Rob Litchfield, Ph.D., and the cover of Digital Nomads

W&J professor shares insights into the remote workplace in new book

Created: January 15, 2021  |  Last Updated: June 28, 2021  |  Category:   |  Tagged:

WASHINGTON, PA (Jan. 15, 2021)—One of the side effects of a global pandemic has given many of us a taste of remote work, but what does it truly mean to be a remote employee, and how does such a lifestyle impact an organization and its workers?

That’s the question W&J Associate Professor of Business and Economics Robert Litchfield, Ph.D., and his co-author, West Virginia University Professor of Sociology Rachael A. Woldoff, Ph.D., set out to answer in their recent work, Digital Nomads: In Search of Freedom, Community and Meaningful Work in the New Economy.

The pair’s research takes a deep dive into the lives of digital nomads, or remote employees who defy the traditional idea of home by giving up their roots to lead what they call “location independent” lives. The book examines this group of mostly younger professionals as they seek work-life balance while creating their new work culture and community through transience.

“My research focus is on creativity and creative motivation, and Rachael’s expertise is cities and urban community life. When we started reading about creative professionals called digital nomads, largely successful people who were nevertheless choosing to quit plum jobs in top tier cities around the world  to reinvent themselves and pioneer new kinds of working communities, we were intrigued,” Dr. Litchfield said. “The opportunity to be among the first researchers to learn and write about that kind of truly new phenomenon is rare and exciting, and we knew that a book would be necessary to do justice to the story. During this difficult time, the book tells an engaging story about the possibilities that remote work offers.”

Integrating research methods from fields including sociology, business and technology to explore the relationships between work and location, Drs. Litchfield and Woldoff share their insights on how creativity and motivation can exist and even flourish in these non-traditional work spaces while maintaining a critical eye on what this means for the future of work.

Digital Nomads is available through Oxford University Press and Amazon.

About Washington & Jefferson College
Washington & Jefferson College, located in Washington, Pa., is a selective liberal arts college founded in 1781. Committed to providing each of its students with the highest-quality undergraduate education available, W&J offers a traditional arts and sciences curriculum emphasizing interdisciplinary study and independent study work. For more information about W&J, visit, or call 888-W-AND-JAY.