[TALKING TRENDS] Work

Seo Jeong-min
The author is a senior reporter of JoongAng Ilbo

Workcation is a newly coined word that combines “vacation” and “work”. It describes working – theoretically while having fun – in a vacation destination.

The concept is similar to “digital nomad”, which has been in use since around 2010. It refers to people who work regardless of when and where they are using their laptop or smartphone, whereas they travel around the world.

Travel Makers, the company that runs “Living in Hotel,” a program that lets people book hotel rooms for up to a month, has released an analysis of extended-stay bookings and transactions made by their users. When you look at the results, you can see that the transaction amount has increased by 274% from this year, compared to the first half of last year.

It is particularly remarkable that the size of transactions from April 19 to June 30, when Korea’s social distancing policies were lifted, increased by 214% year-on-year. According to the data, the largest proportion, 34% of users, chose to stay longer in a hotel because they could get away from home. The second largest group, at 26%, went on internship.

On July 11, the BBC reported that the number of people holding so-called digital nomad visas, residence permits of six months to two years for remote workers, is increasing in 25 countries in Central and South America and Europe. Apparently, the program was designed to revive local economies after the Covid-19 pandemic.

Korean companies are rushing not to miss the trend as well. CJ ENM opened an office on Jeju Island last year and Desker, an office furniture brand, is running a workcation campaign where attendees can take care of business, accommodation and recreation this summer.

It’s sad but hilarious that we’ve proven that remote work gets through the painful times we’ve been forced to face during the pandemic. Still, the concept of escaping routine and enjoying both work and life sounds great. I hope more and more people can have the chance to enjoy a workcation.

BY SEO JEONG-MIN [[email protected]]

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