For more than two years now, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced businesses to reinvent or reimagine the workspace and employment to comply with lockdowns, social distancing rules, and health and safety guidelines in place to prevent or slow down the spread of the coronavirus.
Many companies adapted quickly and allowed their employees to work from home or remotely. While many regarded remote work as a fad less than three years ago, this is becoming a mainstream industry with tremendous potential for employers, employees, real estate agents and companies, and even hospitality providers.
Remote working to become mainstream after the pandemic
Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky recently told CNBC that he expects remote work to create a new segment of working travelers.
"I think the pandemic has created the biggest change to travel since the advent of commercial flying," Chesky tweeted earlier this year. "More people will start living abroad, others will travel for the entire summer, and some will even give up their leases and become digital nomads," he stated in another tweet.
In Germany, Labour Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) promises "a modern regulatory framework for mobile working" after the pandemic. Remote working is a "new freedom," according to Heil.
Sure, the remote work trend began forming years ago with travel bloggers and influencers. More than four million people were already working remotely from home before the COVID-19 pandemic, according to FlexJobs. These people are now joined by digital nomads from many fields, including programming, architecture and design, sales and marketing, research, customer support, etc. These people can now work anywhere in the world with an Internet connection. In fact, since the lines of work and vacation have blurred over time due to the era we’re living in, people may choose to work more and more during their vacation. They can do this easily by renting the hotel’s meeting room for instance, or any available workstation the property they’re staying at offers with the help of companies such as Book a Space which allows you to lease a meeting room at an hourly rate for example.
The CSO Pulse Survey found that 80% of those in employment worked remotely since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, compared to just 23% before the COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, 90% of these people consider working remotely even after the COVID-19 restrictions. The statistics drive the trends and the needed innovations in the field. In 2022, you can expect a boom in the remote work industry.
Workations will fuel an environment that prioritizes employee mental health
Workations are nothing new: they have been around for years as a term to define working while on vacation: work + vacation = workation. However, today, the word has a broader meaning, including exploring new travel destinations, productivity (work), mental health, focus on family, and personal growth. Since 2021, workations are considered the latest travel trend because most employees would like a better work/life balance and flexible work schedules.
Digital service providers capitalize on this trend, offering a suite of innovative solutions - software and apps - to help digital nomads balance their work/family life/vacation schedules.
Workations make the labour process more enjoyable and boost employee satisfaction - essential in a post-COVID environment, where employees count as a business's most valuable assets.
Location-independent employees will appreciate workations for the opportunity to combine work and travel. However, companies will have to adapt and rent co-working spaces at the employee's destination of choice or offer other arrangements, like supplying laptops and subsidizing other work-related expenses. One company took the concept of working on a vacation a step further. ROOMS is offering people to come and work at the company’s workspaces in Israel with all the perks and benefits at an extra charge that a hotel offers. Employees can book a space anywhere in the world using the company’s app or website, for instance, and enjoy the full hotel experience while working. From staying the night to having room service served to your meeting room, it’s safe to think people might start choosing their next vacation destination based on the workspace they prefer!
A broader pool of accommodation options for workations and digital nomads
Hotels and resorts worldwide are beginning to understand the trends and the digital nomads' need for special prices and packages that enable remote work in comfort and style.
One such example is The Graycliff Workation in the Bahamas, which gives digital nomads a 50% discount on hotel rates, for a minimum stay of 14 nights, plus resort experiences, including a PADI certification course in the hotel's pool, access to the swimming pool, cigar lounge, and more.
To respond to the demand for remote-work accommodation, hospitality professionals launched entire programs featuring curated listings, serviced apartments for extended stays, aparthotels, rooms, co-working spaces, activities, and more.
- Master offers Luxury Aparthotels & Serviced Apartments in Coveted Central Locations.
The unique concept of Master: "Come live like a local Where home meets hotel".
Master provides a unique living experience for both business travelers and leisure guests. Master offers longer stays, in larger units with fine design, all with a fully equipped kitchen, alongside inspiring common areas topped with great service including 24/7 guest support and concierge.
- Extended Stay America is a hospitality startup offering temporary housing and lodging in apartments or hotels in the USA. It launched in 2021 to respond to the need for extended accommodation during the COVID-19 lockdowns.
- Workation by JayWay Travel offers stays in ten European cities and has plans to expand to other destinations.
- in in India has an extensive database of properties suitable for remote workers.
- Blueground offers over 5000 furnished apartments in eight European countries, one in the Middle East and one in the USA.
- Family Workation has several exotic destinations in its database, all selected to enable digital nomads to offer their families an unforgettable experience while getting work done.
- Aruba launched a workation plan - One Happy Workation - for USA nationals. Remote workers can work from Aruba for a maximum of 90 days.
- Anyplace offers fully furnished monthly rentals all over the world. Their database is quite extensive, and their offers include essential benefits like utilities, high-speed Internet access via Wi-Fi, and cleaning.
Technology companies capitalize in a work-from-anywhere future
Remote work, co-working spaces, workations, and hybrid work are now trends, but experts forecast they will become the norm of the future.
As early as mid-2020, CBI Insights compiled a list of over 65 startups designed for the remote workforce. Although Zoom, WebEx, Slack, and others performed excellently for peer-to-peer meetings and collaborations, new startups offer more functionality and flexibility for the virtual office.
Newcomers like Threads challenge already popular platforms like Basecamp with excellent collaboration and communication tools, integrating with other services for extended flexibility and functionality.
Zoom, WebEx, and Skype perform well for video conferencing. Still, there are other platforms digital nomads can turn to when needed:
- Loom enables asynchronous video messaging.
- Around allows several users in the same co-working space to participate in video conferencing with all microphones on and no echo.
- Notion is a hub for asynchronous communication that connects teams, projects, and documents.
- Spatial allows users to create digital workspaces in the metaverse, collaborate, import content from other platforms, and even host social events in the metaverse for up to 32 people.
- Focusmate is a platform for collaboration and distraction-free productivity.
The list goes and will snowball to include companies that aim to provide even better, more affordable, and flexible solutions for remote workers, digital nomads, and their employers.