The digital nomad lifestyle has gone from a fancy buzzword to a common career path in the blink of an eye. In essence, a digital nomad is anybody whose work is 100% online and who can earn a living working from anywhere they want — not just in an office setting.
With a surge in remote teams benefitting both employers and employees, this new wave of work-life balance is set to keep growing. However, as with every new shift in working practices, it’s fair to say there have been teething problems. From a lack of motivation to not having the right resources at hand, there have been conflicting stories about how efficient remote or hybrid working formats really are.
Luckily, in line with the laws of supply and demand, established productivity tools have come to the fore, and brand-new apps have appeared to fill the gaps. These tools allow employers to run successful remote offices with no drop in productivity. But it’s not just managers who benefit. With the right resources at hand, digital nomads can streamline their working day, feel part of a team, and stay motivated even if they’ve never met their colleagues.
In this article, we’ll run an overview of all the must-have tools for digital nomads, before diving deep into specific apps that you can use for full work-life freedom. We’ll cover file management, communication and collaboration, time management tools, and more. But you Wi-Fi warriors don’t just have a professional life to worry about, so we’ll cover the travel aspect too.
To kick off this article, we’re going to look at the specific challenges that come with the digital nomad lifestyle, and tell you what the pros are doing to overcome them.
For digital nomads to stay productive, they need to be connected to their teams. Communication has never been easier for remote work, with video conferencing tools for meetings, and instant messaging for quick back-and-forths.
But looking outside the box, task management software is where all your instructions, updates, and conversations should take place.
Staying on task and on top of deadlines is hard when you’re not in an office, but time-tracking software works as a great motivator. The rise of automations, from simple notifications to entire project workflow templates, has also helped digital nomads to cut down on small admin tasks so they can stay focused on their core responsibilities.
A single place for projects, calendar, client management and website builder. Powerful collaboration platform to drive your digital nomad lifestyle.
Perhaps the most important tool for remote offices is a cloud-based storage drive. Whether you’re in the office or traveling in the tropics, you can access all the files you need on your desktop or mobile app.
Nowadays, it’s easy to find apps with file synchronization so you don’t find yourself doing the same job twice, and you can collaborate simultaneously on the same document to maximize productivity.
Whether you’re running an ecommerce business or simply want to get paid on time, online payment and invoicing tools are crucial to a well-running remote company. With the best apps, workers can track their hours and compile them straight into an invoice, while business owners can take payment in a variety of currencies, always respecting local tax laws.
The digital nomad lifestyle isn’t complete unless you’re bouncing from one destination to another, so you’ll need some trusty apps to keep you moving. Therefore, find a flight comparison website you can trust, and the same for accommodation — you can’t spend all your free time on the admin of things. But perhaps more important is an itinerary app to reduce the stress and hassle of getting around.
It’s surprisingly common for a digital nomad lifestyle to be sedentary. You don’t know where the gym is and you might not feel comfortable running around the park.
But you can create a workout routine in the palm of your hand with one of the many virtual fitness classes on the market. Monitor your progress with a health tracking app, and take care of your mental health with a mindfulness app.
It’s easy to forget about security and privacy when you’re planning your trip around the world, but it has never been so important. Make sure that any apps you use have encrypted and two-step logins, and keep all of your passwords securely on a password management tool.
VPNs are a great investment too, and they’ll allow you to circumvent any difficulties if you’re planning to go to countries with internet restrictions.
Now you know what key resources you need, we’re going to get specific about the tools that can set the foundation for a successful remote work experience.
The granddaddy of instant messenger apps, Slack can keep you in touch with your team in real-time and asynchronously. Launch a range of channels for project-specific work, but don’t forget social channels for team bonding. No matter the location of your team, everyone loves talking about the latest Netflix series, and it can be a real unifier for digital nomads.
Zoom is to video calls what Google is to search engines, and it adds a nice personal touch to remote meetings. Screen sharing lets you present your ideas clearly, and you can even record your sessions for anybody in an inconvenient time zone.
Google Drive comes as standard with a Google account, making it easy to store your files on the cloud. You can share custom access rights with your team for great security, however, there are complications if you’re sharing files with people outside of your organization.
Bitrix24 sets itself apart as a true all-rounder — a huge array of digital nomad apps all under one umbrella. More communication channels than Zoom and Slack, more in-depth project management features than Trello and Asana, and a website builder, HR information system, CRM, and more, all linked together by native integrations and automations. It’s like it was purpose-built for the digital nomad lifestyle.
