If you’ve been working remotely over the last year, you might be growing a little tired of your home office (or sofa, kitchen table, etc). Not being able to visit your favourite holiday destinations has been hard enough, but without even the trip to the office lots of us are suffering from serious travel withdrawal.
As working from home becomes the norm, many workplaces will be offering full-time remote hours and scrapping mandatory office attendance. The ‘digital nomad’ lifestyle offers professionals the chance to take their laptop with them to work wherever they are - and that doesn’t just mean your living room. So, how about taking a ‘working holiday’ to the next level with a lockdown-busting workcation?
Being able to work remotely from abroad will of course depend on your employer and the type of work you do. Before you start packing up your laptop, you’ll need to take everything into careful consideration and discuss it with your colleagues and managers.
"Since everyone has been working remotely and are accustomed to this type of work, workcations can actually be beneficial for employees, as it lets them take some extra time to focus on themselves, their relationships, or their mental health,” Jacob Dayan, CEO and Co-founder of Finance Pal told us. “However… ultimately, permitting workcations depends on the relationship and levels of trust between an employer and employee."
You’ll also need to consider how easy it will be to set a good working routine in your chosen destination, as well as sort out acquiring the correct working visa. Stephen Ravenscroft, Head of Employment at Memery Crystal LLP, warns that there may be “unintended local and international tax consequences both in terms of payroll taxes and corporation taxes” which you should research before making any plans. In general, Stephen emphasises that any ‘workcation’ needs to be thoroughly thought through: “Generally speaking, international postings should be planned well in advance rather than allowed to occur on an ad hoc basis.”
We looked at several factors - including time difference, average temperature, internet speed and even the cost of an after-work pint - to put together a guide to the best countries around the world for remote working.
There’s no time difference between our table-topper Portugal and the UK, so you won’t even need to move any meetings around when you make the switch. Portugal ranks in the top three for safety too, for added peace of mind. One of the most affordable countries to live in in Western Europe, this is a comfortable spot to set up a remote working station thanks to faster than average broadband and a vast array of accommodation options.
Enjoying almost 8 hours of sunshine every day and boasting average highs of almost 30°C, Antigua & Barbuda is your palm-fringed desktop background come to life. Use the islands’ reliable Wi-Fi to get your emails, spreadsheets, documents and meetings done during the day, and spend your lunch breaks and evenings on the sand. Come Friday evening, shut your laptop and spend the weekend exploring this tropical paradise, all without having to take any time off work.
Video call backgrounds don’t get better than this. Conduct your business from Barbados with ease thanks to excellent internet (that’s faster than the global average). Even Mondays feel better here, as you’ll feel your mood lifted by more than 8 hours of daily sunshine and average highs of 29.9°C. You’ll find yourself more motivated to smash your goals too, especially by the super-cheap after-work pints and killer sunsets.
Sunny Spain is a brilliant option for remote workers with itchy feet. With just an hour’s time difference from the UK you won’t have to set an early bird alarm to connect with colleagues back home. Plus, the short-haul commute means you probably won’t even have to use up any annual leave on travel, so you can save it all for Mediterranean adventures at the weekend. Of course, added benefits include working in the sun, reliable healthcare, warm temperatures and fast broadband connections (third fastest on our list).
One of the happiest places on the list, Austria is ranked in the top 5 for security, top 10 for healthcare and boasts reliable Wi-Fi. It’s also just an hour ahead of the UK, so you’ll have no trouble keeping your normal working hours. If you base yourself in Vienna, you’ll be able to take advantage of a growing number of coworking spaces and laptop-friendly cafes, plus you can spend lunch breaks and evenings exploring the city’s cycle paths.
Japan ranks in the top 10 for both security and healthcare, and offers remote workers access to excellent Wi-Fi, too. This is a country renowned for its technology after all, so you’re sure to find plenty of places to plug in in any of the major towns or cities. You’ll also be able to level up your lunch - swap your meal deal for some of Asia’s most mouthwatering cuisine on a daily basis.
The Land of the Long White Cloud has a reputation for being a sought after place to live, and for good reason. Remote workers here can make use of great Wi-Fi, a top 2 security ranking and an affordable price to stay. Fuel up on great coffee during the week, and spend the weekend adventuring in places like Queenstown (known as the ‘Adventure Capital of the World’), Hobbiton and the spectacular Milford Sound.
Holidays to Dubai are always popular, so why not make the most of yours and make it a working one? Here you’ll find excellent and reliable broadband that makes communicating with the office a breeze, plus there’s only a 4 hour time difference between the Emirates and the UK. Apply for the 1-year Work Remotely From Dubai visa programme and log on from the many digital work spaces, luxury hotel business centres or excellent cafes.
Thanks to strong internet connections, reliable transport services, a great coffee culture and a widespread use of spoken English, the Netherlands is a top choice for UK home workers looking for a new setting. Weather wise, this is a pretty neutral place that doesn’t typically suffer from stifling summers or frozen winters. Plus, cities like Amsterdam, the Hague and Rotterdam are great for digital professionals thanks to a variety of coworking spaces.
The journey to Australia might be a long one, but once you’re there as a remote worker you won’t need to use up any more holiday days to explore. The country’s urban centres are fantastic for digital nomads with excellent Wi-Fi, plenty of cafes and a huge choice of accommodation. Plus, the under-30 working visa is a great option for many young professionals looking to take their laptop abroad. Enjoy famously sunny weather and look forward to barbecues, beaches, wildlife and coastal adventures every Friday evening.