When we consider the post-Pandemic normalcy of the hybrid working model, we look at two distinct work environments: Working from home versus working at the office.
But for those with fairly simple requirements—many knowledge economy jobs today demand little more than a MacBook Air—it’s a comparison between working at the office and working anywhere in the world with a reasonable internet connection.
“For an increasing number of workers, hybrid working offers the opportunity to work wherever we will be the most productive,” says International Workplace Group founder Mark Dixon. “And thanks to cloud technology, that can be anywhere in the world, provided there’s a high-quality internet connection available.”
Working from home for some is not ideal; a cramped condo may not offer an ergonomic working space, or an armada of kids might constantly threaten derailment of productivity. These people, even before Covid-19 upended convention, found solace in quiet cafes (or a noisy Starbucks) as well as professional co-working spaces, which were already rising in popularity pre-Pandemic.
Whether freelancing from Tim Horton’s or working in pyjamas on corporate payroll, today’s laptop class seeks out the flexibility to work where, when, and how they want.
Indeed, according to research from Dixon’s IWG, improved work-life balance is the most common benefit cited for working from anywhere. The ability to spend more time with friends and family abroad, save money by traveling during off-peak times, and enjoy longer holidays are other advantages mentioned.
Given that the lines between work and play have long been blurred for knowledge workers—who hasn’t checked or sent a work email after-hours once, if not a thousand times?—it only makes sense to extend such flexibility to its logical conclusion. This approach includes a formerly sacrilegious endeavour: blending work with vacation.
Research by IWG found that 88% of hybrid workers “worked from anywhere” last year, while 57% extended holidays by working from abroad. Two-thirds of workers believe they can effectively perform their jobs from abroad.
The term “workation” may aggravate readers as much as hearing “staycation”—isn’t it just another way to diminish the relaxing escape of a proper vacation? On some level, perhaps it is so. But on another, it’s an opportunity. The ability to work from anywhere, including during a vacation, is powerful. Why not take advantage?
“It’s no wonder that more and more individuals are embracing the idea of combining work with travel,” Dixon said, “whether it’s for a few days tacked on to the end of a vacation, or a few months as a digital nomad.”
Of course, not every city is a great place to have a “workation.”
IWG analyzed more than two dozen cities around the world to discover where one can vacation and yet still work seamlessly.
With several thousand restaurants and even more connected cafes, the multicultural Toronto ranked alongside Barcelona as the world’s top spot for a workation.
Toronto, ranking ahead of icons such as New York and Beijing, scored high for accommodation, happiness, and a wealth of flexible workspaces. Canada’s largest city also features 25% of the city covered in forests and 18% dedicated to parks, providing green spaces for relaxation amidst bustling urbanity.
On the downside, Toronto’s cost of living—including the price of a coffee at the cafe where you want to work—is among the highest on the list.
Other top picks from the top 10 include Amsterdam, Paris, and Jakarta.
IWG operates 3,500 flexible office locations in more than 120 countries as hybrid work remains prevalent.
“This trend is set to accelerate further,” believes Dixon, “and we will continue to see more and more companies embracing [work-from-anywhere] policies to improve employees’ work-life balance and increase their attractiveness as an employer.”
The company has previously used research to determine the perfect hybrid work week.