Digital nomads contributed to over 21% of revenues in 2023, according to half of the businesses interviewed in new research commissioned by biometric verification company Regula. The survey participants included businesses in the US, UK, Germany, Spain and Mexico.
The US led the way in business revenue created by digital nomads, resulting in 62% of businesses answering that their digital nomad workers contributed a tangible revenue difference.
Between the companies interviewed, digital nomad revenue shares varied from 10% to 40%, with the retail and telecom industries reporting the greatest number of digital nomad workers.
A digital nomad refers to a worker who works entirely online for a company and works in a different country to where the company is located. Digital nomads therefore rely entirely upon technology to perform their job.
Lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic acted as a catalyst for this trend, as nearly every worker was required to work from home. Multiple countries, like Barbados and Mauritius, created visas specifically for digital nomads in response to lockdowns.
This trend has continued as Japan recently created its own version of a digital nomad visa, allowing workers to work completely remote in its country for up to six months.
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In its 2022 thematic intelligence report into the future of work, research and analysis company GlobalData found that the pandemic empowered workers to redefine how they work and where they work, resulting in a greater reliance upon connectivity technology.
Whilst Regula’s research confirmed that digital nomads are apparent in a variety of industries from finance to healthcare, its research also noted a link between the rise of remote workers and an increased threat of fraud.
Indeed, a third of businesses who took part in the research stated that they had increased spending on biometrics and multi-factor authentication to keep cybersecurity standards.
Around 57% of businesses adopted biometric authentication as they hired digital nomads, which is an expense they stated they had not previously needed to consider.
“[Digital nomads are] having a positive effect on economies that are still experiencing post-pandemic consequences,” stated executive VP of identity verification at Regula Henry Patishman, “… To get the most out of attracting digital nomads whilst preventing a rise in fraud, companies need to refine their business processes, in particular IDV-related ones.”
For companies looking to hire digital nomads, cybersecurity will need to be considered as their workforce changes.
“Specifically, these changes should optimise foreign document processing and validation, as well as address a potential surge in their number,” added Patishman.