A few months ago, working from home was a pipedream for many. All around the world, the coronavirus pandemic, of course, has changed all that, and the way we all work has been dramatically shaken up. According to Global Workplace Analytics, an estimated 25 to 30 per cent of the world’s workforce will be working from home multiple days a week by the end of 2021.
But this new way of working may not be all that it is cracked up to be. Long days in isolation, the merging of work-living spaces and the loss of socialising are all downsides to slogging away from your own address. Those tired of tapping away on their laptops on the sofa, however, can perhaps be inspired with a number of new initiatives in which you can combine your wanderlust with your working life (and we’re not talking about a tropical beach backdrop for your next zoom meeting).
Barbados kicked things off when it announced its Barbados Welcome Stamp at the end of July. The remote work visa, open to applicants worldwide, allows visitors to be able to work on the island for a year. To qualify, you must earn at least £39,760 (US$50,000) per year, and have health insurance in place. There’s also a payment of either £1,590 (US$2,000) per person, or £2,385 (US$3,000) per family. Whether you set up shop on Mullins Beach or head to the rugged east coast to hang out (in your spare time) with the surfers, working from the Caribbean just got a lot easier.
With tourism numbers falling dramatically around the globe, other Caribbean islands are also rethinking about how best to bring in much-needed visitors at this time, and have also launched similar visa schemes. Combining low Covid-19 rates, ravishing landscapes and safe and peaceful lifestyles, decamping to the tropics has never been so appealing.
Anguilla – famous for its 33 white beaches and azure seas – has launched a longer-stay visa allowing digital nomads to work there for a year. While Antigua’s new visa programme – the Nomad Digital Residence – also means you can pick up sticks and work from ‘paradise’ for 12 months (just enough time to try out each of the island’s 365 beaches).
HolidayPirates, one of Europe’s leading travel platforms, recently carried out a survey on the subject and it’s no surprise that it found that 68% of participants would prefer to work from a paradise island, while 32% said they would prefer to work from a log cabin, as opposed to working from home.
Nick Cooper, head of Market UK for HolidayPirates, said: “A number of beautiful tropical islands, such as Barbados, Aruba and Anguilla are offering extended visas for digital nomads desperate for a change of scenery. Right now, it is also still possible for Brits to take an extended stay in Europe before the Brexit transition period is over and find a log cabin in Scandinavia, or Eastern Europe. Georgia, for example, is allowing various nationalities to live there for a year without a visa.”
To cater to the demand, increasing numbers of hotel chains, destinations and even pubs are offering new initiatives and packages to work from their facilities, with many offering deals to support workers with their new-found digital nomad lifestyle.
At Cobblers Cove in Barbados, the recently refurbished luxury hotel is offering thoughtful touches and special rates for long-staying guests. Those booking stays of over two weeks will enjoy a free laundry service, as well as their own personal maid service. In addition, the minibar will be re-stocked daily with their choice of soft drinks. Active guests can unwind after a hard day’s work with a series of guided hiking experiences across the island, including a 7.5 mile East to West Coast hike and a 10,000 step hike directly from Cobblers Cove to Holetown.
British interior designer, Soane Britain oversaw the recent revamp at the family-run property, which sees an elegant mix-match of pastel-hued interiors, hand-printed linens, botanical prints and bespoke furniture – in short, the prettiest ‘office’ setting you’ll ever experience.
Having just reopened for its 59th season, Curtain Bluff in Antigua has launched an Extended Stay package to take advantage of the island’s Nomad Digital Residence visa. It is offering 50 per cent off stays for 21 days or more, booked in the Hulford Collection of suites, and will be valid for travel: October 24 – December 16, 2020; January 4 – May 31, 2021 (check Terms & Conditions for full details).
Meanwhile, at Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort in St. Lucia, you can set up your new home-office-away-from-home on the famous Sugar Beach, which is framed by 100 acres of lush rainforest and the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Pitons. The hotel’s new Work from Paradise package includes VIP airport transfers, a private butler, a Swedish massage, your own cabana at the main pool, and access to indoor and outdoor working spaces (it’s so relaxing that you might need a prompt to remember to log on each day!)
If the tropics are too far-flung, then perhaps, instead, you can find a change of scenery a bit closer to home. The Marylebone hotel, a Doyle Collection property in central London, for instance, has converted a selection of rooms on its first floor into stylish workspaces, with the brand launching its DC Workspace membership initiative. Transformed to create private offices for up to three people, members can book a private space at The Marylebone on a monthly basis and will benefit by having all the facilities of a five-star hotel and restaurant to hand.
The membership includes hotel concierge, room service, 10% discount on food and beverages, at 108 Brasserie and the Cocktail Bar, as well as Third Space gym and pool, situated below the hotel. Part of a wider initiative by The Doyle Collection, The Marylebone will be the first in the collection to launch ‘DC Workspace’ from October 2020.
The Milestone Hotel & Residences, found opposite Kensington Palace, has developed what it is calling the ultimate Work from Hotel day package as a response to the new working world. Guests can set up in their own residence, which has its own private entrance and views overlooking Kensington Palace. After a day hard at work, they can later down tools for a luxurious overnight stay.
With a personal work and wellness butler at their beck and call, there’s no excuse not to focus. Meals, teas, coffees and soft drinks will be delivered throughout the day, as well as a hamper of homemade treats as a pick-me-up to help guests pull through an afternoon of back to back Zoom calls. The work and wellness butler is also on hand to have personal business cards printed and can also double up as a jogging partner for lunch time runs through Kensington Palace Gardens. A chauffeur-driven car is also included for running to and from important meetings in the city. The day will end with a bespoke menu consultation and dinner with the property’s executive chef, Rob Creaser before retiring to their rooms feeling relaxed and ready to face a new dawn. It’s work, but not as you know it.
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