The concept of digital nomads – people who use telecommunications technologies to work remotely from anywhere in the world – isn’t anything new. However, for those choosing to adopt this lifestyle, a recent visa trend has made the process much easier.
When combined with the right communications technology, the rise of digital nomad visas has the potential to enable long-term remote working. Here, Kristian Torode, director and co-founder of business communications services provider Crystaline, explains how businesses can ensure their employees are able to take advantage of this unique opportunity.
The pandemic made remote working the norm for the majority of the population, but for digital nomads, their working practices didn’t change much. Until recently, working remotely internationally has been difficult – most digital nomads travel on a tourist visa, meaning that their stay in any one nation is limited to between 30 and 90 days. But what about those who want to stay in one place for a longer period?
Many nations have started to recognise the desire for remote working, and the digital nomad visa is on the rise. One of the first countries to offer a long-term remote working visa was Barbados, with the launch of the Barbados Welcome Stamp in 2020, enabling digital nomads to stay for twelve months or longer. Other countries have followed suit. It’s now possible to obtain similar visas for the Caribbean’s Bermuda and Costa Rica, Europe’s Estonia and Croatia and the Middle East’s UAE.
Government travel policies are changing, meaning that living the nomadic lifestyle without giving up your day job is a more feasible option, as long as other travel restrictions aren’t in place. For businesses looking to adopt a true work from anywhere (WFA) policy and give their employees the opportunity to take advantage of overseas opportunities, a comprehensive communications system is vital.
Global unified communication
When establishing a global communication system that ensures effective collaboration over different locations, traditional options are not fit for purpose. Fixed phones are not a sufficient contact method, and businesses looking for cost-efficient, reliable communication, need a model that allows their employees to be reached anywhere, at any time.
Advances in technology have sparked the growth of unified communications (UC). Integrating all forms of communication – phone, instant messaging, video conferencing, email and SMS – into one solution, UC systems are found to optimise business operations and increase employee productivity, according to research by International Data Group.
Equipping employees with portable hardware, be it a smartphone, laptop or tablet, and a secure, reliable internet connection allows them to access many of the widely used communication platforms, like Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Outlook. However, when designing a voice solution, things get more complex.
International calls without the cost
Making international calls using the mobile phone network can be an extremely expensive option for businesses with dispersed employees. Even if a business takes advantage of the international calls packages that most mobile networks offer, there is a more cost-efficient solution available through the use of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).
VoIP uses the Internet, be it a Wi-Fi, 4G or even 5G connection, to make and take calls from anywhere in the world. Unlike traditional calls, which transmit speech via electric signals, VoIP converts the audio into data packages and transmits them to the phone network via the Internet. Using this system, a business’ operational costs won’t be negatively impacted by phone calls taking place internationally or over a long period of time.
Standard VoIP requires a comprehensive, on-premise infrastructure, but a hosted solution can prove more cost-effective. By using a cloud-based Internet Protocol (IP) platform, hosted VoIP offers a high-quality audio connection that performs the same regardless of an employee’s geographical location. Crystaline offers a range of hosted VoIP solutions that work globally. By analysing existing usage, Crystaline's team of experts works closely with its customers to design a bespoke solution directly tailored to their needs.
By installing a UC system, business operations become geographically mobile, presenting opportunities for employers and employees alike. As borders reopen, employees can make long-term, international remote working a reality, and employers, equipped with a future-proofed system, can access the best of the global talent for new hires.