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Business Travel in a new world

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The lines between business traveller and digital nomad are blurring to become one in the same

By Louis Mann, Homelike

It goes without saying that Covid has changed the way we live and work and in keeping with that business travel has also changed. Instead of simply travelling to work and returning home immediately, the rise of ‘digital nomads’ has seen those travelling on business extend their stays overseas and blur the lines between business and leisure – ‘Bleasure’.  The key is to make sure that while away and working, you make the most of the time you have and ensure an equal balance between work and leisure.

The ultimate goal is to be productive in working remotely away from your usual dwelling, while also integrating leisure time. More and more people are becoming curious about remote work, and going on a workation test if they are able to work outside an office and combine ‘business travel’ with leisure travel.

It may be that your job has taken you away for a set time period for business travel purposes and you are now seeking a way to extend that way and continue to work remotely but from a new, diverse, exciting location.

Digital nomads have led this trend and set an example for others to follow.

Long-time digital nomad James Gonzales emphasizes the importance of separating work and personal life.

Here we have some top tips for finding the right place to stay/work and also tips on ensuring you create the right work life balance while setting into a new way of combining business and leisure travel.

Finding housing for digital nomads

It’s safe to say that the last few years have seen some of the biggest changes in the way we live our day-to-day lives. From lockdowns at home and absences from the workplace to non-existent socialising and an end to leisure activities – life, as we knew it, was turned upside down. Now, this might have all seemed doom and gloom considering the circumstances, but this change in the way we live both our professional and home lives has had an unseen positive knock-on effect in other areas.

Many professionals and employees have realised that the newly implemented remote and flexible work policies have allowed them to work free from the anchor of a company office or workspace. This has given birth to far more remote workers and digital nomads seeking the freedom of movement while still building a career.

With a whole new generation of people aiming to live this modern nomadic life, 1 in 3 remote workers plan to relocate or work from abroad; the accommodation has begun to evolve and adapt the world over to receive them.

Let’s take a look at the ever-growing choice of digital nomad accommodation and how it can help you lead a freer and more fulfilling working life.

  1. Short Term lets/apartments

When traveling and working around the world as a digital nomad, it can often be a struggle to find accommodation to suit your lifestyle. 19% of new digital nomads even said they find it challenging to find accommodation in new places. One of the more popular options for short-term stays is to rent an apartment on a short-term basis, covering only a few months at a time.

The advantage of living in a short-term apartment is feeling grounded in your own space, without any long-term commitments. You can agree with the landlord, or lady, a preferred length of stay, be it a few weeks or a couple of months. Short-term apartments also mean you don’t have to trade your domestic lifestyle in while you’re on the road. Apartments will have all comforts you may have enjoyed at home, but you are able to up and leave to your next exciting destination.

There are a few possible negatives to choosing short-term apartments.  Firstly, you may warm to the place and want to stay. You will, however, have to relinquish it for the next tenant coming in unless the stay can be renegotiated.  Furthermore, short term let rates tend to be higher than mid or long term and in most cases, you’ll also have to pay upfront for the whole stay, which can add unwanted financial pressure.

With more and more property owners seeing the potential of housing options for a digital nomad, there will be a continuous rise in short-term lets/apartments worldwide. For now, websites such as Airbnb are perfect for finding digital nomad housing such as short-term apartments.

  1. Long term lets/ apartments

Although digital nomad rentals are often seen as short-term stays by nature, there are times when long-term properties are more appropriate. Working from ‘home’ in your new location and new apartment is a fantastic way to approach a new digital nomad lifestyle. Although you may remain in your apartment all day for work, you shouldn’t be any less creative. Only 18% of remote workers worry about their creative output outside the office, so working from your long-term apartment is likely to be a positive working environment.

The advantage of renting long-term digital nomad accommodation is that feeling of long-term security. Having a year-long lease on an apartment, for example, means you no longer need to worry about how you’re going to find accommodation for the many months you are in that location.

