WEL­COME

Business Traveller (Asia-Pacific) - - WELCOME - Tam­sin Cocks Ed­i­tor

Ire­mem­ber the first time I stum­bled across the blog of a “dig­i­tal nomad” – let’s call him Jake. Jake was a 30-year-old copy­writer, liv­ing in Bali at the time, who ran his busi­ness from wifi-con­nected cafés in the morn­ing, with surf lessons in the af­ter­noon. “Doesn’t this sound great!” I ex­claimed to my then ed­i­tor, after greed­ily read­ing about the other fab­u­lous lo­ca­tions he’d been si­mul­ta­ne­ously work­ing in and ex­plor­ing.

“Pah”, he replied cyn­i­cally. “That’s just code for ‘some­one else is bankrolling me while I pre­tend to make a liv­ing’.”

I re­fused to be swayed. Even if “Jake” was a fake, was it re­ally that im­plau­si­ble to run a busi­ness from a dreamy ex­otic lo­ca­tion? After all, as long as you have a power source, in­ter­net and cof­fee, does it make a dif­fer­ence if you’re check­ing emails in an of­fice, or from a gor­geous leafy café in Chi­ang Mai (the world’s lead­ing hub for dig­i­tal no­mads).

Ac­tu­ally, strike that, of course there’s a dif­fer­ence

– and I know which one sounds prefer­able.

When you think about it, busi­ness trav­ellers were the early pi­o­neers of “dig­i­tal no­madism”, be­fore it got its hip­ster ter­mi­nol­ogy. Trav­el­ling the world with a brick-like Com­paq, while work­ing on the go from what­ever mo­bile of­fice/ho­tel room you found your­self in, is what you’ve all been do­ing for years.

But the fresh take on the con­cept has un­de­ni­ably rev­o­lu­tionised its ap­peal. Gone are the days of a soli­tary work desk in a lonely ho­tel room; now it’s about pur­pose-built so­cial hubs, ready-made com­mu­ni­ties of like-minded in­no­va­tors, and stim­u­lat­ing work en­vi­ron­ments. And the trend is grow­ing.

First we had a wave of cool “mil­len­nial ho­tels” – hip new brands with tech-fo­cused ap­peal, so­cial spa­ces, trendy bars and funky, cre­ative in­te­ri­ors (think Ho­tel Jen, Aloft, Moxy, Hy­att Cen­tric and Cit­i­zen M, etc).

Next, we saw a crop of co-work­ing spa­ces: cool, com­mu­nal hubs in vi­brant cities at­tract­ing young tech moguls, cre­atives and en­trepreneurs. These com­mu­ni­ties cre­ate a breed­ing ground of in­no­va­tion and net­work­ing – a win for busi­ness – while of­fer­ing in­di­vid­u­als flex­i­ble, en­gag­ing and in­spir­ing work en­vi­ron­ments… a win for work­ers.

Ad­mit­tedly, for busi­ness trav­ellers, drop­ping into these hubs for the odd af­ter­noon may prove too time­con­sum­ing to be of real ben­e­fit, but the lat­est it­er­a­tion of this trend is a game changer. En­ter the co-work­ing ho­tel: a new craze of ac­com­mo­da­tion-cum-work­ing hotspots that make life on the road a dream. Find out more in our fea­ture “Worka­tion mode” on page 64.

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