Digital nomads – the future of work

With a good internet connection and a laptop, it is possible to work from anywhere in the world. Digital nomads are people who work location independently with the help of digital tools. This year I’ve been running my own company for 7 years, starting out in Stockholm but later moving together with my husband to both Tokyo and London. I can continue to do my job online, no matter where I am. For a digital nomad, the whole world can be your office.

By 2035, there will be one billion digital nomads, according to digital nomad profile and founder of Nomad list, Pieter Levels.

According to a study from McKinsey, between 20 to 30 percent of the working population, or 162 million people, in USA and Europe are already part of the gig economy. Either as a full time job, or as a part timers.

We’ve seen an explosion of co-working spaces, growing from  around one thousand in 2011, to eleven thousand in 2016. People are not doing the normal commute to the office every day anymore. Already a few years back the question was stated; “Does The New York Subway Know The 9 To 5 Is Dead?“. An article addressing the difficulty for public transportation to plan their train schedules when people are no longer traveling at normal commute hours.

The trend with digital nomads will continue to grow. People who make use of the possibilities that digitization brings, and go explore the world. I sometimes joke and talk about the trend of older Swedes moving to Spain after they’ve retired to escape the cold Swedish winters. The truth is, you could be doing that way earlier. (Read my text for Internetworld: Gig economy: if you don’t own a flat, car or bed – why not head to warmer climates? [In Swedish])

And of course, you don’t have to be a freelancer or entrepreneur to become a digital nomad. There’s a growing amount of companies that allow their employees to work remotely and location-independently. There’s also a growing amount of apps and guides on how to make a remote team work well together. One service I came across at TechDay in London called Sneek let’s you see what your colleagues are up to all day by taking new webcam photos of everyone at an interval throughout the day.

Svenska Nomader

This year I am part of starting up a community for Swedish digital nomads – Svenska Nomader, together with two other Swedish nomads. The goal is to provide Swedes looking to work and travel with all the information (and inspiration) they need to get started and make a reality of it. We highlight different digital nomad profiles, ranging from all different ages and lines of profession, as well as provide guides on how to get started. Our podcast on nomad life airs once a month. Going forward, we will also collect information from all relevant authorities in regards to tax, company registration, citizinship, etc. in order to answers to local questions concerning the Swedish digital nomad community.


Emelie Fågelstedt

Independent communications strategist supporting organizations with their digital business and communications strategy since 2010. Founder of digital agency Fågelstedt Kommunikation and co-founder of Svenska Nomader, Sweden's largest platform for digital nomads. Public speaker on tech, social media, e-commerce and the future of work.

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