Another advantage of renting a long-term apartment is the huge availability of properties on the market. Unlike possible problems with short-term apartments, landlords favour long-term tenants, so acquiring a long-term apartment isn’t as difficult as it may seem.

A disadvantage of long-term apartments is the inability to leave at such short notice. Committing to a long period of a year often means you are contractually obliged to pay this period.

Long-term apartments can be found on the ground through a multitude of local estate agencies around the world. When it comes to long-term housing options for digital nomads, long-term lets is one of the most reassuring.

  1. Mid stay apartments

Securing a new apartment in a new location is a fantastic feeling, but then comes all the other added expenditures, including internet, appliances, furniture, and personal belongings. As a digital nomad, you want to be able to move in and get going without getting hung up on these things – this is where the mid stay serviced apartment, for stays of over one month, comes into its own.

Serviced apartments are properties that are completely kitted out with everything you could possibly need from the moment you walk through the door. By including things such as internet, appliances, kitchen utensils, a washing machine, and dryers in your rent bill, you have everything you could possibly need. As a digital nomad, you are often on the move all the time, so having a serviced apartment suits that lifestyle perfectly. Another advantage of choosing a serviced apartment is the ease of moving out day. There is no bulky dinner set to carry out or no frustrating internet provider you must negotiate with, everything is there from the get-go, and you can close the door on it all once you leave.  There is also the benefit of regular monthly payments, making it easier for users to budget accordingly.

The only possible downside for choosing a serviced apartment as your digital nomad accommodation is the chance the rent will be higher than a traditional long let lease. Yet, when you balance the extra cost in rent with the extra furnishes you receive, it is a price worth paying.  Resources such as Homelike are perfect for sourcing mid-term rental properties.

Once you’ve found the perfect apartment, the next step to settling into a life of living and working in a new location, while also enjoying the sights and culture it has to offer, is creating the perfect work/life balance.

These are our top tips to set you along the right track:

1.    Set work hours

Even though “workation” has “work” in it, it would be a mistake to treat the whole day as a time for work, as this would only lead to burnout later on. Setting work hours gives the mind a limited time to work and also time to rest. Inform clients and co-workers what time your work hours are and try to only entertain urgent matters when you are contacted outside of those hours. This not only lessens the stress on your part but also signals to people to respect your time.

2.    Set goals

Goals give a sense of urgency that there are things that need to be accomplished during work hours, so you don’t wonder what you should be doing next. Setting goals also puts things into perspective; if there are many items on the to-do list, order them according to how much you can manage for the day to make them appear more doable. Together with setting work hours, having goals can help with productivity by always giving the mind something to focus on and to achieve the task within a set amount of time.

3.    Have a routine

Working outside a physical office might give some difficulty to following any work hours and goals that have been set, especially since you don’t have to leave for work and can wake up just a few minutes before your work hours. Try to establish a routine from the very first day. This trains the body and mind that you should already be doing something specific at a given time. Psychotherapist and executive performance coach Jonathan Alpert explains that routines involve the whole day, not just work hours, such as maintaining a healthy sleep schedule and setting aside time to eat properly.

4.    Avoid social media

Checking any social media is a black hole to mindless scrolling. If you’re scrolling during normal work hours, chances are that the people you are chatting with really shouldn’t be on social media either. Anything that isn’t an emergency can wait until after work is done for the day. Being on social media when you shouldn’t be is also a signal to people who know you are online that they can contact you whenever they want. Even just “checking in with the real world” breaks your mindset of professionalism, and it might be hard to refocus on your task afterward.

5.    Don’t overwork

Overworking won’t do anyone good, and burning out will only make it harder to rebound. Even though work comes first in a workation, don’t forget that it’s still a vacation as well. The Wellbeing Thesis emphasizes that breaks detach a person from work, reducing stress and giving them time to recover from work exhaustion. Aside from lunch breaks, mini-breaks are helpful as well. These involve just a few minutes of rest where you can get a glass of water, get a snack, or walk around to stretch. But don’t get too carried away and lengthen the breaks, as this would make them counterproductive.

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