The world is changing, and so are we. We live in an age of disruption. New technologies are changing how we work and play, and they’re doing it quickly. From self-driving cars that will transport us to our jobs to artificial intelligence that will take over some tasks from humans altogether, technology is becoming more integrated into our daily lives—which has significant implications for all of us.
We’ve shifted from a physical to a digital world, and digital workers are reshaping our economy. The term “digital worker” is hard to define because it encompasses many professions: remote workers, freelancers, entrepreneurs, telecommuters, and digital nomads.
During 2022, we saw people reboot their lives, changing long-term careers, teachers becoming web designers, and travel agents becoming cleaners. People were reevaluating their priorities and leaving their employment due to the pressure to achieve the ideal work-life balance.
Organizations and Councils responded by offering flexible hours, shorter workweeks, higher compensation, and remote work capabilities. Workers could be located anywhere in the world, so long as they had a quiet place to work and reliable Wi-Fi.
These workers paved the way for many to enjoy the hybrid life – Work anywhere!
How do we define Digital Workers”, “Remote Workers”, “Digital Nomads.”
You get to choose where you live and work. Your office is wherever you want it to be. If you have a smartphone and a social media account, you have the potential to be considered #digitalworker.
The trend is expanding. Digital workers are everywhere: in the office and on the go; at home or in cafes; taking calls during their commute; uploading files while having coffee with friends—and that’s just scratching the surface of what a digital work environment looks like today.
They can be freelancers or contractors, but they’re also part of an entirely new workforce changing how we think about working.
They’re different from traditional employees in three major ways:
- They are independent contractors instead of full-time employees (think Uber drivers)
- Their daily tasks often involve multiple tasks at once—for example, handling customer service calls while writing blog posts or creating videos for social media channels—and these may change throughout each day based on what’s needed by customers at that time (not necessarily just in an hour-long window)
- Digital Workers, Remote Workers, Digital Nomads build their day and have location independence
Preparing for the swift change
While many organisations and councils had been planning for this transformation for some time, they were unprepared for the large number of remote employees who did not want to return to the regular workforce or who could not work remotely.
Some businesses and workers have struggled because they are ill-equipped to handle the new circumstances. Managers accustomed to in-person interactions find the shift challenging since they no longer have direct reports to whom they can turn for insight into team dynamics.
The landscaping changed swiftly
Things became noticeably different when people collocated and were not sharing a physical workspace. How everyone communicated for a quick catch up to provide work updates hinged on the reliability of the collaboration and communication tools. Organizations turned to training resources to help adapt to the new way of working.
Redefined new way
Digital workers are a new breed of workers requiring different training and induction than traditional employees. They need more flexibility when it comes time for them to move around from job-to-job or location-to-location – which can make managing talent more difficult than ever! They also bring in their own unique challenges when it comes time for them to move into leadership roles within an organization.
The typical workday could appear somewhat different from one week to the next or from one month to the next. It’s possible that one-week remote workers can be toiling away under the tropical sun, and the next, relaxing at an AirBNB with a view of the Daintree rainforest. It is a one of a kind since it does not require workers to be physically based in one particular place; rather, they can be stationed anywhere in the world and yet participate by providing their services through a digital platform.
Now, the challenge for councils and organizations in high-growth and sector-specific industries is to entice workers in a flexible economy to consider working back in the office, hoping to establish a long-term relationship and earn attractive wages.
It can be costly to hire digital workers with this type of freedom. Luring remote workers with exceptional talent across the globe that can address their business needs enjoying the benefits of the digital nomad lifestyle, with no commitment.
Either way, taking advantage of the flexible economy’s resources is more of a tactical than strategic move for organizations and the workforce.
What the pandemic has taught us is, time is of the essence. People are no longer forced to become more machine-like or fit into rigid roles defined by a process-driven production line. Now, organizations and the workforce have regained their humanity as creative, thinking, and compassionate agents.
And for those who continue to perceive remote work as temporary or unconventional — rather than a total revolution in how we operate and continuing the “old way of doing things” — run the risk of losing workers and no longer being competitive as the workplace evolves around them.
The pandemic was a huge wake-up call that taught us not only that work could be done from home, but also that employees needed more control over their own schedules, which was especially important for those with long commutes, expensive childcare arrangements, or who simply wanted to spend more time with their families.
With these carrots dangling, in the next few years, we will see more digital workers in the workplace and the number of digital workers to increase by millions globally.
The Future of Work
What we do know is – Remote working is here to stay, it is no longer a fad that some people tried and failed at. Their numbers’ power and ability to work from anywhere make them a force to be reckoned with. As businesses recognize this shift and adapt accordingly, remote working will become the norm for more than just tech workers or freelancers — it will become the status quo for all employees who want to stay competitive in today’s economy.
We may envisage a period when the staff can be shared among Councils.? When we see a revamp within in-house capabilities for cultivating and managing a hybrid digital-human talent pool across the sector.