Remote Workers vs. Digital Nomads: What’s the Difference?

16 Feb, 2023 | Read in 6 minutes

Remote workers and digital nomads may seem similar, but they have distinct differences. Learn how they differ and which might be the right fit for you.


Remote work trends are on the rise. More people are deciding to adopt a technologically enabled lifestyle that enables them to travel and work remotely. This is the result after two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, where many companies unplanned applied remote work systems or worked from home initially.

Now, many people tend to work remotely from anywhere, and digital nomads are some of what they are known as. The digital nomad trend is rising. According to Upwork, 35.7 million Americans, or 22% of the total, would be working remotely by 2025.

According to Digital News Asia, younger people may benefit significantly from the flexible working environment. In Malaysia, 39% of respondents said they thought remote work made junior staff more accountable.

There is also the view that flexible working influences a new communication style between line managers and their team members. 46% of respondents believe that remote management keeps a more professional relationship.

To know more about remote work and digital nomads trends, let’s dive into the differences between remote work and digital nomads below:

What is remote work?

Have you ever imagined working from a different traditional working environment? According to the Dictionary Cambridge, remote working is thе рrасtісе оf an employee wоrkіng at thеіr home, or in some other place that is not an оrgаnіsаtіоn'ѕ usual рlасе of business.

Professionals can use remote work as a working method to do business away from a regular office setting. It is based on the concept that work can be done in a different location in order to be completed, according to RemoteYear.

For example, remote workers can complete their tasks and achieve their goals wherever they are. They don’t need to commute to an office each day to work from an individual desk. People can plan their days in a way that allows them to live both their professional and personal life.

A cultural paradigm shift in what society considers to be an appropriate workplace has occurred, and remote work has benefited from this greater freedom.

How to be a remote worker

You can be a remote worker, whether you are working from home or anywhere in a variety of various remote job roles. The environment in which you can practise your career will be greatly influenced by its nature and any equipment you may want for it.

1. Choose the types of job

According to Whereby, the types of jobs you may potentially choose to work remotely are listed below:

  1. Writer: If your profession is writing, whether this is content writing, blog writer, or digital writer can easily do remote work from anywhere.
  2. IT Engineer or Consultant: Working from home and having more flexible hours is very convenient for many IT engineers. Including web development, software engineering, app development, and more.
  3. Digital Marketer: Digital marketers mainly do their tasks online, which means that they would need the right tools at home, e.g laptop, project management tools, etc. to manage their remote work.
  4. Virtual Assistant: It offers admin-led services to clients. It is typically performed remotely from the client base. Virtual assistant tasks include administrative tasks such as appointments, managing emails, etc.

Further, many sites are providing remote jobs that you can browse. You can start looking for a remote job based on your preference.

2. Prepare the equipment

As a remote worker, having the right equipment is crucial to your success. In addition to a reliable laptop, you may also want to invest in a high-quality headset for conference calls and a webcam for video meetings. Your internet connection should be stable and fast enough to support your work tasks. Whether you're sending emails, attending virtual meetings, or downloading large files, you can stay connected.

It's also important to have access to project management tools that allow you to collaborate with your team, manage tasks and deadlines, and track progress. Depending on the nature of your work, you may need additional software or equipment, such as a specialised design program or a standing desk.

It's essential to assess your specific needs and ensure that you have everything you need to work efficiently and effectively. By preparing the right equipment, you'll be able to stay connected, stay productive, and deliver high-quality work for your clients or employer.

What is a digital nomad?

According to Oxford Learner’s Dictionary, a digital nomad is a person who еаrnѕ a living working online іn dіffеrеnt lосаtіоnѕ thаt they choose fоr thеmѕеlvеѕ.

Location-independent workers who use technology to carry out their duties and lead itinerant lives are known as digital nomads. Instead of being present in person at a company's headquarters or office, digital nomads telecommute and work remotely, according to Investopedia.

Technological advancements made the life of a digital nomad possible, including content management software, smartphones, and inexpensive WiFi internet connection. It also contributes to the option of the gig economy.

How to be a digital nomad

For a beginner's guide to being a digital nomad, here are some tips from Harvard Business Review.

1. Choose the right destination

Asia or Europe? There are countless options, so before you start your digital nomad adventure, you'll need to choose the best location (or locations) to fit your individual needs and preferences. You can prepare a passport, visa, taxes, and many more.

2. Connect with your boss

In the world of remote work, communication is key, and connecting with your boss is no exception. It's important to establish a regular check-in schedule to keep your boss updated on your progress.

You can also share any concerns or challenges and ensure that you're on the same page about expectations and goals. By staying in touch and keeping your boss informed, you'll be able to build trust and demonstrate your commitment to delivering high-quality work.

3. Prepare the details

You need to consider things such as safety, legality, and the things that support your job. You must ensure that the workspace, internet connectivity, cash, and health support your work as a digital nomad.

4. Find a community of digital nomads

It's simple to become overwhelmed by the challenges that come with becoming a digital nomad. But the loneliness and isolation that come with this way of life are among its most significant drawbacks.

You can start by joining online platforms like, Nomad List, or local social media pages, but don't be hesitant to organise events, start a community, and host get-togethers on your own as well.

What’s the difference?

Digital nomads do not always work from remote locations. The main similarity between the two is that neither of them requires employees to report to a specific location in order to perform their jobs. But they are very different in terms of setup.

Remote workers may transition to digital nomads depending on the nature of their work. Simply pack up their things in a suitcase and head out on the open road.

Generally, the lifestyle of a remote worker is much more concerned with the work than with the location. Meanwhile, digital nomads are much more concerned with their location, country, and many more.

The only factors that could prevent remote workers from becoming digital nomads are the types of workers' status, a lack of travel ambition, being confined to their house, or having some degree of workplace inflexibility.

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