For many small business owners, entrepreneurs and freelancers, working remotely is a way of life. Last year, FlexJobs released data that found that found 3.9 million U.S. employees, or 2.9% of the total U.S. workforce, worked from home at least half of the time.
And the trend is growing. According to FlexJobs, the number of people working remotely has grown 115% since 2005.
Thanks to mobile technology and wireless connectivity, many desk-based workers can now work from virtually anywhere — at home, on the train, in a coworking space, or from a variety of third place locations.
In fact, many remote workers are going several steps further. They’re choosing to blend the freedom and flexibility of remote working with their love of travel, which means digital nomads can work from wherever they can get a WiFi or reliable 4G connection. That could be a hotel lobby, by the pool, or even on the beach.
This lifestyle is inspiring not just thousands, but millions of people to ditch the traditional office and embrace the digital nomad lifestyle.
Wait, millions? Yes, yo u read that right. In the 2018 MBO Partners State of Independence Research Brief, 4.8 million Americans described themselves as digital nomads.
This rising trend is becoming possible not just thanks to mobile technology and wireless connectivity, but also due to the rise in co-living and coworking spaces, the growth of online talent marketplaces, and greater acceptance of this particular lifestyle.
What is a Digital Nomad?
MBO Partners describe digital nomads as “a population of independent workers who choose to embrace a location-independent, technology-enabled lifestyle that allows them to travel and work remotely, anywhere in the world.”
It’s about mixing your desire for freedom and adventure with the ability to make an income while you move.
But contrary to popular opinion, the digital nomad lifestyle isn’t just for freelance writers and travel bloggers. You can work, earn and even grow a business on the move. Any company that operates a remote team structure and who has a flexible approach towards their employees or contractors, can embrace the digital nomad lifestyle.
And with the digital nomad trend set to continue rising, particularly as new generations enter the workforce with the expectation of greater workplace flexibility, it certainly pays for companies to be more open-minded over their workplace policy.
Growing a Business On the Move
That said, digital nomadism is not without its challenges.
Any company or individual who blends work with travel still requires a centralized office for mail as well as legal and tax purposes. It also helps when working with new clients, as some people may be suspicious about doing business with a company that has no fixed location. Plus, you’ll still need a place to touchdown and work or meet clients between traveling.
For those reasons, it helps to have a central location to help keep your business ‘grounded’.
That doesn’t mean you need to pay for an expensive piece of real estate that sits empty most of the time. One solution is to use a virtual office, which helps entrepreneurs stay tethered even when they’re running their business thousands of miles away.
The digital nomad lifestyle fits perfectly with a virtual office. It provides all the regular services you will find in an office environment, minus the actual office — therefore workers are free to carry out their duties remotely, wherever they feel most productive, while benefiting from the centralized support system of a virtual office.
Here are some of the benefits of using a virtual office while working remotely:
Keep a Local Presence
If your main client base is in the U.S., it’s worth keeping a local presence. Not only does this project a more professional image, it also helps reassure new clients that you’re a trustworthy enterprise. After all, would you trust a business with no fixed abode?
More importantly, a virtual business address can form part of your business setup, which provides the foundations you need to register your business as an LLC. This is particularly important if you have plans to grow your business.
One of the most popular features of a virtual office is the mail receiving and forwarding function. As a commercial mailing address, your mail is received, sorted, and either stored for collection or forwarded to the location of your choice (often a home address). You can also use a registered agent to ensure that you receive important legal documents safely.
When you’re combining work with travel, you may be working in different time zones from that of your clients or suppliers. Rather than leaving important phone calls to voicemail, a live receptionist service ensures that all incoming calls are answered in your company name and handled according to your instructions.
Virtual receptionist services are a boon for business, as they not only save you from the constant distraction of a ringing phone, therefore saving you valuable time and improving your productivity, but they also provide excellent customer service and lead capture, which helps you to grow your business while you’re on the move.
What’s more, many live receptionist services also provide appointment scheduling support. This is a handy service that helps keep your diary full without the time-consuming process of going back-and-forth, trying to arrange a suitable meeting time.
A Place to Work
Whenever you’re in the locality of your virtual office, you can easily reserve office space or meeting rooms on-demand. This is ideal when you need a place to touch down or meet clients between travelling. You may be accustomed to working from coffee shops or bustling hotel lobbies while you’re travelling, but these locations certainly aren’t conducive to a productive meeting when you’re trying to discuss private business with a client or investor.
More people than ever before are embracing the digital nomad lifestyle. But professionalism reigns supreme, and your clients will continue to expect the same standard of service wherever in the world you choose to work. With that in mind, it pays to have the right support infrastructure in place to maintain service consistency while you travel, and to help keep your business ‘grounded’ and ready for future growth.