Conference PaperPDF Available

The History of Digital Nomadism


This research essay traces the history of digital nomadism, a form of highly mobile digital work that has emerged as an information technology (IT)-enabled global phenomenon with substantial implications for individuals, businesses and societies (Schlagwein 2017). While definite numbers are not available, my estimate, based on primary research, is that, as of 2018, there are several hundred thousand digital nomads. To gain an appreciation of the history of digital nomadism, we need to trace concurrent developments and interwoven historical trends in technology, business and travel.
The History of Digital Nomadism
Daniel Schlagwein, The University of Sydney,
This research essay traces the history of digital nomadism, a form of highly mobile digital
work that has emerged as an information technology (IT)-enabled global phenomenon with
substantial implications for individuals, businesses and societies (Schlagwein 2017). While
definite numbers are not available, my estimate, based on primary research, is that, as of
2018, there are several hundred thousand digital nomads. To gain an appreciation of the
history of digital nomadism, we need to trace concurrent developments and interwoven
historical trends in technology, business and travel.
Digital nomadism became recognised as a mainstream phenomenon in 2014–15 when
dedicated online communities emerged (e.g., Nomad List), coworking spaces opened and
conference series began. However, its first appearance was as a more individualistic
phenomenon in the 2000s. It was then that IT companies started accepting remote working
arrangements for software developers, an important book was published (Ferriss 2007) and
electronic freelancing marketplaces emerged (e.g., Elance). The term itself dates further
back to the 1990s (Makimoto and Manners 1997). Pioneering examples existed even before
then (Roberts 1984), with conceptual predictions made even earlier (e.g., by Marshall
McLuhan 1962, 1964). The broader roots of digital nomadism can be traced to the
backpacking movement and, in fact, to traditional nomadism. This is where we start our
historical examination.
Settlers, Migrants and Nomads
Nomads are to be distinguished from settlers and migrants. Settlers live and work in fixed
locations. Most people today are settlers. Migrants are people who have moved to new
locations permanently or for an extended period of time. They live and work in fixed
locations that are not their traditional ethnic home. For instance, modern “expat” workers
are migrants but not nomads.
Nomads are people who move often to different locations. Traditionally, they were
motivated by the need to obtain food, find pasture for livestock or otherwise make a living.
While a grey zone exists in defining nomads and migrants, nomads move more often or
move continuously as a lifestyle choice. An excellent history and overview of traditional
nomadism are provided in Nomads and the Outside World (Khazanov 1994).
Among traditional nomads, we can distinguish hunter-gatherers (moving in their search for
food), pastoral nomads (moving with their livestock, such as the Bedouin) and peripatetic
nomads (moving to sell their craft, such as the Sinti). Historically, most people were
“hunter-gatherers” who changed location based on the seasons and availability of food. The
mega-trend over the last 8000 years, since the invention of agriculture, has been the
replacement of nomads by settlers (with farming requiring people to stay near “a place to
live”). Furthermore, in more recent centuries, the invention of the nation state (creating
legal borders) and wide industrialisation (large machinery and factories requiring people to
stay near “a place to work”) increased the trend to move humanity from the lifestyle of
nomads to that of settlers, with this including forced settlements. In 1995, it was estimated
that 30–40 million people continued to live a nomadic lifestyle (New Internationalist 1995).
Digital nomadism uses IT to return people to a state where the place to live and the place
to work are not spatially restricted. Digital nomads can, and do, move freely around the
globe without home and work addresses, creating a form of neo-nomadism.
Early Visions of Digital Nomadism
The emergence of digital nomadism was predicted in various ways by different authors.
Some visions were quite different from digital nomadism as it has developed and now
currently stands but, nonetheless, these authors were notable for their foresight.
McLuhan, in The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man, pictured nomads
zipping around at great speed, using facilities on the road to the point where they could
almost dispense with their homes (McLuhan 1962). His “global village” is a metaphor for
the reduction of physical distances throughout the world due to the increased ability to
communicate and exchange ideas through the Internet (i.e., McLuhan predicted the Internet,
although, of course, using different terms). In his vision, the increased speed and ease of
communication were supposed to bring together all social functions thus creating the
impression of reduced physical distances (McLuhan 1964).
