Are you an independent worker with no fixed work address? If so, you could be one of the new breed of wireless workers in the USA and around the globe today. This phenomenon was first noted by Yasmine Abbas, a researcher, back in 2005. She called a neo-nomad a “digitally geared person who was on the move”.
In 2007, a reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle. Dan Fost wrote in an article that there was a new generation of IT workers who only needed a laptop, a wireless connection, and a location to have an office.
Dan covered news in the Bay Area, just north of Silicon Valley, one of the top spots in the US for technological discoveries. Dan focussed on website developers, programmers, and entrepreneurs who did website startups. While there are also freelancers, he liked to keep them apart, because the latest generation utilized web-based tools in their working lives.
Here it is nearly ten years later, and you can find more of these neo-nomads working at cafes, and even at special co-working offices where you can rent a desk for a day, or a year, in exchange for a modest fee.
Increasingly, you’ll see workers at a local cafe who are working on their projects. And it may not just be IT workers, it could be artists, writers, or other types of entrepreneurs found here too. You can’t discount these types of workers, as often they too are utilizing web-based tools in their work. Neo-nomads can be a broader range of workers than just those employed by the high-tech startups.
This way of working can often refer to an attitude in life, and a way of organizing your daily life, rather than one specific technology.
Today, there are millions of people across the globe who work wherever they find themselves. They can work from home, then head to the local cafe, library, or college to gain some private time away from family to finish their projects.
This type of working is certainly akin to a nomadic lifestyle—a person who isn’t tied down to one location. Thus, a person can simply put their laptop on a table anywhere and declare it an office.
A neo-nomad differs from the laptop warrior. The laptop warrior is actually a corporate executive who must bring their computer with them to hotels around the globe. They must work from hotel rooms to tight deadlines.
The nomad has many options of where to work in their city. They have many choices. They can also choose how long they will work there, and what projects they will work on. They can choose to network with other nomads, or not.
Many nomads are also clever. They may stop at a local shop to simply use their WiFi to access email or deliver work. Often most businesses are forgiving, particularly if you buy a product from them occasionally. Generally, the agreement to use WiFi access in a cafe is to purchase a coffee or a treat. But some nomads like to nurse their drink for hours on end, which isn’t really being a very good nomad. Even if you purchase some treats to go, it helps to keep your “office” in business.
There have been some questions as to whether certain types of people frequent McDonald’s, Starbucks, or the local coffee shop. Can it also be possible that cost may be a consideration?
Perhaps the next study could be done on how neo-nomads will comprise a greater portion of the workforce in 2017. This can be useful in developing working practices that can be more humane for workers, but still productive to businesses too.