Work Away – the new trend taking you to amazing places
More and more of us are working from home. Over the past 12 months it’s become part of everyday life for millions across the UK. But now you can take your work away with you – making ‘home’ somewhere a bit more exciting for a few weeks, a month or even longer.
Just imagine working from home when ‘home’ happens to be a cosy lodge in Iceland with views of an ice-capped volcano. Or a stylish log cabin deep in Finnish Lapland, where you once you’ve finished work you need only step outside to witness the midnight sun or northern lights. It looks like a trend that’s set to stay as increasing numbers of businesses adopt a more flexible approach to working hours and locations.
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), social distancing measures introduced in response to the coronavirus pandemic have resulted in around 50% of adults in employment working from home. A few years before Covid struck, however, the ONS was already tracking home working figures and predicting that half the UK workforce would be working remotely by 2020 as attitudes changed and network capabilities improved.
Self-employed freelancers have long enjoyed the benefits of flexible working, while so-called ‘digital nomads’ have taken laptop roaming to extremes. But for employers and employees alike, the benefits of home working are also becoming increasingly recognised. As well as reduced office costs and increased staff retention, companies are realising that productivity, motivation and morale are boosted among remote workers. From a practical point of view, faster and more widely available Wi-Fi, easily accessible cloud storage, team collaboration apps (such as Trello and Slack) and video conferencing tools like Zoom have made the office truly portable.
But why stop at home? You can take your laptop – and your working life – anywhere you like, as long as you stay connected. Our new Work Away programme features outstanding self-catering properties in amazing destinations throughout Nordic Europe that are perfect for combining work and play. Each property has home-from-home essentials like Wi-Fi, kitchen and laundry facilities. Not only is car hire and accommodation included, but your Work Away break is tailor made to feature any excursions and activities you want to enjoy in your time off.
Here are four of our favourite places to Work Away:
A cottage in remote West Iceland, close to the sea and with views of a volcano
Just two hours’ drive from Reykjavik, the Snaefellsnes Peninsula is like Iceland in miniature – ruggedly mountainous with a spectacular, Atlantic-gnawed coastline. There’s even a perfect volcanic cone at its tip – the ice-encrusted Snaefellsjokull. Dropped into this wild, get-away-from-it-all landscape is Glacier Lodge, a modern, three-bedroom cottage with volcanic vistas guaranteed to lift the spirits of any home worker jaded by the same old back-garden view. Miles from artificial light pollution, this is a great spot for northern lights watching. Stay in summer and you get almost endless hours of daylight – with ample time for exploration when you’re not working. You might want to wander down to the local café with its fabulous terrace overlooking a rocky cove, or walk the coastal path between Arnarstapi and Hellnar, admiring sea stacks, arches and seabird colonies along the way. Hop in your rental car and everything from whale watching boat trips to the volcanic craters, lava fields and black-sand beaches of Snaefellsjokull National Park are just a short drive away.
A lodge in Swedish Lapland, on the shores of the Baltic with its own sandy beach
If you like adventure activities right on your doorstep, Brandon Lodge is the perfect place to combine work and pleasure – at any time of year. Tucked into forest on the shores of the Gulf of Bothnia (the northernmost arm of the Baltic Sea), the pine-log property has a scattering of two-bedroom cabins where you can work in peace, with your own kitchen, lounge etc. But when you close your laptop and the great outdoors beckons, Brandon Lodge has everything you could dream off for a wilderness escape – from snowmobiles, dog sleds, snowshoes and even a hovercraft in winter to fat-bikes, kayaks and fishing rods in summer. It’s a fabulous aurora-spotting location between September and March, while beach yoga, forest foraging and nature walks come into their own during warmer months. Of course, you may just want to relax after work, in which case, the waterside sauna/jacuzzi cabins and lodge lounge and bar are a short stroll away.
An Arctic log cabin in Finnish Lapland, with forest and lakes on your doorstep
Dense, pine-scented taiga forest, shimmering lakes, wild rivers, 24hr daylight… during summer, the Ruka-Kuusamo region of Finnish Lapland – about 85km north of the Arctic Circle – is an invigorating place to connect with nature. In winter, the trees are bowed under the weight of snow, the aurora borealis dances overhead and you’re close to one of Finland’s best winter sports resorts. Whenever you choose to visit, however, you’ll feel calm and clear-headed – ready to tackle anything from spreadsheets to snowmobiles, business plans to bear watching. At Rukan Salonki you can stay in stylish log-pole villas – step inside from the wilderness to find a cosy fireplace, sauna, Wi-Fi, climate control and stargazing skylights. Cook your own meals, eat out at the onsite wild-food restaurant, or have meals delivered to your chalet… it’s a wilderness break, but more frills than Bear Grylls.
A converted fishermen’s cabin at the water’s edge in Norway’s Lofoten Islands
When it comes to jaw-dropping scenery, Europe’s Far North reaches a crescendo in the Lofoten Islands. A scimitar-shaped archipelago, diced into dragon-backed peaks and cleaved with steep fjords, the Lofotens are Norway’s very own Middle Earth – a fantastical land of soaring mountains, hidden valleys, wild shores and intriguing villages. Add Viking heritage, rich wildlife and a plethora of adventure activities and it’s not hard to see why these islands are such a sought-after destination. Based in a modern lodge (with floor-to-ceiling windows for optimal aurora or midnight sun viewing) or a traditional rorbu fishermen’s cabin that’s been modernised to create a comfy bolthole, the prospect of remote working here becomes even more appealing. The E10 road snakes through the archipelago, allowing easy, free-spirited touring during your weekends and time off, while activities range from hiking, mountain biking and kayaking to sea eagle safaris and sampling delicious local seafood.