Todoist is a task management tool that keeps you engaged when your mind drifts off. It combines task management with calendars to keep you organized throughout your day, week, and month, both in your professional and private lives. You can also integrate it with third-party apps so you can get reminders even if your team is on different platforms.
A content writer’s partner in crime: Grammarly will clean up your writing, correct your errors, and improve your grammar. The premium version gives you more advanced features, telling you when you’re getting too wordy, pitching your writing style to a specific audience, and making suggestions to spice things up a little.
Unless you’ve got all your business features on one platform, you’ll need an app like LastPass to store all your passwords securely. No more excuses for freezing yourself out of accounts — you and your team can access all your apps from anywhere in the world.
Trello has been in the project management game for a long time, and it was already well set up for the digital nomad lifestyle. Cloud-based Kanban boards let you and your team visualize the start-to-finish life cycle of your projects, with deadlines, collaborators, instructions, and resources all included on each task card.
Another vintage app, many organizations still use Dropbox to keep their documents on the cloud so their remote workers can access and share files from anywhere. It may be a one-trick pony, but it does that trick rather well.
Hootsuite is one of the top names for social media managers working from wherever they want to. You can schedule your posts (apart from stories) well in advance, and sit back, relax, and analyze the performance later.
An accountant isn’t the first job that comes to mind when you think of digital nomads, but with FreshBooks, you can create, customize, and send all your invoices on the go. An all-in-one accountancy tool, you can do everything from anywhere in the world — just make sure you’re on a secure connection.
While many tools on this list include automations for their field of expertise, IFTTT is an advanced app for automation across the board. Great for the digital nomad lifestyle when there’s no boss to keep you on task, you can automate all the boring stuff and never miss a deadline again.
A handy counterpart to Hootsuite, Canva is a drag-and-drop design tool that can turn even the least artistic people into a budding Van Gogh (or Picasso at least). Save your best designs as templates and draw from an image and video bank for pro-looking stock content.
Although Skype may be losing out to Zoom in the big-name video call software wars, it has a great instant messenger feature, offering you more communication channels than its competitor. Now part of the Microsoft family, it’s also very easy to integrate with your other digital nomad productivity tools.
Evernote has a role to play when you need to get important points down from meetings and know that your pen-and-paper notes will disappear immediately. You can add extra files, images, and audio to add a bit of color to your records.
Time trackers like Toggl are among the top-priority digital nomad apps as you can measure how long you or your team take to complete tasks. This can be a great wake-up call to stay on track if you’re enjoying that lifestyle a bit too much. For freelancers, it’s easy to track your hours and invoice your clients.
Hubspot is another one of the must-have tools for digital nomads who want to keep most of their work in one place. From web building and lead generation to email marketing and social media posting, you and your team can easily collaborate. That said, let’s just say the price tag isn’t for everyone.
Buffer lets you manage your community from your desktop or smartphone — perfect to stay productive on the go. Sure, you can schedule your posts and see interactions, but Buffer will also suggest when, where, and how to publish for maximum impact.
If you want to simplify a heavy schedule, get all of your appointments down in Calendly and spend more time on the “life” side of your digital nomad lifestyle. Forget about email back and forths and allow your clients to choose a time from your agenda.
Mailchimp may not be the most innovative email marketing app, having been around since 2001. But its continued success is down to the quick adoption of automations and customizations. All this means you can engage your audience, build brand awareness, and drive sales from a reliable, proven platform.
Now you’ve got a clear view of what it takes to be a digital nomad and what apps are out there to help you, it’s time to get started.
While all the digital nomad productivity tools in our list are among the best in their field, that doesn’t mean that they’re perfect for you. One of the most important lessons learned from pioneering nomads is that simplicity is key.
In that spirit, Bitrix24 gives you an all-in-one business tool on one user-friendly platform. Sign up for Bitrix24 today and see how easy it is to nurture your clients, design your website, run your projects, and so much more.
The digital nomad lifestyle requires special tools so they can maintain high performance outside of an office environment. Digital nomads need to stay connected and focused and perform well to fully justify their lifestyles.
Essential tools for digital nomads include hardware like a laptop, noise-canceling headphones, and portable chargers. They also need communication, collaboration, and task management software, no matter what industry they work in.
When choosing software for the digital nomad lifestyle, you should look for: