digital nomads bet on spain

They only need a backpack, their laptop and a mobile phone with internet to travel the world while generating income. Restless, risky, in love with exoticism, far from routine and working remotely, this is how digital nomads are who, from different regions of Spain and other countries, have the world as their office. According to the study by the Passeport-photo digital portal 2022 Digital Nomad Statistics and Trendsalmost 29% of digital nomads worldwide visit between three and five countries a year during their work and 17% visit more than five countries.

This same study points out that this type of worker has privileged places to “live” or, rather, to build a base, and Spain is in the top six along with Portugal, Colombia, Mexico, Thailand and Indonesia. “When I’m saturated, I usually go to work for a week at home on the beach,” says Jorge Herrero, a 37-year-old Madrid native and digital nomad with ten years in the world of online advertising. “Coming to the office every day wearing a suit and tie was very monotonous and boring. Now I have the freedom to manage my time. I get up, work a little, go to the gym, come back and work another half hour. Then I walk my pet and go back to work,” he describes.

Over the past ten years, the independent (own-account workers) in Spain increased by 40%, to exceed 753,000 professionals, according to the Panorama Freelance Europe 2021 study, from the consulting firm BCG & Malt.

Three years ago, Alfonso Mena, who lives in Madrid, replaced his traditional office job, morning traffic and the obligation to follow a dress code for the adventure of entering meetings in slippers, answering e-mails from the cafeterias or strategize under the sea breeze on a paradise island in Greece. “I decided to be an entrepreneur, I started working for friends, collaborating with startups and later for a company in the United States, 100% remotely. That’s where it all started,” he says, having lunch in a half-empty restaurant, while most of them work in offices.

“I can work from anywhere in the world. I connect to Wi-Fi from cafes, hotels or Airbnbs… This summer, while I was working, I was with my father in Cadiz, with my mother in Huelva and with my sister in England. They all enjoyed their vacation with me,” he explains.

Work Panorama Independent Europe recalls that eight out of ten freelancers in Spain live in Madrid or Barcelona, ​​although a study by the travel agency Rumbo of 5,000 surveys reveals that 44% of digital nomads in Spain prefer to work in places with paradisiacal beaches and that they have their favorite places: Canary Islands, Malaga and Asturias.

Remote work is also about social interaction with project partners, which is why for many digital nomads this is the big downside to this way of earning a living. “There is a feeling of loneliness in never seeing your colleagues,” Taymara Lopes, a 34-year-old Brazilian, laments wistfully. “He goes from being surrounded by colleagues, sharing a coffee in the office while we tell anecdotes or taking cigarette breaks, to working alone,” agrees Jorge.

THEY DESIGNED THEIR OWN WAYS TO MEET. To fill this desert, digital nomads have devised their own ways to come together using the tool they know best: technology. In the case of Alfonso, for example, the connections with his classmates, from different parts of the world, consist of 3D virtual reality meetings, where they create avatars with their physical similarities, who play and interact with each other. others.

“Thanks to these dolls, we play bowling, for example. We also have a Pizza Party, where once a month we buy pizza, sit in front of the webcam and chat. These are small actions, but they help us to maintain the cohesion of the team”, says Alfonso. Last May, Spain launched the Emerging Business Ecosystem Promotion Project, or Startup Lawto, among other things, attract digital entrepreneurs and digital nomads to Spanish territory.

The full Senate approved it on Wednesday, November 23, although it continues to be re-processed in Congress, with several transactional amendments incorporated during its passage through the Upper House.


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