- Regardless of satisfaction levels with their current work environments, a reliable Wi-Fi connection is what digital nomads miss the most.
- Digital nomads are generally looking for specific work areas, schedule flexibility and more social interaction.
- 82% of respondents are not satisfied with their current work setup or have neutral feelings about it.
- 69% of digital nomads surveyed are either looking for a coworking space right now or are considering looking for one in the future.
The newfound freedom that came with the surge in remote work and flexible work arrangements served as an accelerator for the rise of freelancers and digital nomads across the world. In fact, a 2022 study by MBO Partners State of Independence found that 16.9 million Americans identified as digital nomads — a number that has grown by a whopping 131% since the pre-pandemic levels of 2019.
That said, the life of a digital nomad truly is like a box of chocolates. Between chaotic schedules that sometimes must be adjusted to different time zones, the lack of professional equipment or even the need for socializing, these wanderlust-ridden workers never know what they’re going to get. Moreover, all of these factors are possible setbacks in the life of any professional who’s looking to combine work and travel simultaneously to enjoy the best of both worlds.
At the same time, while many U.S. cities have yet to rise to the pressing demand for more flexible workspaces from all types of remote workers, numbers show that 21% of digital nomads are currently using coworking spaces. With that in mind, we conducted a survey among 829 digital nomads (regardless of their current setup) to pinpoint exactly what this workforce demographic was currently missing in their day-to-day activities, as well as what they’d like to find in a coworking space. Below is what we uncovered about their preferences and their current shortcomings.
Reliable Wi-Fi, Designated Work Areas & Schedule Flexibility Most Desired Features by Digital Nomads
To determine the exact features, amenities, and gadgets that digital nomads were either missing or could benefit from, we broke down the results from all survey participants. Specifically, we analyzed their answers to three main questions regarding the:
- gear that would make their job easier
- extra amenities they would like to have
- things they’re missing the most from an office environment
This is what we found:
When asked if they’re currently missing any useful equipment that would help make their job easier, the highest percentage of responses — 51% — were attributed to a reliable Wi-Fi connection. Given that digital nomads are known to frequently switch up their work setup, it’s expected that the lack of a stable internet connection is the most significant challenge that they face. Similarly, printers or scanners were cited as useful gear by the second-largest share of respondents (38%), while 35% reported that additional monitors would help make their work easier. This type of equipment is not easy to pack and travel with, which can turn it into quite the challenge for these nomadic workers.
In terms of extra amenities that digital nomads could benefit from in their work environment, a specific work area was most popular, chosen by 41% of survey participants. This likely comes as no surprise given that many digital nomads are normally working from non-conventional spaces, like coffee shops or hotel lobbies that aren’t created with an office-use type in mind. Likewise, 34% of respondents picked a lounge or recreational area as a beneficial amenity, and a slightly lower percentage desired on-site parking facilities.
Schedule flexibility was, by far, the most cited option that digital nomads look for in an office environment, at 48%. The discrepancy between the regular open hours of traditional offices and the newfound schedule flexibility that came with remote work was highlighted by this metric, as many digital nomads are likely struggling to find a work area that accommodates their flexible schedule. Following close behind were the clear boundaries between work and personal life (once more, a sign that working from home tends to blur the lines between the two), while the third-most popular option in this category was the need for social interaction.
Only 18% of Digital Nomads Fully Satisfied with Their Current Work Setup
When asked about their satisfaction levels with their current work setup, the vast majority (56%) of digital nomads surveyed were neutral, signaling that their ever-changing environment could use some improvement or benefit from extra gear and amenities. Only a small fraction said that they were happy with their setup, while the second-largest share of respondents (26%) revealed that they were unsatisfied with their work environment.
In fact, 38% of respondents said that they were currently on the lookout for a coworking space to better cater to their work needs. Additionally, 31% of respondents stated that they were open to the idea of a flexible workspace in the near future. Clearly, both of these categories of respondents are likely to turn to coworking in different locations according to their travel schedules and needs. As such, they expect these spaces to provide more features and amenities than what they currently have in their arsenal. Conversely, just one-third said that coworking was not for them and, therefore, they were not considering making the switch.
Interestingly, the largest portion of respondents who were either neutral about their current work setup or completely unsatisfied with it were the ones who were looking at coworking spaces as a viable solution to their everyday challenges. Furthermore, the urgency with which they were considering coworking was dependent upon their satisfaction level. Essentially, digital nomads who are unsatisfied with their setup are already looking for a coworking space to meet their needs, while the ones who have neutral feelings about their workspace are open to using a flexible type of office sometime in the future. Of course, most digital nomads who reported being satisfied with their current work environment stated that coworking was not on their radar.
Despite generally leading a lifestyle that’s coveted by many, it’s clear that many digital nomads are facing challenges in their everyday work life. In particular, the lack of a professional environment, technological equipment, and even the absence of social interaction are some of the most important reasons why a large number of digital nomads are considering coworking spaces. It remains to be seen whether coworking operators will rise to the demand coming from these nomadic workers, as well as how that will influence the entirety of the coworking segment.
Check out the locations below to find an ideal coworking space near your area:
- For this study, we conducted a nationwide survey of 829 respondents on the following platforms: CoworkingCafe, CoworkingMag, CommercialCafe, CommercialSearch, PropertyShark and Clickworker.
- The survey was active between October 4, 2022, and January 4, 2023.
- The same topic and questions were addressed to all participants in the survey.
- The questions in the survey asked about the equipment that respondents were missing; the extra amenities they would like; and what they were looking for in an office environment. There were up to three answers per question.
- The survey has a confidence level of 95% and a margin of error of 3.5%.
- Respondents were aged between 18-65.
Fair use and redistribution
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