Europe

Canary Islands target Europe’s growing numbers of remote workers

A recent study has found that around 40% of people in the EU began working from home because of the coronavirus pandemic.

As winter kicks in, some flexible workers are looking to ditch often lonely and isolated home offices for warmer climes.

It’s a decision those working in the hospitality sector in Spain’s Canary Islands have embraced.

The pandemic has caused a huge impact on the islands’ main source of income: tourism.

The region is set to lose 16 billion euros of income this year after the pandemic emptied its hotels and tourist attractions.

Trying to diversify their revenue and promote longer stays the regional government has launched a campaign to attract 30 thousand national and international workers to work remotely from the islands.

“It’s nice surroundings, it is true,” says photographer and graphic designer, Christine Bay. “There is a pool in front of me, there’s the ocean in front of me, I am still doing my daily work, and then afterwards, maybe I’ll go for a dive or a hike.”

For half the year Bay works from her home in Germany. This time she decided to escape the cold and the COVID19 restrictions for a different office.

“I think if I was staying at home now, in my own apartment, having my home office, and no contact with anyone in this cold dark weather, I would become depressed.”

“It’s about enabling all our know-how on the industry of hospitality and how to welcome people and taking care of them to achieve longer periods of stay,” explains Jose Juan Lorenzo, the director of Canary Islands Tourism.

The islands are not only offering co-working spaces. Companies like repeople.co have set up co-living, as well as co-working spaces for teleworkers on the Canary Islands.

“Remote working can be lonely. Especially when you work from home because you don’t have this social interaction that you normally have in the office,” says Nacho Rodríguez, the founder of repeople.co.

Workers can share projects and then plan the activities they would like to do together after work.

“We live in this amazing place and the beach is just over the road,” says Danielle Lee, a British accountant who is now living and working remotely in Gran Canaria.

“The ethos here is work hard, play hard. We work during the week and then do the most amazing weekend trips. It’s a very productive and inspiring environment to work in.”

Lee signed up to ‘Wifi Tribe’, an organisation offering people the opportunity to work remotely and travel in their co-living and co-working spaces all over the world, including the Canary Islands, Mexico and South Africa.

She now shares a villa in the centre of Las Palmas, a 5-minute walk from the beach, which comes equipped with wifi, open common areas for work, an outdoor area, and a BBQ.

With temperatures reaching highs of 23C in November and December, it’s little wonder that teleworkers are packing their bags to work remotely from the sun in Gran Canaria.

Watch Jaime Velazquez’ report from Gran Canaria.

 

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