Toffler wrote in his book The Third Wave of the transition from an industrialised age (the
Second Wave) to an information age (the Third Wave). He described the information age
as being characterised by an economy and a society based on digital technologies and the
removal of spatial boundaries; he envisioned an “electric cottage” from which workers
could work remotely (Toffler 1980).
In a book actually called Digital Nomad, Makimoto and Manners (1997) predicted that the
development of technology would allow people to choose to become mobile across the
globe: “the 21st century will be the millennium which resurrects for humans a dilemma
which has been dormant for 10,000 years – humans will be able to ask themselves: ‘Am I
a Nomad or a Settler?’” (p. 3). The authors provided early examples of executives who
were using newly available IT to work from remote places. They pointed out not only the
possibility of digital nomadism but also foresaw some of its current issues (e.g., taxation).
We now turn to the actual roots and emergence of digital nomadism which we explore
decade by decade, focusing on the role of technology (e.g., new relevant IT), business (e.g.,
new relevant business models) and travel (e.g., travel and cultural trends).
The 1970s: From London to Nirvana
Technology: In 1971, the first pre-Internet computer networks were built at military and
academic institutions in the United States (US). The first email was sent over the Advanced
Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET). The first personal computer (PC), the
MITS Altair 8800, was also released in the 1970s (mainstream adoption followed in the
1980s with IBM PCs and subsequent clones).
Business: During the 1970s, more flexible work schedules became possible and the notion
of “work–life balance” emerged. Based on a pioneering study in 1973–74, the concept of
“telecommuting” was introduced, primarily in the book Telecommunications–
Transportation Tradeoff: Options for Tomorrow (Nilles 1976). Telecommuting was
thought of as an (IT-based) alternative to commuting to work in the context of city planning.
Travel: The Beatles spending time in Indian ashrams and working with local musicians in
the late-1960s and 1970s contributed much to the emergence of “The Hippie Trail”
(MacLean 2007). The Hippie Trail was an overland travel route from the United Kingdom
(UK) or Germany through Turkey and Iran to India or Nepal (and often on to South-East
Asia) on which many people travelled in the 1970s, sometimes in the iconic Volkswagen
Combies (minivans). Based on their Hippie Trail travels, Tony and Maureen Wheeler
published their first Lonely Planet travel guide Across Asia on the Cheap in 1973
(International Directory of Company Histories 2018). This guidebook provided an
invaluable and critical resource for individualistic travellers. A host of Lonely Planet travel
guides subsequently emerged, creating a new category of travel literature and breaking
ground for an independent form of travelling.
The 1980s: Technological Innovations
Technology: The 1980s saw the emergence of a range of technological innovations
necessary for digital nomadism. The Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol
(TCP/IP), critical for the emergence of the Internet, was developed in 1982 (and adopted
by ARPANET in 1983). Universities increasingly connected their networks during the
1980s, forming what eventually became the Internet. Toward the end of the 1980s, the first
internet service providers (ISPs) emerged, providing Internet access for anyone
(mainstream adoption followed in the 1990s). Moreover, the first satellite phone system,
Motosat, was introduced to the market in 1985, creating the category “mobile phone”. Also
in 1985, Toshiba produced the first consumer laptop, the Toshiba T1100.
Business: Work mobility and flexibility of working hours increased in the 1980s. Several
organisations tried telecommuting (Nilles 1988). A notable example was J. C. Penney that
began to use home-based call centre agents.
Travel: Beginning from 1982, Thailand, in particular, saw an influx of “backpackers”. This
not only led to but was fuelled by the establishment of the “backpacker mecca” in
Bangkok’s Khao San Road, where local Thais started running cheap “guesthouses” and
“homestays” to cater to this new type of independent traveller. Similar backpacker set-ups
were soon springing up across the world. Falling prices for accommodation, the emergence
of travel guides and the “word of mouth” concept led to backpacking becoming an
increasing travel phenomenon in the 1980s.
