The Rising Tide of Coworking Holidays

Working holiday

Ever taken work on holiday with you?

If you’re a business centre owner or manager, the answer is probably yes. Even if you leave your briefcase behind, no doubt you regularly check-in on emails and general office activity during your stay.

Aside from the fact this falls short of a healthy work/life balance, it’s impossible to ignore the tech-enabled trend of working anywhere which can, and does, mean a rising tide of ‘working holidays’.

We saw it back in 2013 with Gran Canaria’s Surf Office. Such is the growing popularity of working holidays that since their launch two years ago, the Surf Office has set up a second coworking space in California with two more planned for 2015.

We’ve also seen a number of new coworking spaces in mountain ski resorts, including CoSpace Elevate in Colorado and The Network Hub in Whistler.

Working holidays

Coworking spaces in exotic locations is nothing new. But now the business world is waking up to the true value of coworking, and entrepreneurs with a thirst for travel are mixing business and leisure in ever new and innovative ways.

Entrepreneur Raphaël Harmel set off on a travelling adventure in 2014, and found coworking spaces invaluable whilst building his startup venture, Speecheo.

“Normally when you arrive to a new location, you have to find a place to live and a place to work,” he told The New York Times. “For digital nomads and entrepreneurs like me, [coworking] is definitely the best existing option.”

To help smooth the ride for coworkers seeking a place to land, networks such as the Mountain Alliance have cropped up. Naturally, it also helps coworking spaces increase their marketing power and gain traction with winter sports enthusiasts.

The Coworking Visa is perhaps a better-known example. From Mali to Moldova, Ukraine to Uruguay, the Coworking Visa connects coworking spaces on a truly global scale, allowing workers to touchdown at listed workspaces as part of their membership. Just take a look at the Coworking Visa Map to see the full picture.

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In addition to offering coworking space, many of these workspace locations are now offering accommodation too. Dubbed ‘coworkation’, guests of these working holidays don’t necessarily un-plug during their stay. Aside from a spot of sightseeing, they keep working. They simply trade a desk in one part of the world for another.

“We do not unplug or send out-of-office emails. With the availability of wireless and high-speed internet, you can work from basically anywhere these days,” blogs Liza Jansen for Quartz. “Then why not from Bali? Where you can start the day doing yoga in a rice paddy, go surfing in the afternoon and climb a volcano – or three in one day if you wish – during the weekend.”

While this sounds like an unforgettable experience for untethered workers, what does it have to do with a bricks-and-mortar business?

The opportunity lies in targeting would-be ‘coworkationers’ and offering your space as a place to land. Don’t think your location is tourist material? Go tell that to your local councillor! From travellers who are passing through, to holidaymakers looking to stay and see the sights, your location always has something to offer. You could even go one step further by partnering with a local hotel or backpackers’ hostel and proactively invite holidaymakers to use your space.

Above all, this is yet another example of how the flexible workspace sector can adapt and change to suit multiple different scenarios. Work and play is becoming ever more intertwined, and with travel and holidays thrown into the mix, there is a suitcase-load of opportunities just waiting to be explored.

Image: PicJumbo

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