ridesharing applications.
Because of its focus on the digital nomad’s work situation and the imperative roles
played by digital technologies, this research has a number of contributions to the ongo-
ing discourse on digitally mediated work and future of work. Specifically, in answer to
our second research question concerning the role of digital technologies, we can see
that various digital technologies play an essential supporting role regarding all the four
categories. These technologies therefore mediate all aspects of the digital nomad’s pro-
fessional life: from marketing and acquiring clients to conducting work and communi-
cating with clients. For example, cloud services provide access to information from
different places, algorithms on websites such as Upwork matches them with potential
clients, and as their work and personal life blends together, their devices can assist in
both completing work and being productive. The entanglement of digital technologies
in how digital nomads achieve work epitomize what Orlikowski and Scott recently
noted about digital workers: “specific materializations of work today include digital
platforms operated by complex algorithms and continual streams of data[14, p. 5].
These technologies provide a mobile and flexible work environment, but they also
require a significant amount of expertise from the worker. Digital nomads typically
demonstrate a substantial level of literacy for information applications and tools, and
confidence in choosing configuring or even developing them to solve their particular
problems. These understandings are not solely personal but developed and passed along
via community channels for information sharing (e.g., nomads forums)
5 Conclusion
The ubiquity of personal digital technologies and pervasive information infrastruc-
tures across the globe together with changing norms of work has resulted in a surge in
popularity of digital nomadicity. Beyond the hyperbole, it is now critical to study char-
acteristics of this community of digital workers as it exemplifies problems of nomadic-
ity and flexibility of work, which may pervade the future of work. As such, the digital
nomad community provides a window into changing dynamics of digitally mediated
work practices and therefore presents a valuable context for the study of digital tech-
nologies and information resources in the work practices of the new generation of work-
ers. We argue information researchers are well posited to study these new dynamics
given their focus on technology, information and work.
This paper should be seen as an exploratory engagement with the digital nomad
community, and a number of factors could improve future investigations of the topic.
Our research was limited by the lack of breadth of information on digital nomads, and
a more formalized survey of the digital nomad community could provide valuable in-
sights on the people and professions represented there. Additionally, more developed
conceptualizations of underlying concepts such as gig work and digital work would
provide a better analysis of the practices involved in digital nomadicity.
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Supplementary resource (1)

... The word 'digital' refers to that which is related to electronic technology, while the word 'nomad' refers to people who move from one place to another or rather do not stay in one place (Mouratidis, 2018). A digital nomad is a person who chooses a vocation that allows for international travel, regular breaks from the conventional office environment, and flexibility in working hours (Nash et al., 2018;Boavida & Moniz, 2019). Schlagwein (2018) defines digital nomads as a group of professionals who live a traveling lifestyle and do their work digitally over the internet at the same time. ...
... Although digital nomads need more than just room, source of network, portable devices, they also require sociability with other coworkers and the ability to find a balance between time spent doing things for enjoyment and time spent working (Orel, 2019). They spend a substantial amount of time searching for and researching workplaces appropriate for their working modes, and they can pay a premium to access these locations (Nash et al., 2018). ...
... As a result, it seems that not all digital nomads have the financial wherewithal to spend the whole length of their voyage in high-end hotels. Consequently, some nomads prefer to stay in lower-cost accommodations or find a traveling companion to share expenditures to save money (Nash et al., 2018). Various nomads have a solid connection to social media platforms (Willment, 2020). ...
... In the Personal dimension, the topics of interest are linked to the intimate motivational issues behind personal choices and decisions in all aspects of personal and professional life. In this regard, we grouped commonly used themes and concepts related to personal life aspects such as self-actualization [28], autonomy [11,19], independence [18], and personal traveler behavior (backpackers, flashpackers, wanderjahre) [9,10] into the category of "lifestyle" [5]. In the professional context, we highlight personal knowledge management and its practices [19] due to its intimate nature. ...
... In the Social dimension, topics related to professional and business relations developed in the marketplace segment niche [16,19] are addressed taking into account the underlying characteristics of communities [19], cultural and traveler tribes [6,9,10], production and commercialization of digital content [24], and socioeconomic aspects [17,18,23,24]. ...
Conference Paper
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In this paper, we report on new findings about the results of an empirical study which aims to investigate how the COVID-19 pandemic has been shaping nomadic work practices and also challenging the lifestyles of digital nomads (DN). To do this, we collected textual data from posts in a Reddit community. We argue that, in order to understand how to design technical solutions for the so-called ‘new normal’ working conditions, one way to approach this is to understand how digital nomads are being impacted in their work practices and routines, and also how they are seeing the future of their technology-mediated work-life space. Finally, we show how evidence collected from DNs about their experiences and difficulties perceived during the pandemic period can inform CSCW researchers worldwide about future design-oriented strands.