The 1990s: “Dawn of the E-Lance Economy”
Technology: Tim Berners-Lee developed the World Wide Web (WWW) part of the Internet
in 1990, with this made public by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN)
in 1993. Mosaic was the first WWW/Internet browser (1993), followed by Netscape’s
Navigator (1994) and eventually Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (1995). The “killer app” of
the Internet was then developed: “search” (with Google taking most of the market share
from 1998). Mobile (smart)phones and laptops became common; their prices decreased
while their power increased throughout the 1990s. Laptops were equipped with Wi-Fi,
enabling cable-free online working. The 1990s also showed the power of online
communities, with the emergence of peer-to-peer (e.g., Napster in 1999), open-source (e.g.,
Linux in 1991) and crowdsourcing (e.g., Wikipedia in 2001) models.
Business: The second half of the 1990s saw a wave of electronic business implementations
(e.g., Amazon in 1994, eBay in 1995). New models, such as Amazon Affiliates (from 1996),
allowed individuals to make money online with shops and referrals. Online financial
transactions became possible, with both conventional retail and investment banking (e.g.,
Citibank, Schwab) going online, as well as pure online solutions, such as PayPal, becoming
available. Inspired by a Harvard Business Review article called “Dawn of the E-Lance
Economy(Malone and Laubacher 1998), Elance was launched as an electronic freelancing
marketplace, allowing online workers to source clients.
Travel: The price of long-distance flights dropped substantially with the launch of discount
airlines (e.g., AirAsia in 1993). Early forms of digital nomadism emerged as a recognisable
phenomenon. For example, the New York Times used the term “technomads” to label an
emerging category of long-term travellers who used technology (such as early mobile
phones and Internet blogs) to stay in touch with friends (but not typically to work) (Siwolop
1999). These nomads were supported by books such as The Practical Nomad: How to
Travel around the World (Hasbrouck 1997).
The 2000s: Social Media and The Four-Hour Workweek
Technology: In the 2000s, Internet and mobile data speeds increased substantially while
costs decreased, leading to wider usage and new complementary technologies. The
emergence of digital nomadism was further fuelled by the increasing development of
“social technologies” (e.g., social media, such as Flickr, LinkedIn and Facebook). Voice
over Internet Protocol (VoIP) calls and video conferencing became increasingly feasible
(especially with the launch of Skype in 2003). Later in the decade, “cloud computing”
emerged to service the IT needs of nomads and other workers (especially with the launch
of Dropbox in 2007). Importantly for nomads, Google AdSense (2003) went online, thus
allowing travel bloggers to run ads from Google’s network of advertisers.
Business: Having a “home office” became increasingly accepted in various industries,
particularly for information and communications technology (ICT) workers such as
developers. In the early 2000s, the establishment of “internet cafés” served remote workers
(in addition to gamers). Later in the decade, early “coworking spacesappeared (e.g., at
Spiral Muse in San Francisco and the de facto coworking space, St Oberholz in Berlin, both
in 2005). Websites oriented to digital nomadism emerged, including
(albeit its focus on recreational vehicle [RV] travellers) and some early digital nomads
started creating businesses catering for “wannabe” digital nomads (e.g., Digital Nomad
Academy in 2008). Importantly for digital nomadism, in 2007, Timothy Ferriss published
The 4-Hour Work Week: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich (4HWW),
selling over one million copies. The 4HWW focused on how to travel continuously, run an
online business and “escape 9-5”: it is sometimes considered the starting point and “the
bible” of digital nomadism.
Travel: In the 2000s, mobility for both recreation and work became more prevalent.
Founded in 2000, TripAdvisor, over time, has reconfigured the travel/evaluation industry.
