The demand for remote working has increased exponentially over the last few years, fuelled by employees' desire for flexibility and legislation supporting a better work-life balance.
But as the global economy gathers strength, working hours and inbound business trips increase too. With many workers struggling to carve out quality time with their families, we're seeing a new business trend: the 'workation'.
Not be confused with 'working from home', the workation came to our shores from the US, where it is championed as 'the hassle-free way to make time for business and family'. Before you get carried away and book a round the world ticket, a workation is more than just a few cursory checks of your email from the beach. You are expected to spend part of the time away putting in full eight-hour workday. But the pay-off is that you get to do it from exotic destination, before closing your laptop and heading straight off to see the sights for a few days.
Oliver Hanlon, management consultant, recently took a workation to New York after he spotted some cheap flights.
"I really didn't want to miss out on this opportunity, so I asked my boss for a week's workation. Normally, you are so rushed on a city break that you only ever tick off the main sites - Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty and Central Park - and miss out on soaking up the city. That's not what I wanted. Modern life is hectic enough without feeling rushed when you're exploring somewhere new, so this way I got to spend a week working and playing in one of the coolest cities on earth."
The workation has already been embraced by industries where many employees work remotely, but other sectors are also starting to view it as a way to reward employees without too much upheaval (or expense). Our research has found half (48%) of global professionals now work outside the main office at least some of the time, so a workation city break makes perfect sense for more traditional businesses thanks to the proliferation of cool collaborative workspaces springing up in global hubs like London, Melbourne and New York.
Of course, the risk is that people take fewer actual holiday days so aren't switching off properly when they are entitled to. This is NOT what we want see, and the trick will be to find the balance as workationing becomes commonplace over the next year or so.
But undeniably, the significant increase we're seeing in people 'workcationing' across our expanding international network points to people working smarter and more flexibly. And ultimately, that can only lead to a healthy work-life balance across the global workforce.
Guest post By Martijn Roordink, Managing Director, Spaces to coincide with the opening of Spaces London