... The emergence of digital social media facilitates the formation of neo-tribes in online communities that may also keep relationships at-a-distance (Ziakas and Costa, 2015;Lundberg and Ziakas, 2018). Research has also explored the dynamic and changing relationships between emerging digital platforms and digital natives (Nash et al., 2018). For example, digital nomads are a population of individuals where the boundaries between work and leisure are blurred and the advancement of social media provides these individuals with the freedom to easily and frequently relocate (Reichenberger, 2018). ...
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This paper focuses on the social features of participation in outdoor sports that play a significant role in the lived experience of participants, and in their interactions with the environment. These embodied interactions can bridge nature and culture, and inform interventions for more sustainable ecosystems. Conceptual methods were used to explain the sport-nature-culture nexus and postulate an interdisciplinary framework of social sport ecology, incorporating management, nature sports, neo-tribalism, and non-representation theoretical perspectives. The proposed framework suggests that multi-sensory stimuli, embodied sport practices and neo-tribal cultural values shape the “sports ecosphere,” which needs to be attuned with the affective/cognitive dimensions of experience in ways that build caring cultures for the environment. The significance of this work lies in its comprehensive perspective to the environmental management of outdoor sports by demonstrating the critical role of politics, culture, experience and movement in contemporary sport. It suggests a holistic approach of social sport ecology to better understand and reimagine the environmental practices and character of outdoor sports.
... Some migrant entrepreneurs become digital nomads, who do not have to reside where their enterprise is located. In comparison with 'regular' digital nomads who tend to combine online work and foreign travel for pleasure (Nash et al., 2018;Reichenberger, 2017), the pandemic digital nomads are different. ...
The Covid‐19 pandemic has brought about new patterns in labour market activities, including greater frequency, intensity and sectoral diversification of technology‐mediated online work (super‐digitalization). The development of online professional activities, accelerated by the pandemic, has a profound influence on migrant entrepreneurship in many dimensions. While the phenomenon also concerns the native population and is not limited to foreigners, in the case of migrant entrepreneurs it has additional unique meanings and consequences, resulting from a greater significance of mobility for migrants and its restriction during the pandemic. The analysis discusses new phenomena, such as the emergence of pandemic digital nomads and the development of migrant business ventures characterized by a de‐ethnicized approach to customers. The theoretical framework for this analysis is the concept of super‐digitalization of professional activities as a privilege. Digitalization is not available to everyone, but it affects everyone; it also has consequences for offline migrant entrepreneurs by creating and enhancing new mechanisms of exclusion. The article emphasizes the difference between super‐digitalization and digitalization, which result in different outcomes for migrant entrepreneurs. The analysis is based on in‐depth interviews with 53 Polish migrant entrepreneurs in the United Kingdom.
Conference Paper
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As social media continues to integrate into people's everyday lives, it provides a space for people to present their work and connect with others. This study seeks to understand how, a site created in 2009 for visual designers to showcase their work, plays a role in the transformation of the visual design industry and design education. We use sociotechnical transitions theory to interpret 30 semi-structured interviews with active Dribbble users. We find that the niche site Dribbble, along with the constellation of sites around it, are changing design regimes (the ways work gets done). Our Dribbble users report that the site changes how they develop and maintain their skills, find inspiration to solve design problems, keep up with trends, network with peers, produce and promote their portfolios and find jobs. However, the site also presents some challenges. For example, our interviewees indicate that they no longer receive constructive feedback on the platform. These emerging regimes are competing with, and coexisting with, existing design regimes. Our work contributes to social media studies by looking at under-studied niche sites, like Dribbble, and how sites in the design space may be impacting the wider society.
Digital nomadism is a relatively recent tourism segment associated with the generalization of information and communication technologies (ICTs), having increased notoriety and relevance with the COVID-19 pandemic. This public is characterized by professionals who exclusively work online, while having an independent lifestyle, balancing work and leisure. This research aims to understand if the Trás-os-Montes Lands (a small region in the northeast of Portugal) hold the necessary conditions to position itself as an attractive destination for digital nomads. To this end, a macro analysis of the characteristics of this territory and the tourist accommodation in the region was carried out. In view of the results obtained it was found that although Trás-os-Montes Lands have touristic potential ability to meet the particular needs of the digital nomads segment, it is necessary an action plan to enhance the attractiveness of the destination for this audience.KeywordsTourismDigital nomadismTouristic destinationTrás-os-Montes landsCase study
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Ao considerar que o nomadismo digital é um novo estilo de vida, infere-se a importância de desenvolver o conhecimento científico desse novo tipo de turista. Para tal, este ensaio teórico tem como objetivo propor um framework teórico, que envolve a intenção de viver como nômade digital e as características da personalidade de um indivíduo. Sendo assim, uma revisão bibliográfica do desenvolvimento do turismo, dos nômades digitais e do Modelo Metateórico de Motivação (3M) foi realizada. Dessa forma, é proposto um modelo hipotético para pesquisas futuras.