Furthermore, Couchsurfing (2003) and AirBnB (2008) started to support alternative
accommodation models. With Matt “DancingHarding (2005), the world saw the first
“digital nomad YouTube star (Harding was the first travel blogger to receive major
corporate sponsorship and has had millions of views on his “Where the Hell is Matt?” video
The 2010s: Cryptocurrencies, Conferences and Coworking Spaces
Technology: In 2010, Instagram emerged, emblematic of the trend to more visual
communication, and supporting the wide recognition of digital nomadism as an increasing
phenomenon (e.g., via cliché “laptop on beach” photos). Cryptocurrencies, based on the
Blockchain concept (although Bitcoin started in 2008, it was not widely known until the
2010s), allowed financial transactions that did not rely on fiat currencies and nation states.
As both users and creators, digital nomads were much engaged with this new technology.
Business: Throughout the 2010s, coworking spaces became increasingly important, with
their number approximately doubling every year: the number of remote workers (including
digital nomads) reached one million in 2017 (Foertsch 2017). Dedicated digital nomad
coworking spaces emerged, including Hubud (Ubud, Bali), Ko Hub (Ko Lanta, Thailand)
and Hubba (Bangkok, Thailand). These “destination coworking spaces” provided a
physical manifestation point for digital nomads. In parallel, online communities for digital
nomads emerged such as Nomad List, Hashtag Nomads and Dynamite
Circle/TropicalMBA. Digital nomad conferences began to be organised, including DNX
(from 2014) and CUAsia (from 2015). Coworking, online communities and conferences
shaped, and were shaped by, the emerging notion of a shared “digital nomadism” identity.
Travel: Many digital nomads are “flashpackers”, a post-backpacker category characterised
by travellers with higher budgets who heavily use technology, while, at the same time,
seeking similar destinations and lifestyles to those sought by “budget” backpackers (Paris
2011). In addition to various “how to live as a digital nomad” books, two documentary
films on digital nomadism were produced in the 2010s: “Almost Fearless” (2014) and
“One-Way Ticket” (2017). At the time of writing, new travel models for digital nomads are
emerging, ranging from “nomad cruises”, “remote years” to “coliving spaces”.
Digital nomadism is still an “early-stage” phenomenon; for example, only one person at
last year’s International Workshop on the Changing Nature of Work (CNOW) indicated they
had heard about digital nomadism. As with other social phenomena, it is therefore
important to gain an appreciation of the roots of digital nomadism, which extend much
further back in time than the 4HWW publication date. Despite its limitation to five pages, I
hope this paper provides a first “lay of the land” of the history of digital nomadism.
Ferriss, T. 2007. The Four-Hour Work Week: Escape the 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich.
Random House.
Foertsch, C. 2017. "Global Coworking Survey."
Hasbrouck, E. 1997. The Practical Nomad: How to Travel Around the World. Moon Publications.
International Directory of Company Histories. 2018. International Directory of Company Histories 2019.
Khazanov, A. M. 1994. Nomads and the Outside World [2e]. University of Wisconsin Press.
MacLean, R. 2007. Magic Bus: On the Hippie Trail from Istanbul to India. Penguin.
Makimoto, T., and Manners, D. 1997. Digital Nomad. Wiley.
Malone, T. W., and Laubacher, R. J. 1998. "The Dawn of the E-Lance Economy," Harvard Business Review
(76:5), pp. 144-152.
McLuhan, M. 1962. The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man. University of Toronto Press.
McLuhan, M. 1964. Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. MIT Press.
New Internationalist. 1995. "Nomads: At the Crossroads The Facts," in: New Internationalist.
Nilles, J. M. 1976. Te l ecom m u n i cat i o n s Transp ort ation Trad eoff: Options for Tomo rrow. John Wiley &
Nilles, J. M. 1988. "Traffic Reduction by Telecommuting: A Status Review and Selected Bibliography,"
Transp ortat ion Resea rch P art A: Gene ral (22:4), pp. 301-317.
Paris, C. M. 2011. "Flashpacker: An Emerging Sub-Culture?," Annals of Tourism Research (29:2), pp.
