You’ll really need to stretch the definition of “mobile” when referring to some of the first cellphones. Cordless phones date as far back as the 1940s and 1950s — but they weighed in at a hefty 80 pounds, and could only make calls from cars. By the 1980s, you could buy a two-pound cellphone — but it’d run you a cool $3000.
Fast-forward to present day: There are far more mobile devices in the world than people, and it’s predicted there will be over 11.6 billion connected mobile devices by 2020. The wallet-gouging price tags of the 1980s have been replaced by smartphones running as low as a hundred bucks. And tablets? They’re so cheap they’re selling them in multi-packs.
As mobile technology becomes increasingly cost-effective, user-friendly, and prevalent, it continues to fundamentally change how we work. The traditional 9-5 office job may still be the status quo, but it’s given way to more flexible working, remote working, and of course, the rise of the digital nomad.
According to a recent Gallup poll,”43 percent of employed Americans said they spent at least some time working remotely.” While working in your pajamas, or — say, from a cafe abroad (a la Digital Nomad style) may seem as though it could suppress productivity, the opposite is true: A study conducted by a Stanford University professor and Ctrip, the largest travel agency in China, found that not only did home-based employees work more than their office counterparts, they were also more productive.
Greater flexibility and greater productivity — not too shabby, right? Yet remote working is not without its drawbacks: While there may be fewer distractions from colleagues, digital nomads are susceptible to anything and everything that passes by their workspace — be it a restaurant, cafe, or beach. They’ll spend fewer face-to-face time with coworkers, can say goodbye to happy hours, and may find more trouble getting into a routine. But for many, that’s not a bad thing at all. Rather, the lack of rigidity simply offers more flexibility.
So is flexible, remote, nomadic work a passing trend or the way of the future? It’s difficult to say for sure, but it’s looking like brick and mortar offices may someday be a thing of the past. Some even predict that digital nomads will exceed numbers of one billion by 2035.
In our next installment of our summer blog series, we’ll take a look into the emotional and psychological effects of remote work. To learn more about how DocuSign can help you potentially create your own nomadic lifestyle (or just simply get work done faster) click here.