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Botswana is concerned about the continuously escalating failure rate of children in basic education [grades 1–12], despite the introduction of technology in some schools. The efforts made have no significant change in the performance of children in schools. Basarwa and Bakgalagadi children l¦ive in abject poverty and rely solely on government’s handouts such as food baskets. Inequality and extreme poverty are prevalent in both rural and urban areas. The Basarwa and Bakgalagadi in the Kgalagadi desert have no opportunities for employment or resources they can utilize to change their economic status. The Kgalagadi areas are rich in wildlife, but there is no economic gain from the available natural resources and most of their basic needs are provided for by the government. The culture of the Basarwa is unique in that they speak various indigenous languages and are a very closely-knit ethnic group. Some children leave boarding schools to return home to their parents because they miss their families, and this affects their performance. Most of the Basarwa and Bakgalagadi parents are illiterate and do not value education. Factors leading to poor performance have been established. This study utilized qualitative research methods in one Basarwa settlement area as a case study to establish why Basarwa children failed to complete their education.
The purpose of this study is to investigate the relationship between owner-manager control and nonfamily member employees’ affective commitment in small family business. It is frequently stated in the family business literature that family business is different from nonfamily business, and that these differences can significantly impact outcomes. Based on this assumption, this study examines the extent to which that is true in the case of managerial control and its relationship to employees’ affective commitment. The research design incorporated a quantitative correlational approach using survey data. The study uses a survey with a 177-sample population of the non-family employee who works at the small family business in the foodservice sector located across Victoria, Australia. The results show that there is a positive correlation between managerial capability controls, the relationship quality (LMX), and the affective commitment.
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This empirical study aims to identify the importance of Digital Technologies (DT) as an enabler in the Circular Economy (C.E.) based business model, especially during Covid-19. The concept of 'circular economy' has now been advocated as a methodology to stimulate economic growth in line with the environmental sustainability. Hence, the practices of recycling, reduction, reuse/re-manufacture, and repairing (4R's) are deemed to be the core of a circular economy. Recently, the advent of the pandemic Covid-19 has forced the nations of the world to resort to alternate resource use in their manufacturing and trading of goods and services as the supply chains have almost remained disrupted since Covid-19 appeared. We investigate the impacts of Covid-19 upon the use of technological innovation (T.I.), circular economy practices (CEP), and organizational performance (ORP) incorporating the Structural Equation Modeling (SEM). Our results show that Covid-19 significantly impacted the adoption of technological innovation, circular economy, which leads toward organizational performance. Moreover, the practices and operations under the circular economy framework also appear to influence organizational performance significantly. Our study findings bring forward meaningful insights into improving CEF-cum-technology based practices in developing and emerging markets in Asia, and convey significant implications for the business community, policymakers, and researchers.
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Ongoing discussions of the gig economy have focused on the critical aspect of digital mediation, and in particular the role of applications and platforms such as Uber or TaskRabbit. We extend this discussion by considering more decentralized contexts of gig economy, in which individuals do not rely on a single dominant, central intermediary, but rather exercise a higher degree of agency in arranging and aligning multiple digital platforms to support relevant work practices. We employ the concept of information infrastructure to describe the emergent configuration of heterogeneous digital platforms leveraged by digital nomads as a community of location-independent, remote workers. Using both forum analysis and in-depth interviews, we examine how the digital nomad community dynamically brings together and negotiates digital mediation in the form of an information infrastructure.
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Recent work suggests that technological devices and their use cannot be understood in isolation, and must be viewed as part of an artifact ecology. With the proliferation of information and communication technologies (ICTs), studying artifact ecologies is essential in order to design new technologies with effective affordances. This paper extends the discourse on artifact ecologies by examining how such ecologies are constructed in the context of mobile knowledge work, as sociotechnical arrangements that consist of technological, contextual, and interpretive layers. Findings highlight the diversity of ICTs that are adopted to support mobile work practices, and effects of individual preferences and contextual factors (norms of collaboration, spatial mobility, and organizational constraints).
