„As a result of current home office experiences and the desire for more flexibility, the work and travel trends of bleisure travel and remote work will be in even greater demand in the future. This is the conclusion of current travel studies and reports. The providers are following suit.” Sylvie Konzack
The clear distinction between business and leisure, business trip and holiday – it could soon be a thing of the past in terms of more bleisure and remote-work offers. Travel studies and analysts at trade fairs such as ITB Berlin Now in March 2021 have agreed on this and see this as a trend for both travellers and travel providers. Corona acts as a trend accelerator here. For as much as tourism has been looking for more authentic travel experiences with a footprint for years, the long, lockdown home office experience has also fuelled the desire for more remote work – preferably piggybacked with all-round security and worry-free packages including more space, but also with more of a nest feeling.
Remote Work for all?
Whether it’s a chalet in the mountains, a bungalow on the beach or a serviced apartment in a distant metropolis – the new hybrid working also turns the home office into a remote office: employees in the home office travel temporarily to another country or city destination in order to find an even better work-life balance there.
The topics of remote work and workation, as well as bleisure as an extension of the business trip, are thus no longer just a need for digital nomads, the self-employed and executives. According to a study by the digital association Bitkom from the end of 2020, more than one in three (35 percent) in Germany alone could want to choose a flexible work location in the future, which corresponds to 14.7 million professionals. Before the Covid 19 crisis, only 18 percent were exclusively or partially in a home office. The increase results from the experience that flexible working does not diminish the quality of work results – “on the contrary”, emphasises Bitkom President Achim Berg. Therefore, the change in the working world should now also be supported by politics “with incentive systems for employers and employees”, he demands.
It is already foreseeable that companies will become more attractive if they proactively offer mobile working. At the same time, they have to adapt to new necessary team structures: with more creative, virtual exchange rounds, with new digital leadership styles that no longer see pure working hours as a measure of quality, and with employees who can theoretically live and work scattered around the world. A new, large working world is opening up.
An international Expedia study currently sees almost half of employees (49 per cent) in Germany wanting to take time out from their home office in a more distant location. More than a third (33 per cent) would be more relaxed and happier if they had the opportunity to work temporarily in another location, as Bleisure Traveller has already reported. According to a recent survey by the travel agency Holiday Extras, almost 23 percent of Germans could already imagine combining work and holiday in the sense of workation this year. Among men, the figure is even slightly higher (a quarter) than among women (21 per cent). The motives always sound similar: more variety and new perspectives in new places in order to be able to work more productively and more fulfilled.
Where is Homeoffice away from home possible?
Corona has thus led to a massive change in work and travel behaviour and is now causing entire industries to rethink, not least due to the economic pressure that Corona has brought about. Whether Hyatt, 25hours Hotels or Meliá – travel and hotel providers have already reacted with numerous workation and long-stay offers. Even those that were not previously associated with it, such as Robinson Club with offers for working parents.
Club Med has launched an all-inclusive work offer, the “Club Med Month”: Until June 2021, remote workers can spend four weeks here and pay for two. The choices are Mexico Beach at Club Med Cancún in Yucatán, Club Med Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic and, as a European destination, Club Med Cefalù in Sicily (photo above and pictures below).
An expansion of the destinations and an extension of the promotion are very likely. Also because Club Med has never been a stranger to business travellers. One fifth of the business already consisted of MICE business, i.e. meetings, incentives, congresses and events. Staying longer after the conference has also long been a popular offer at the former inventor of the all-inclusive holiday.
Working as a luxury
Especially in the luxury hotel sector, workation packages are also on the rise. Since last year, The Nautilus Maldives in the Maldives has been advertising seven to 21 nights in a beach house, including a visit to the sandbank (photo at the top), wellness treatment, open-air cinema, snorkelling tour and more. The “Long Time More Sea” package of The Ozen Collection in the Maldives is similarly extensive plus a butler.
For stays of 30 days or more, Ozen Life Maadhoo and its sister hotel Ozen Reserve Bolifushi also offer room discounts of 40 per cent.
In Egypt, the Steigenberger Golf Resort El Gouna and the Sheraton Miramar Resort El Gouna have joined forces with a Workation offer in the El Gouna leisure area on the Red Sea. The meals as well as work or conference rooms are all-inclusive, golf and spa entice during the lunch break, and there are separate childcare facilities for children. And those who want to work with like-minded people can also rent a place in the co-working office G*Space.
Since last year, many countries and regions that are suffering from the slump in tourism have been offering visa programmes for remote workers. Dream beach destinations such as the Caribbean have made a start, as has the Expo 2021 destination Dubai. Ras Al Khaimah now also wants to make its desert emirate more attractive for working and living with the Workation Visa “Live RAK Play” for up to twelve months, including long-stay offers from various hotels and car rental companies, restaurant discounts and adventure vouchers for Adventure Parks & Co.
Iceland invites you to work on the island for up to 180 days, with hotels in blue lagoons, Viking houses, cottages on old sheep farms or design hotels in the Arctic wilderness of the Westfjords.
Even classic holiday regions such as the Canary Islands are increasingly advertising their attractive and safe infrastructure and varied living and working locations with a mild climate and high recreational value. Remote work in the EU for several months is an easy project to implement, if only from an insurance perspective.
Landlust at work
And then there are already some remote work offers nearby – whether in another city in a hotel or serviced apartment with a second-home feeling or as a city dweller in the countryside. Projects like the Coconat, an hour from Berlin, have already been showing for a few years what temporary rural living with lots of like-minded people can look like. At the Hollerhöfe in the middle of the Bavarian Upper Palatinate, you can also set up your laptop in the meadow orchards or in the conference barns and Tiny House directly in nature, regardless of the weather (photo below). In addition, the restored village offers forest bathing and courses at the Nature Experience Academy.
But the Baltic Sea, the North Sea, the Harz mountains, the Sauerland or the Bavarian Alps also remain easily accessible destinations if the current Corona regulations make it possible to travel there. And it shows here as well as there: mindfulness, meaningful work and travel, workation, remote work, bleisure, home office everywhere – everything is even more in flux after Corona and could result in a delta of new perspectives for the world of work and travel. As Airbnb 4.0 and new work-life balance in equal measure, so to speak.
Sylvie Konzack …
recently spent a few weeks living and working in Gran Canaria and couldn’t imagine anything better for the moment. Not only travelling for a manageable period of time, but also living and working on the move at the distant destination without having to change residence – she is convinced that the world of travel and work will become more colourful after Corona.
Fotos, from top to bottom: © iStock.com/jakkapan21; The Nautilus Maldives, © Club Med Punta Cana, © Club Med Cefalù Reykjanes Sandgerdi Cottages in Island / © Sandgerdi Cottages; Tiny House Waldeck in the Hollerhöfen / © Thomas Gruber_green apple