Digital Nomads vs Work From Anywhere Schemes

17th Feb 2023

‘Digital nomads’ and 'Work From Anywhere schemes’ are related concepts that describe a similar lifestyle but have different nuances.

What is a Work From Anywhere scheme?

Work from anywhere schemes gained popularity due to the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing many people to work from home or other remote locations. The term refers to a benefit allowing employees to perform their work duties from any location, most often associated with working in a different country. It’s important to note that Work From Anywhere schemes only allow individuals to work abroad for a set number of days a year due to taxation laws. 

Working from anywhere enables employees to have greater flexibility and autonomy over their work schedule to balance their personal and professional lives more effectively and achieve an improved work-life blend.

What is a digital nomad?

Digital nomads, on the other hand, are individuals who work remotely while travelling the world. They are location-independent professionals who utilise modern technology to Work From Anywhere, enabling them to travel while continuing to work. Digital nomads often choose to live in lower-cost countries or cities where income can be stretched further whilst having the benefit of experiencing different cultures. In order to be a digital nomad, individuals often choose to be independent contractors or freelancers.

The difference between digital nomads and work from anywhere schemes

Digital nomads vs Work From Anywhere: the key difference between Work From Anywhere schemes and digital nomads is that nomadic individuals will reside and work abroad and travel around. Whilst Work From Anywhere, schemes are for employees based in a specific country, and the schemes are restricted to the number of days they can work abroad to avoid the challenges that arise with tax legislation

Are you still trying to decide which flexible working option suits you and your lifestyle better? We’ve collated a list of pros and cons for each.

Pros and cons of Work From Anywhere schemes

✔️ Pros:

  • Flexibility - WFA allows employees to have greater autonomy and flexibility over their work schedule, which can improve work-life balance and reduce stress. You can enjoy travelling to new destinations or visiting family abroad but still have the comfort of your own home to return to. 
  • Increased productivity - employees who have more freedom and choice report higher levels of productivity and happiness levels. 
  • Permanent employment - as you will be a tax-paying resident, you will have a permanent employment contract, which offers security and simplicity.

❌ Cons:

  • Legal restrictions - because of the legalities around Work From Anywhere schemes, you’ll only be able to work abroad for a specific number of days a year which your employer will have set out within their flexible working policy. 
  • Time management - travelling and working abroad can take its toll on concentration levels due to having more distractions. On the flip side, knowing when to switch off and enjoy your time might be difficult for others.

Pros and cons of being a digital nomad

✔️ Pros:

  • Flexibility - digital nomads have the freedom to work from any location in the world. They can design their work schedule around their lifestyle, which allows them to travel and explore new cultures while still earning a living.
  • Cost-effectiveness - digital nomads can save money on expenses such as rent, utilities, and transportation by living in lower-cost countries or cities. They can also take advantage of tax incentives in some countries, i.e. Italy, Malta and Greece, to name a few. 
  • Personal growth - travelling to new places and experiencing different cultures can broaden your perspective, promote personal growth, and enhance creativity.

❌ Cons:

  • Lack of stability - constant travel and changing work environments can be disruptive and cause a lack of stability, leading to increased stress and burnout. Being an independent contractor can also mean sacrificing stability for freedom.
  • Isolation - working remotely and travelling alone can be isolating, especially if digital nomads are away from family and friends.
  • Time management - balancing work and travel can be challenging, and digital nomads must be disciplined with their time to ensure that they meet work deadlines while still enjoying the destination.
  • Complexity - moving around countries requires planning and an in-depth understanding of the tax regulations of each country to avoid being fined or over-taxed.

Please always seek legal and tax advice when considering setting up a Work From Anywhere scheme or becoming a digital nomad.