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Crowd Work is a phenomenon of the digital economy as well as of the modern IT era. It provides a great potential for changing the way in which businesses create value. For instance, the gold producer Goldcorp1 made its geographical databases available to the public and offered a prize to anyone who could tell them where to find gold. The results of this open call enabled Goldcorp to increase its gold production from 53,000 to 504,000 oz a year, while it cut production costs from $360 to $59 per ounce. As a consequence, the value of Goldcorp increased from $100 million to $9 billion. This example illustrates Crowd Work as a form of gainful employment that creates digital goods and services by using human, informational, and physical resources or makes extant use of digital tools (Alter 2013). In general, work is a purposeful and conscious activity. By contrast, gainful employment denotes the part of work individuals expend to ensure the means of subsistence and income generation.
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This paper’s goal is to propose a set of perspectives on how mobile phones and computers might affect travel: by tapping into basic needs of travellers; by affecting some preconditions for its spatial configuration; and by altering its costs and benefits. In the age of “digital nomadism,” mobile technology is likely to play an important role for the new mobility and work-life arrangements put into practice by a multitude of creative knowledge professionals. What emerges from our multi-perspective exploration is the realisation that mobile technology might offer people numerous new reasons to be mobile: by making them more informed; more capable of using a larger variety of physical spaces and re-negotiating obligations in real-time; and potentially more efficient in the allocation of their travel time and resources. On the other hand, it also appears that mobile technology can impose new burdens on travellers and make travel less appealing in some ways. Additional research is called for to improve our understanding of the circumstances under which each of these opposing outcomes occurs. The findings from such research could be used to better calibrate traffic simulation models, as well as to weigh the implications of emerging forms of travel behaviour for the environment.
We have been invited to discuss “digital work” and to propose a research agenda for the next decade or so. We value the opportunity to share some thoughts on this important area. In doing so, we will begin with a reconceptualization off the phenomenon that is at stake here, offer some specific examples, and then close by considering some possible future research directions that we hope will be both useful and generative.
Exploring the new professional scenes in digital and freelance knowledge, this innovative book provides an account of the subjects and cultures that pertain to knowledge work in the aftermath of the creative class frenzy. Including a broad spectrum of empirical projects, The Reputation Economy documents the rise of freelancing and digital professions and argues about the central role held by reputation within this context, offering a comprehensive interpretation of the digital transformation of knowledge work. The book shows how digital technologies are not simply intermediating productive and organizational processes, allowing new ways for supply and demand to meet, but actually enable the diffusion of cultural conceptions of work and value that promise to become the new standard of the industry.
Conference Paper
Recent CSCW research has shown that nomadicity can be seen as a dynamic process that emerges as people engage with practices supporting them in the mobilisation of their workplace to accomplish work in and across different locations. This paper elaborates on the emergent aspects of the process by detailing a spectrum of motivational and contextual forces that surround and shape nomadic practices. The paper contributes to existing CSCW literature on nomadicity and extends it by articulating the complex intersections of motive and context that shape nomadic practices. The findings that the paper presents emerged from an ethnographic study of a group of academics and their nomadic work/life practices.
Paper available at: The so-called “gig-economy” has been growing exponentially in numbers and importance in recent years but its impact on labour rights has been largely overseen. Work in the “gig-economy” includes “crowd work”, and “work-on-demand via apps”, under which the demand and supply of working activities is matched online or via mobile apps. Whilst these forms of employment present significant differences among themselves, they also share striking similarities. They can provide a good match of job opportunities, allow flexible working schedules and potentially contribute to redefining the boundaries of the firm. However, they can also pave the way to a severe commodification of labour. This paper discusses the implications of this commodification and advocates the recognition of activities in the gig-economy as work, as the risk of labour being hidden under catchphrases such as “gigs”, “tasks”, “rides” etc. is currently extremely high. It shows how the gig-economy is not a separate silo of the economy and how it is part of broader phenomena such as casualization and informalisation of work and the spread of non-standard forms of employment. It then analyses the risks associated to these activities with regard to Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, as they are defined by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), and addresses the issue of misclassification of the employment status of workers in the gig-economy, based on existing service agreements, business practices and litigation in this sector. Current relevant trends are thus examined, such as the emergence of forms of self-organisation of workers. Finally some policy proposals are critically analysed, such as the possibility of creating an intermediate category between “employee” and “independent contractor” to classify workers in the gig-economy, and other tentative proposals are put forward such as advocacy for the full acknowledgment of activities in this sector as work, extension of fundamental labour rights to all workers irrespective of employment status, and recognition of the role of social partners in this respect, whilst avoiding temptations of hastened deregulation. This paper is to be presented at the seminar on Crowd-Sourcing, the Gig Economy, and the Law, hold at the Wharton School – University of Pennsylvania, on 7 November 2015. Contributions presented at the seminar will be published, after review, in a special issue of the Comparative Labor Law & Policy Journal, in 2016.