Roberts, S. K. 1984. "High-Te ch No mad: A Por ta ble Co mpu te r F ue ls a B icy cl e Od yssey Acr os s Amer ic a,"
in: Popular Computing.
Schlagwein, D. 2017. "‘Escaping the Rat Race’: Different Orders of Worth in Digital Nomadism," in:
International Workshop on the Changing Nature of Work (CNOW).
Siwolop, S. 1999. "A Home Page Away from Home," in: New York Times.
Tof fler, A. 19 80 . The Third Wav e. Bantam Books.
... The historical roots of digital nomadism, traced by Schlagwein [34], focused on the role of ICT, business models and travel (e.g, travel and cultural trends) since the seventies. In this context, we can cite the emergence of "The Hippie Trail", an overland travel route from the United Kingdom or Germany through Turkey and Iran to India or Nepal. ...
... The behavior of sharing experiences through personal narratives is so incorporated into the imagination of DNs that they appear on several occasions, as we explored in "Sharing Lifestyles Narratives and strategies to dealing with COVID". Even non-nomads ("digital nomads wannabes" [34]) formed by distinct groups of remote workers in the home office (employees, freelancers, etc.) present themselves through this type of narratives. ...
... Keeping your income tied to the job or service market of developed countries while enjoying all the perks by traveling in Southwest Asia (or other cheap regions for Europeans, Americans and Australian Canadians) is the essence of the geoarbitrage strategy found on almost every "how to be a digital nomad" Web artifact. For example, in the work "The 4-Hour Work Week' Ferriss" [32], cited by Schlagwein [34] as "the bible of digital nomadism", he explicitly relies on the concept of geoarbitrage to promise "Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich", which features a "market practice" theme within our conceptual model. ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
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.
... Nomadic movement has accompanied the human civilization since its genesis (Richards 2015). It originated as a necessity of survival (Schlagwein 2018) and as centuries went by its purpose shifted toward more recreational outcomes. The pursuit of traveling for pure exploration purposes during 1960s by youngsters of those times (Richards 2015) resurrected the concept of nomadism in a modern typology, which developed to its contemporary stage during the recent decades in the form of digital nomadism. ...
... Nomadic lifestyle is not a new trend, it has been present throughout the history of humanity, with human beings behaving as nomadic species. In early ages, people used to move in order to find food, transferring their livestock to pastoral places, or getting involved in trading (Schlagwein 2018). This constant movement was significantly slowed down by the development of what is today called agriculture. ...
In the last two decades, working environments have undergone significant waves of change in terms of flexibility of working conditions, thus challenging the traditional working contexts. Driven by increased employee demands, many companies offer nowadays the possibility of remote working to ensure higher employee job satisfaction, eventually leading to enhanced organizational performance. The nonnecessity of being physically present during the usual shifts combined with the desire of continuous traveling has led to the emergence of the phenomena of digital nomadism.
... Chiang Mai went through a transformation over time that has shaped the city into one of the world's largest digital nomad hubs. Chiang Mai's popularity with digital nomads was amplified in 2014 when NomadList gave recognition to Chiang Mai as one of the best working hubs for remote workers (Schlagwein 2018b). The main attractions of Chiang Mai for digital nomads are the low cost of living, and convenient working spaces (as of 2022, Chiang Mai has at least 25 coworking spaces frequented by nomads), a wide array of choices for accommodations, and friendly locals (Green 2020). ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Digital nomadism is a lifestyle that enables individuals to work while travelling by using digital information technologies (IT). Locations such as Chiang Mai, Thailand and Canggu, Bali/Indonesia, are popular destinations for digital nomads. Media articles and research studies indicate significant growth in digital nomadism. Governments worldwide are developing an interest in digital nomadism. Yet, the impacts of digital nomadism on local communities are not understood well. Here, using a case study of Chiang Mai, Thailand, we focus on answering the research question, "how does digital nomadism impact local communities?". Our preliminary findings reveal diverse economic, socio-cultural as well as digital-and built-environmental impacts. The research contributes to knowledge about digital nomadism in general and helps local communities and governments in their decision making.
