Out of Office: Is the Workation Here to Stay?

Out of Office: Is the Workation Here to Stay?

Workations are making getaways guilt-free. As hotels and members’ clubs join forces to help us work from anywhere, and the boundaries between “in” and “out” of office continue to blur, one writer ponders whether this could be the end of holidays as we know them.

This article appears in Vol. 33:

I daydream about remote
, my “office” is equipped with a sea view, endless
espresso and a steady supply of arancini. A long wooden table,
which doubles as a shared desk, is at the heart of the
Mediterranean farmhouse that is my temporary home. Orange trees
surround an al fresco dining spot, where I while away evenings in
spirited company. In reality, I am moving the laundry pile out of
shot for my next Zoom.

The pandemic has made many of us consider what we want our
working days to look like. For me, it was time for a big change.
After 12 years at the Evening Standard, I left to start a new role
at Heatherwick Studio, where my induction was entirely virtual. And
while I long to spend “in real life” time together, I must admit:
I’ve become a remote-work convert.

It’s not just me. Nearly half of the UK’s employees found
themselves working from home in the country’s first national
lockdown according to the Office for National Statistics. A year
down the line, that Zoom life could be here to stay according to
the Institute of Directors, which found that 74 per cent of
companies would maintain homeworking after social-distancing
restrictions ease.

If this is going to be a long-term reality, I don’t want to
spend every clocked-on hour at home. And I’m clearly not alone in
this mindset; hotels and members’ clubs are joining forces to help
us work from anywhere.

Cabin fever is a creative’s kryptonite

Josh Wyatt, NeueHouse

NeueHouse, the self-proclaimed “private workspace and
cultural home for creators, innovators and thought leaders,” is
paving the way. “Our best work is often not done behind a desk or
sitting in an office,” says CEO Josh Wyatt, reflecting on the
brand’s partnership with Design Hotels. “We experience some of our
greatest moments when we are travelling, thinking, learning,
lecturing, debating and exploring.”

He wants NeueHouse members to access a world outside the club’s
properties in New
, Los
and Miami. The
partnership means they will have complimentary use of areas made
for work in hotels on the US’s east and west coasts – and there’s
an expectation that boltholes across the rest of the world will get
on board too.

“The confluence of work, leisure, social, intellectual and
creative moments has hugely evolved over the past year. Meeting all
of these needs requires partnering with people and brands that
share an appreciation for bold thinking,” Wyatt adds. “This isn’t
just a reaction to Covid, there was a move towards it before the
pandemic.” He calls cabin fever “a creative’s kryptonite” and
believes a workation-er in a hotel will be more productive if they
can access a well-designed, functional office space where there are
opportunities to mingle with people.

Markus Schreyer, Design Hotels’ Senior Vice President, adds:
“This is the beginning of something bigger. It’s not just about
getting work done, it’s about collaborations and getting inspired.
More than ever, people want to meet other innovative people, to
share and learn. Our spaces are perfect for this; they’re made for

Courses usually only open to Design Hotels’ members and guests –
sound healing, interactive art, meditation, crafts – are now
accessible to the NeueHouse network via in-person experiences and
digital streams.

Then there is Yôn Living, set up by entrepreneurs Tom Brooks and Ant
Steele. They were embarking on a different business when Covid hit,
and they vented their frustrations around working from their
kitchen tables to their investor. He invited them to his chateau in
the French countryside. With room to walk and think in nature, they
felt more productive but missed interactions with colleagues. So,
they invited friends along and Yôn was born, offering co-working
trips in destinations such as Lanzarote,
and Berlin.
Visits can be booked from one week to three months and each
property comes with a host who stays throughout. “Finally, people
realise we can work and travel,” Brooks says. “This knowledge has
opened up the potential for a massive shift in the way we want to

Social media and influencer marketing consultant, Karen
Alexander, has been a digital nomad for four years. Her advice for
anyone considering a working holiday would be “to set realistic
expectations and get your work done first thing in the morning, as
you’ll want to explore and enjoy the place later on”. She
particularly loved the combination of remote work and wellness at
Ethos Remote Habitat in Tulum, where collaboration and human
connection are considered the keys to healthy living. Its holistic
retreats, which pop up everywhere from New England to Mexico,
include accommodation, meals, wellbeing plans and events.

In July, New York-based Abbey Hudetz took the plunge to start
her own content-marketing agency, Oyster Creative, building on her
background in hospitality. She joined Soho Works, set up by
the Soho House group to help creatives collaborate and grow their
businesses. It currently has locations in London, New York and Los
Angeles with Hong Kong coming soon. “My Soho Works membership was a
great starting point, but I have since embraced fully remote work
by taking the opportunity to travel,” Abbey tells me. “My husband
is from South Africa so we’re moving to Cape
for the spring. In the meantime, we’re learning French so
we can fulfil a lifelong dream of living in Paris in the summer.”
Working from different locations has encouraged her to reach out to
clients all over the world, meaning she’s broadened her portfolio
in the process.

When plotting your great escape, check government requirements
in your home country and the place you are visiting – there may be
restrictions on time and income tax. Brexit rules, for example,
mean Brits could need a visa or work permit if planning to stay in
the EU for longer than 90 days in a 180-day period. However, many
countries are facilitating the move.

Long-stay visas have been set up in response to the increase in
remote working: the Barbados Welcome Stamp lets visitors work from
the island for 12 months; Antigua and Barbuda’s Nomad Digital Residence covers
stays of up to two years; the Cayman Islands’ Global Citizen Concierge
welcomes professionals and digital nomads for 24
months; and Mauritius has introduced a one-year Premium
Travel Visa
. If Mexico appeals, a temporary resident visa will
let you live there for a year and can often be extended for an
additional three years. Aruba, Jamaica, St Barts, Bermuda, Dubai,
Estonia and Georgia are a handful of other destinations with
similar initiatives.

Some schemes are specifically aimed at freelancers. Croatia’s
Digital Nomad Visa for independent workers was introduced in
January 2020 while Portugal’s programme also offers temporary
residence. Spain has a self-employment work visa and Germany’s
Freiberufler (“freelancer”) option is designed for anyone who wants
to be their own boss.

My makeshift office has served me well over the past months, but
it is ready to be packed up and taken on a well-deserved working
holiday. Nothing makes me more productive than a change of scene;
some of my best ideas have dawned on me in transit. I’ve met future
colleagues in hotel lounges and life-long friends on trips that
merge work and play. I’ve never truly been able to avoid checking
emails when away from my desk, but workationing shifts the balance,
making getaways guilt-free. As the hospitality world helps to blur
our understanding of what it means to be “in” or “out” of office, I
wonder: could this be the end of holidays as we know them?

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