Digital Nomad In A Global Team: A Success Story

Meet Daria, Coach and Nobel Explorers’ facilitator, and a digital nomad! After she moved to the UK, we spoke to her about her experiences, thoughts on digital, international teams, developing soft skills, and so much more!

Hey Daria! You recently moved to the UK. Do you feel that being a part of a global online team helped make the whole process easier?

It absolutely did!  All it took to get back on my feet after the move was one day off on the day of my flight! The very next morning I woke up thinking: “If I didn’t have this job, this would be the day where I would go through job agencies, interviews, CVs…” And I was so happy I could just open my laptop, see the same people, and continue my work. It was beautiful. The place I moved in instantly felt better and more welcoming, and it didn’t really feel like such a big change.

That sounds wonderful! And what would you say were the benefits of such a situation, both personal and professional?

In short: I wasn’t suffering and my job didn’t suffer. Everything stayed the same regarding the projects i was working on, because all I needed was a desk, chair, and an internet connection. There was no pressure to apply or to meet a bunch of new people right away… It was so relaxing!

So good to hear that! And how do you feel working in an international team affected your adjustment to a new place and new culture?

It did affect it, a lot! It made the whole thing much easier. Working here on an everyday basis with people from five or six different countries and seeing them daily helped me learn so much. For one, there’s making sure you understand everyone’s accent, learn about others’ cultures, making sure you speak in the way they’ll hear you, being aware of your own cultural background and how those may differ and affect other people, how to prevent common misunderstandings and get used to different ways of communicating…

The whole experience really made me open to the world, so that once I moved here I didn’t have a problem approaching people, asking for help when I needed it, and implementing some of the soft skills we teach our Explorers (we really grow with them every day!) It’s been amazing to function as a citizen of the world, to put our differences aside and focus on the things we share.

So you really try to use the soft skills you teach in your everyday life? How do the people around you react to it?

I do! In our lessons, we transfer soft skills into badges, and I’ve caught myself thinking about the way I act with my husband, friends, parents… And I must admit, every time I start talking about what we do, people get really interested! The truth is, we simply put the name to the processes we would engage in anyway on a daily basis.

I mean, as soon as you start talking to someone, there are soft skills right there! The only difference is, if you’re not a coach, you don’t really think about them, and that’s okay – that’s why we put a name to it, and introduce badges.

What do you think – are all teams going to look like this in the future – digital and international?

I’ll be honest here. Eight years ago when I went to college, I chose psychology, but a part of me was reluctant and thinking – “Is this something that’s sustainable, a profession that has a future? IT, medicine, law are progressing so quickly, so what am I doing?!” A few days ago that came back to me and I thought – “Wow, did I score!”

With IT progressing, it’s only natural that a lot of work will be transferred online. I think that globally oriented companies have the biggest chance of success simply due to being based online and connecting people from different cultures. That way, you get the best out of those cultures – you build a team that’s resilient, diverse, that can combine knowledge, cultures, and experiences. And all of that helps us grow as people and as a team, making our job more productive. I think this goes way beyond the IT industry – anything that’s a service will eventually be transferred online.

I work as a coach, and I have sessions with clients every day, online! I’ve moved and I kept all of my clients. Our therapeutic process didn’t have to be cut down because I made some life choice. Technology allows us to do that, and I think the more we develop, the more the world is going to be oriented online and that’s the way it should be. I don’t think that everywhere in the world people are aware of this shift, but it’s coming.

Do you feel that, thanks to the experience you have with Nobel, you’d find it easier to adapt to any culture you find yourself in?

The process of adaptation would be way easier because of my experience, I’m sure of that! Meeting daily with these people, I’ve learned a lot about other countries, our differences, how to ask for something, what to keep in mind… And it’s crucial even when it comes to the basic things we take for granted, like celebrating Christmas. We don’t celebrate it on the same day, our time zones differ… But when you go someplace else, you can’t expect people to know that, and that could cause some misunderstandings.

Being a part of a global, international team and collaborating daily helped me build a sort of resilience in a way, and it’s helped me be more relaxed in communicating with other people. It also helped me perceive that our differences aren’t something to be afraid of, but something to celebrate and learn from. I do believe I’d find it easier to adapt anywhere – that is, any place with a stable internet connection!

It’s amazing to work from home, and online, but I do see a possible downside… Do you ever get to really disconnect?

Well, let’s be honest: I’m in the house all day, my phone is with me 24/7, and every time someone messages me I see it, whether it’s at 7am, 2pm, 2am… I’m practically available all the time.

In the beginning it was challenging to make sure I took time to disconnect. However, Nobel does a brilliant job in making sure we all maintain work-life balance, and I truly feel fortunate, because I’m not really sure that’s very common with jobs like these. We make sure everybody has 1-2 days off in a week at least! It’s an actual requirement for all the team members to turn off their phone notifications, and we would get a call if something is really urgent.

But as our brilliant CEO, Andrew, says: “Nothing really can be urgent because if it’s urgent, you should have thought of it earlier!” If it’s your day off, don’t answer – it’s perfectly fine. Maintaining that balance and being okay with it was something that was a challenge for me in the beginning, but I think now I’m fine with it. Not feeling left out or burdened that the team is missing because I’m not there, or fearing that they’re going to leave me out of important decisions – I’m not really bothered by that anymore. In the first month, that feeling was definitely there, but right now I’m pretty good at saying – these are the working hours, these are my days off, and that’s something that people really respect.

Any final thoughts?

Working online really gives you huge freedom to organize your life the way you want to, and to make life decisions that only depend on what you want to do with your life, and not on the place where you work. I remember being 15-16, and talking with people who would tell me – “I’m miserable in this city but I can’t move because I work here!”, and I was thinking: “Aren’t you going to find a job some other place eventually and end up being happier?” But people are reluctant to do that, and I can kind of understand why.

But with the development of tech, globalization, we have this opportunity to work in online-based teams, and that’s so beautiful, and it’s not caging us! It gives you control of your life and the job is something that brings you pleasure rather than stress. If there’s anyone out there thinking – “Is this a good decision? Can I do this? Is it going to be weird?” I would 100% support you to try, because personally it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life. And aside from enormous professional development that I’ve had here with Nobel, I would say it made my personal life better, because it allowed me to make choices I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to make. So go for it!