... Nomads are people who move often to different locations, frequently as a lifestyle choice (Schlagwein 2018). Digital infrastructures and mobile devices have enabled new forms of flexible and remote working (Nelson, Jarrahi & Thomson 2017). ...
Full-text available
Kingdom of Nokia tells a fascinating story of corporatism in Finland. How did the mobile phone giant Nokia make the Finnish elite willing to serve the interests of the company? Nokia became a global player in mobile communications in the 1990s, and helped establish Anglo-Saxon capitalism in Finland. Through its success and strong lobbying, the company managed to capture the attention of Finnish politicians, civil servants, and journalists nationwide. With concrete detailed examples, Kingdom of Nokia illustrates how Nokia organised lavishing trips to journalists and paid direct campaign funding to politicians to establish its role at the core of Finnish decision-making. As a result, the company influenced important political decisions such as joining the European Union and adopting the euro, and further, Nokia even drafted its own law to serve its special interests. All this in a country considered one of the least corrupt in the world.
... Due to digital nomadism's relative novelty, research is emergent and still fragmented (Schlagwein 2018;Reichenberger 2018;Müller 2016;Nash et al. 2018;Thompson 2019;Germann Molz and Paris 2015). In this special issue, we aimed to expand current knowledge of the digital nomad phenomenon and the interdependencies of technology and mobility at the work-leisure-travel nexus. ...
... Digital nomadism is a practice in which digital workers give up on "settled" living and embark on nomadic world travel, and perform work from different locations around the world, taking advantage of digital infrastructures and coworking spaces (Schlagwein 2017). This phenomenon stands in the history of teleworking and conventional nomadic work (Schlagwein 2018) but can be considered an "ideal-typical" (in a Weberian sense) type of mobile working (Sørensen, 2011). This workstyle reflects personal preferences for continuous international mobility (Whitehead & Halsall, 2017). ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This research-in-progress examines the mobilities of digital work. We study digital nomadism as an exemplary case of extremely mobile forms of digital working. The recent "mobile turn" in the social sciences provides us with theoretical grounds to understand societies that are increasing defined by dynamic, global environments (e.g., freelance work, globalization and migration) and less by the conventional foundations of society (e.g., lifelong employment, local economies and nation states). In this work, we are particularly interested in how and in which ways information technology (IT) makes new forms of (digital) working "mobile", unbound by conventional restrictions. To theorize the mobilities of digital work, we draw on ethnographic participant-observations and more than 100 first-hand and secondary interviews with digital nomads. The preliminary theoretical analysis reveals four interdependent mobilities of digital work: administrative mobility (working independently of organizations and businesses of others), spatial mobility (choosing where to work), temporal mobility (deciding when to work) and content mobility (freedom to determine the nature and contents of one's work). Digital nomads are the ideal-typical manifestation of the multiple mobilities of digital work.
Conference Paper
The world is currently experiencing a rude awakening because of the COVID-19 pandemic and in a matter of months businesses averse to trust the benefits of remote working have been compelled to adapt. This advantage has enabled many Human Resource (HR) Professionals to revisit the dreaded topic of flexible working, as the new normal has shown that it is not where you work but the work you produce that matters. Ironically, the age-old question of work-life balance surfaces as individuals search for the purpose of life as the pandemic brings everyone to their knees and philosophically people question what exactly is this balance. For HR Professionals this question is not personal but a matter of their profession in providing companies with a wider lens to understand that in order to remain competitive they need to adapt to change. One of the ways is to develop an open mindset and flexibility to revise their policies on types of flexible working, which offers work-life balance and positively impacts their ability to retain and attract highly skilled talent. This article examines the concept of Digital Nomadism as one of the radical yet realistic ways to achieve work-life balance. Digital Nomadism puts a new spin on work arrangements and is a movement of highly mobile workers who dictate where they work, how they adapt to the demands of work to suit their lifestyle and find balance; with digital technologies. The concept has been around since 2014, the history of nomadism even longer but what is new, and why this subject adds value is the ingenuity of technology, how it makes this way of working a reality and the increasing numbers of digital nomads. The research suggests that approximately several hundred thousand of digital nomads exist throughout the world and numbers continues to rise due to globalization and the need for talent to be flexible with their lifestyles and work. Interestingly, while many companies are convinced of the technological disruptors and how it changes the face of work from a technical perspective, the flexibility of work patterns remains a hard sell in some cases. Consequently, recruiting for talent, employment contracts and the way work is organized, remains the same and lacks flexibility. This limits the opportunity to remain competitive, retain or attract top talent and drive innovation at all angles of the business. This paper will confirm whether the solution to work-life balance is the notion of digital nomadism, detailing how it works, its benefits and issues, with the intention to offer an option to forward thinking companies, reasons to adapt their flexible working policies.
Conference Paper
With the recent growth and popularity of the concept “Digital Nomads” (DN) in industry, practitioner’s outlets, and publications within the areas of information technology and tourism, this paper aims to address the question, “How academic research on Digital Nomads has developed within information systems discipline?”. To get a better understanding of the research question, the authors conducted a systematic review of the publications available in the Association for Information Systems e-Library to examine the current state of research on DN within the area of information systems (IS). By following guidelines established for conducting reviews of literature in IS, the authors identified 23 papers containing the keyword “Digital Nomads”. Further analysis of each paper revealed only 10 papers that directly addressed the topic of DN. This review paper has identified and presented various definitions of the concept of digital nomads / digital nomadism, a summary of objectives of identified articles, various characteristics of DN, the historical evolvement of the concept of DN, research methods/theories utilized in identified articles, and research gaps identified from relevant sample of articles. We conclude that further empirical research on this topic is needed since it has a significant impact on the future of digital work.
During the last two decades, the labour market of the advanced economies has changed, with the increased use of short-term contracts and higher flexibility in terms of working spaces and work organization. Due to ongoing processes of the globalization and the Industry 4.0 Revolution, distance, location, and time are often no longer considered necessary conditions to make business. In this context, we have witnessed the development and diffusion of coworking spaces (hereinafter CSs). This chapter aims to investigate and compare development, typology, and dynamics of spatial distribution of CSs in two alpha global cities, Prague and Milan, between 2015 and 2019. Using two original geo-referenced databases, the chapter firstly proposes two metrics for quantitative mapping of CSs within basic settlement units in Prague and local identity units in Milan. Local spatial autocorrelation is used to identify spatial clusters in given years, and local spatio-temporal analysis investigated by differential spatial autocorrelation is applied to identify whether changes in spatial patterns over time are spatially clustered. Based on these findings, the chapter highlights similarities and differences in spatial patterns, spatial diffusion, and evolution of CSs in the two cities. Secondly, the chapter provides a discussion on micro-location of CSs in relation to the internal urban spatial structure and its transformation (urban core commercialization, inner city urban regeneration, and gentrification) and thereby the transition to the polycentric city model.
Coworking is a concept with multiple layers. In this article, we argue it as an organizational arrangement constituted communicatively and nurtured by the activity of work. This chapter aims to contribute to the discussion of staff supportiveness in coworking. Our emphasis is its mediation role as a mechanism to promote interactivity among people cohabitating in this kind of flexible workplace. We reach this purpose based on a qualitative approach, sustained on field research, and driven by a multiple case study pursued in Porto Alegre (Brazil) and Strasbourg (France). The materiality of the investigation is interactional practices on work, expressed by discourses. This research promotes a dialogical reflection based on the different locations of study, getting beyond a comparative point of view. Amid the results, it is identified that the activity of the staff is overcharged with structural issues, and the challenge is related to staff’s role in the cultural translation of coworking values in the daily decision-making life.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The use of information technologies (IT) transforms “work”, with the corresponding discourse often using labels such as “the future of work” (Forman, King, & Lyytinen, 2014), “digital work” (Orlikowski & Scott, 2016) or “the changing nature of work” (this workshop). In this domain, a new and exciting phenomenon is emerging: “digital nomading”. This phenomenon is focal to the study outlined here. [...]
Tent resorts replaced the usual platform tents which offer more plush elements to outdoor living and vacationing than many modern homes. These retreats are partially tented with a striped canvas porch awning and canvas roofs over the sleeping and living areas. Permanent one-room wooden structures house the kitchen area. It even features a queen size bed, an antique dresser, hot water, modern composting toilets, and air conditioning. The Clayoquot Wilderness Resorts & Spa, nestled in British Columbia, Canada, has five-star accomodations in tents. The 11 white canvas guest tents rest on raised wooden platforms where five suite tents offer extra room with a larger lounge area and one has a small bunk bed tent for two extra guest. Visitors to the five-star Longitude 131° resort can learn early Australian history where each of the 15 tented guest rooms' decor draws inspiration from a famous Australian explorer whose story is told through a framed visual narrative on the walls. The white dome roofs and flowing fabric liner make visitors feel like they are in a tent. In April 2005, Longitude 131° won the Overall Accommodation and Unique Accommodation HM Awards for Hotel & Accomodation Excellence.
The purpose of this study is to examine the emerging flashpacker sub-culture in relation to the backpacker culture. Cultural Consensus Analysis is employed to examine the potential cultural divergence between flashpackers and non-flashpackers. A mixed-mode dual-frame sampling procedure was employed for data collection, as surveys were administered through Facebook backpacker-groups and in hostels in Cairns, Australia. The results indicate that flashpacker and non-flashpacker groups have a shared cultural understanding of backpacking. In addition to the conceptual clarity of the emerging flashpacker, this study also provides some interesting insights into contemporary backpacker culture and the continuing convergence of physical travel with information and communication technologies.
Telecommuting is defined as a subset of teleworking. Two main forms of telecommuting (home and regional center) are described. The means by which these forms of telecommuting may alter urban transportation patterns are outlined, followed by a review of the empirical evidence to date on the impacts and usefulness of telecommuting. Factors affecting the diffusion rate of telecommuting are discussed, including the commuting environment, technological sufficiency, technological familiarity, the social aspects of work, other telecommuter motivations, management issues, legal and regulatory barriers and incentives, and labor entitlement issues. A brief reference to other work in progress is followed by a set of forecasts of possible telecommuting futures.
Will the large industrial corporation dominate the twenty-first century as it did the twentieth? Maybe not. Drawing on their research at MIT's Initiative on Inventing the Organizations of the 21st Century, Thomas Malone and Robert Laubacher postulate a world in which business is not controlled through a stable chain of management in a large, permanent company. Rather, it is carried out autonomously by independent contractors connected through personal computers and electronic networks. These electronically connected free-lancers-e-lancers-would join together into fluid and temporary networks to produce and sell goods and services. When the job is done--after a day, a month, a year--the network would dissolve and its members would again become independent agents. Far from being a wild hypothesis, the e-lance economy is, in many ways, already upon us. We see it in the rise of outsourcing and telecommuting, in the increasing importance within corporations of ad-hoc project teams, and in the evolution of the Internet. Most of the necessary building blocks of this type of business organization--efficient networks, data interchange standards, groupware, electronic currency, venture capital micromarkets--are either in place or under development. What is lagging behind is our imagination. But, the authors contend, it is important to consider sooner rather than later the profound implications of how such an e-lance economy might work. They examine the opportunities, and the problems, that may arise and anticipate how the role of managers may change fundamentally--or possibly even disappear altogether.
The Four-Hour Work Week: Escape the 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich
  • T Ferriss
Ferriss, T. 2007. The Four-Hour Work Week: Escape the 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich. Random House.
Global Coworking Survey
  • C Foertsch
Foertsch, C. 2017. "Global Coworking Survey."