Working a 9-5 may still be a norm for many, however, it’s been predicted that the number of digital nomads will reach 1 billion by the year 2035. With this new tribe making waves in the world of work, Instant Offices looks into how they are changing the way workers are thinking about their careers for the new year and beyond.
With 5G on the rise, the trend is set to increase as reliable access to technology and connectivity improves, enabling digital nomads to keep in touch and complete tasks as they travel and explore new countries.
The stats show in the UK, more than 4.8 million Brits now identify as self-employed with freelancers comprising 42% and 6% of the UK workforce, according to IPSE.
In the US, 4.8 million independent workers describe themselves as digital nomads according to a report by MBO Partners. A study from Upwork in 2019 shows 57 million Americans identify as freelancers; a 4 million increase from 2014 with 53% of freelancers are Gen Z workers.
However, it’s not all lazing on the beach and sipping on Pina Coladas; a recent study shows remote workers are 13% more productive than office workers and most likely to take fewer sick days with 23% willing to put in extra hours to finish their tasks.
Most Common Digital Nomads Fields:
The majority of the available positions are geared towards developers and programmers, at 20%. Consultant positions were the second-most requested, at 8%. Data entry processors followed this at 6%, sales managers at 4% and help desk staff at 3%.
A recent Joblift study revealed that vacancies for digital nomads have increased by 8% month-on-month in the UK, at four times the rate of the country’s job market. So, while remote working positions being offered currently account for just 0.03% of the UK job market, they are steadily rising.
Industries Adapting to the Digital Nomad Lifestyle
- Office space: Digital nomads are on the lookout for highly flexible, short-term workspace options that provide them with a productive environment without tying them into a traditional workspace lease. A hot desk in a coworking space is the perfect solution, and there has been an increase in fully connected and equipped coworking spaces in key locations around the world to cater to these frequent travellers.
- Insurance: A growing number of travel insurance companies now offer packages tailored to digital nomads. Benefits can range from international healthcare plans to cover for valuables like laptops and cameras or accident insurance for those who enjoy extreme sports and adventure activities.
- Data: More companies today are offering international data plans for smartphones, tablets and laptops. Services like Google Fi and Sprint Global Roaming are fast becoming the norm.
- Banking: Trying to regulate earnings and taxes can be a real headache when travelling between countries and earning from clients in multiple currencies. Services like Curve are making life easier for digital nomads, and cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin are helping travellers to cut through a lot of the red tape around international payments.
To get an insight into the world of Digital Nomads, Instant spoke to Jade Sarkhel and Richard Maule, two digital nomads from London currently based in Bali:
“We 100% feel we are more productive, but it takes commitment! The quote “work expands to fill the time available” seems to apply to us when we were working our 9-5 jobs in the city. If you’re working for another company as a digital nomad, then it’s likely that you’ll make sure you get all your work done in the shortest time possible, therefore making you a lot more efficient. As a digital nomad business owner, it requires a lot of discipline and self-made structure to ensure you remain productive!”
John Williams, Head of Marketing at Instant Offices commented how offices spaces is changing around this new generation of workers:
“As the modern workforce shifts and more people explore how to be a digital nomad, office space choice is changing significantly. The rise of coworking spaces across the world means digital nomads will always find themselves conveniently close to a meeting space or board room when needed, with access to excellent connectivity and business amenities.”
American Express and Amazon Business Launch Co-branded Credit Cards for Small Businesses in the UK
The co-branded Cards offer flexible benefits and payment optionality by allowing small businesses to decide between earning rewards or adjusting payment terms on eligible purchases
UK small business Card launch builds on American Express and Amazon’s long-term relationship and co-branded Card programme in the US
American Express (NYSE: AXP) today announced the launch of the new Amazon Business American Express® Card and the Amazon Business Prime American Express® Card for small businesses in the UK. The Cards offer a host of rich rewards and payment flexibility designed to help businesses better manage their cash flow and gain greater insight into their spending.
The Cards provide an enhanced check-out experience on Amazon Business UK and Amazon.co.uk that gives Cardmembers the option to earn reward points or select a deferred payment term for each transaction, enabling them to make the best payment choice for their finances. Reward points can be earned anywhere American Express Cards are accepted and redeemed toward future Amazon purchases or applied to the balance of their monthly Card statement. This new Card programme in the UK has been developed as part of the on-going relationship between American Express and Amazon which includes a co-branded programme in the US and a global Card acceptance relationship.
This launch comes at a time when 63% of British small businesses say cash flow issues have led them to delay purchasing goods and services they need to run their business, according to new research from American Express and YouGov1. Nearly a quarter (23%) of the survey participants said they have put off ‘bigger ticket’ purchases over the last six months until they have funds available, and 38% of them are only buying the ‘essentials’ they need to keep their business operating.
Commenting on the new Card launch, Colin O’Flaherty, General Manager of UK Global Commercial Services at American Express, said: “We have been serving small businesses for over 60 years, and are passionate about helping our small business customers effectively run and grow their businesses, especially during this challenging period. With many UK SMEs facing financial hardships, we want to make it easier for businesses to manage their finances and continue accessing the goods and products they need with more options to pay. We know that a vast number of the UK’s businesses rely on Amazon’s wide-ranging products and services and are excited to launch this powerful and flexible new payment tool that will allow small businesses to select how to pay, purchase by purchase.”
Dave Brittain, Director of Amazon Business UK, said “Working with American Express to launch the small business credit Card was a natural decision for Amazon, given our shared long-standing commitment to helping small businesses flourish globally. We’re incredibly proud to launch this Card programme as it offers small business owners and entrepreneurs the best of both companies: the convenience and value they have come to know and love from Amazon, underpinned by the world-class service, benefits, access and security of American Express. These benefits have never been more important at a time when businesses are navigating the challenges and uncertainty which Covid-19 has presented.”
Amazon Business American Express Cardmembers and Amazon Business Prime American Express Cardmembers will have access to the following key benefits:
- 2% Amazon Rewards points on the first £120,000 in purchases at Amazon.co.uk, Amazon Business UK and Whole Foods Market UK each calendar year, 1% thereafter or 90-day payment terms on such purchases for Cardmembers who are Business Prime members on Amazon Business UK
- 1.5% Amazon Rewards points on the first £120,000 in purchases at Amazon.co.uk, Amazon Business UK and Whole Foods Market UK each calendar year, 1% thereafter or 60-day payment terms on such purchases for all other Cardmembers
- 0.5% Amazon Rewards points on all other purchases for all Cardmembers
Both Cards come with a £50 annual fee, however, this is waived for new Business Prime American Express Cardmembers in the first year. Upon approval, new Cardmembers who are Business Prime members will receive an Amazon gift card with £50 value, and all other Cardmembers will receive a £25 Amazon gift card. As an added benefit for Amazon Business Prime American Express Cardmembers, their Cards will feature a unique vertical design that is composed of metal.
Go Global To Expand Your Revenue Stream
By Christian Spaltenstein, Managing Director, AFEX Americas
Banking and financial operations have evolved immensely in the past few years. Innovation in banking technology has set new standards for businesses, with multiple players actively participating in the journey to make financial services transparent, accessible and secure. In a globalized economy, where borders dissolve and even a micro-business can build an international footprint, a global payments offering is the magical key for any business to thrive. With competition from digital-first challengers, businesses are now realizing the importance of enhancing their product offerings to flourish in today’s internet based marketplace.
The pandemic has certainly played a massive role in forcing businesses to re-think strategies and optimize their operating model to suit the needs of the present economy. Ensuring business continuity is top-of-mind for many businesses who are struggling to remain afloat.
Expanding your revenue stream, especially during these challenging times, can be tough but profitable. A primary area of focus for many businesses today is to have an efficient and reliable supply chain. That could mean exploring unfamiliar markets and sourcing new service providers. Some businesses are also adapting their product lines to accommodate new needs in the market.
As other businesses effect digital transformations and find new ways of working, hacking is on the rise. Customers today want everything over the web; ensuring your systems are secure and efficient is even more important during these challenging times.
Businesses that are unable to cope with these increasing demands suffer the challenge of surviving and remaining relevant.
Companies that have been able to implement API solutions have observed proven success in achieving a multitude of business objectives. Automating financial operations with advanced technology solutions can help you not just differentiate your business, but also capture market share in today’s economy. It can add operational efficiency and help enhance your organization’s productivity—and as a result, revenues.
A trusted API solutions partner for global payments with an efficient banking and payments infrastructure can open your business to opportunities to grow internationally. It can also help your business to adapt to changing customer needs and offer services that can help you stay at the top of your game. Here are a few ways such solutions can help your business thrive and go global:
1. Currency risk management –
Uncertainty due to ongoing market volatility can have adverse effects on your business’ profits. The ability to create forward contracts enables businesses to lock in a favorable rate and ensure financing certainty for their future currency needs.
2. Entrance into new markets –
Introducing a business into new markets, or sourcing new services, comes with a host of challenges, the biggest being currency and payments. API solutions can support a business’ expansion plan today, tomorrow and in the future, with seamless scalability ready when it’s needed.
3. New revenue streams –
A global payments API solution can help your business operate more efficiently. It offers a competitive edge, which can transform FX from a cost to a strategic advantage. As a business grows, so should its revenue.
4. Product growth and competitive advantage –
An efficient FX and payments system can help businesses to steal an advantage in the market. Many business functions depend on either incoming or outgoing payments, and integration of these basic features into a business’ product can represent exponential growth in new users and wallet share.
5. Data is gold –
In today’s changing environment, protecting yourself and your customers’ data is a necessity. A secure and stable infrastructure to keep data safe helps you avoid financial and reputational damage— adding to your peace of mind—and increases customers’ trust.
A global payments partner can certainly help expand your revenue stream and strengthen your value proposition. However, it is critical to analyze your core competencies. Taking a look at your own cost structure and restructuring your delivery channels to best suit the needs of your end customer is essential. Using tools like AI can help you draw better conclusions about customer behavior, guiding you to choose the right enhancements. The objective for any expansion should be to improve the business ecosystem you operate in.
Your global payments partner should also be able to understand your target market and your business goals to better help you navigate risks and mitigate market volatility.
In evaluating a partner, key considerations include:
- Product knowledge and demand: Choose a partner with experience with companies like yours and the ability to adapt their solutions to your needs.
- Regulatory set-up: Make sure your partner is licensed and fully compliant across the world, and has robust cybersecurity protocols in place.
- Infrastructure: A well-developed, stable global payments infrastructure and robust payment rails saves you the time and resource you’d need to build your own.
- Cultural understanding for expansion: Communication and business practices vary across the world. A partner with a sizeable global footprint can help you navigate efficiently in new markets.
Times of crisis often produce innovation in processes and practices. The digital transformation of financial services has been extensively accelerated by COVID-19. Companies are seeking new ways to keep costs down while they weigh opportunities to expand internationally. Adapting to survive and ensure business continuity, especially during the ongoing pandemic is critical for businesses.
In times of uncertainty it’s important to keep both feet on the ground and ensure your operations are smooth and your data secure. Automating your global payments process is an important step in digital transformation. Adding efficiency and reducing errors can boost your profitability and can help you scale for the future.
This is a Sponsored Feature.
October furlough changes – what you need to know
By Alan Price, employment law expert and CEO of BrightHR
The Job Retention Scheme is coming to an end on 31 October, and in its final month, there are some significant changes to its funding that employers and employees need to be aware of.
When it was first implemented, the scheme was funded entirely by the government. However, since 1 August, the government has contributed less to the scheme, meaning employers have had to put more of their funds into furloughed staff wages to ensure they continue to earn at least 80% of their salary for the time in which they do not work.
From 1 October, the government will only provide 60% of this payment; employers will need to top up the remaining 20% themselves. They will also need to continue paying employee national insurance and employer pension contributions.
As has been the case since July, furloughed staff can still be asked to return to work on a part-time basis. However, employers need to pay them in full for the hours that they work. They can also be removed from the scheme if the employer deems it necessary, which includes making them redundant.
Once the scheme ends on 31 October, it will be replaced by a new government-funded system of support, the Job Support Scheme, on 1 November. This scheme will be slightly different to the furlough scheme and is designed to support jobs that are not entirely dependent on government funds.
Under the Job Support Scheme, employees will work at least one-third of their normal working hours. The government and the employer will then each provide pay for one-third of the number of hours in which they do not work, meaning all employees on the scheme will receive at least 77% of their normal wages. The government’s contribution will be capped at £697.92 per month.
For example, an employee who normally works five days a week and earns £350 per week. Under the Job Support Scheme, they will work 40% of normal working hours (two days a week). The percentage of hours lost is 60% (worth £210). The employer pays £140 for hours worked, and a further £70 (one-third of hours lost). The government will pay £70 (one-third of hours lost). The employee receives £280 in total per week.
All companies will be eligible to make use of this; however, larger businesses will need to pass specific financial tests. Companies will also not need to have furloughed staff previously.
Employers will be able to claim a reimbursement for employee wages from December 2020 via an online portal.
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