After an extended stint working remotely from a Noosa holiday home, sales manager Nick Walsh knows exactly where he stands on the work-from-home debate.
“I don’t want to work in a place where I’m required to be in the office full-time ever again,” he said.
Mr Walsh has embraced the trend of simply grabbing a laptop and getting to work from the most scenic spot you can find. Every day for three months, he propped his laptop onto a shonky ironing board, looked through the window at the sparkling Noosa coastline and started his business day. And he’s never felt happier at work.
When COVID shut down offices in Sydney, he saw it as an opportune time for he and his partner (pictured right) to pack up and head to his parents’ Noosa holiday home. But Mr Walsh continued working full-time, just, for the first time in his career, he was doing his job remotely.
“There was never a culture at any of my workplaces that allowed for remote working. Then obviously everything changed with COVID,” said Mr Walsh.
He found he got all his work done each day, while the grind took nothing away from the beauty he was enjoying around him.
“Noosa’s a pretty place so it’s hard to feel like you’re not on holidays,” said Mr Walsh.
“It was nice to duck down to the beach for an hour in the middle of the day or to be working by the pool.
“I got into a routine of getting up early and going for walks on the beach. There’s a massive national park that separates [the holiday home] and Noosa Headland, which is probably one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been in my life. We walked there constantly, discovering all these new little bays along the national park.”
Mr Walsh also enjoyed more flexible hours, despite some of the challenges that come with remote working.
“The work-life balance was interesting: you have all this beautiful scenery in front of you that you want to take advantage of but you’ve also got to work.
“It’s a balance of splitting that up and making sure you’re getting everything done. Mentally I think it’s super-good for people to at least have the option – not being in the office all day is really good.”
Having experienced a taste of the workation, Mr Walsh can’t see himself going back to a job that doesn’t allow remote working. He already had his eyes on a few more destinations. “I’m a big fan of the coast, so Western Australia, particularly Margaret River. I also want to go up to the Top End and see Kakadu, and Far North Queensland.
“I want to be somewhere where there’s beautiful landscapes and good places to walk and swim.”
Mr Walsh is certainly not alone in looking at making permanent his changed working day in a post-COVID world.
Research from global travel tech company Amadeus shows that more and more Australians are leaning towards a more flexible and nomadic working life. There has been a 71 per cent increase in travel searches for 26-day stays since 2019 and a 22 per cent increase for 30-day stays.
The data shows that Aussies are directing their workations towards the beaches, with Sydney to Gold Coast being the most searched destination for longer stays.
According to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in February 2021, 41 per cent of employees worked from home at least once per week and 47 per cent of workers are expecting their number of hours working from home to remain the same after the pandemic.
Australia’s 5 top workation destinations
If you’re dreaming of replacing your alarm clock with bird calls and desk lunches with beach picnics, try these workation ideas.
Blue Mountains, NSW
One of Australia’s most naturally beautiful places, the Blue Mountains is a pretty attractive prospect for a working holiday. Imagine watching the sun set over the Three Sisters before clocking into work. Katoomba and Leura have all the connectivity and amenities you’ll need to keep on top of tasks in between your explorations of the gorgeous region.
Byron Bay, NSW
Escaping to the beach is many a city-worker’s dream and Byron Bay is often top of their list. But approach with caution: many who have had a taste of the relaxed coastal lifestyle find it difficult to ever go back to city living – or in-office working.
It’s tough to imagine something more perfect than clocking off on a Friday and deciding whether the Daintree or Great Barrier Reef should be your home for the weekend. Not to mention tropical weather all year round and a great city to explore.
Hobart is a perfect destination for remote working because while you’ll have all the connectivity and comfort of a big city, Tasmania is small enough that you’ll be able to drive off to a different corner of it each weekend. You can spend your week enjoying the fabulous food, culture and location of Hobart and fill your weekend with Tasmania’s famous hiking and nature.
Margaret River, WA
The wine-region town is isolated enough to be away from all the city’s stresses but it still has all the amenities you’ll need – not to mention some of the best beaches and wine in the entire country.