Opinion

Technology is changing how we do ‘bleisure’

Have laptop, will work from the beach. The new way of combining work and leisure travel is more about staying mobile

Not long ago, I felt that I knew everything there was to know about ‘bleisure’, the concept of integrating personal plans (leisure) into one’s corporate jet-setting (business) – thereby saving money and time.

This means staying a few days extra in an attractive destination to enjoy the place rather than simply enduring the meetings. Sometimes it involves flying out one’s family for the weekend on expenses by spending less elsewhere. One might also opt to pay the difference for a plusher hotel, or use the work destination as a base (take New York) and fly to a leisure destination (say Miami) instead of flying home.

I have been, I must say, a master at this. It wasn’t long ago that I would have written entire columns on tricks of the trade and boasted about how amazing the outcomes could be. Recently, though, I have come to the realisation that such manoeuvres might all be rather 20th century.

Firstly, using corporate time and expenses – even while remaining budget neutral – to pad up one’s own enjoyment has become more difficult to get away with. It’s not just that budgets are smaller but also that seeming to have fun on work time and with work money is frowned upon. This is understandable but also highly regrettable for my old concept of bleisure.

But secondly, modern technology is leading to greater integration of business and leisure, a Bleisure 2.0 if you like. I’ve been reading about former pure holiday destinations transforming themselves into working locations, inspired by the fact that, with fast Wi-Fi, top-notch video conferencing facilities and cool offices, anywhere can now work for work. Bali is spearheading a blockchain and cryptography hub as well as places where people can, in a cheap way, set up shop or work for long periods remotely. Tenerife in the Canary Islands is pushing itself hard as a tech hub, with great modern infrastructure, links to Africa and tax incentives. Isn’t all of this remarkable? Living and working in Bali or Tenerife full-time? It was nearly impossible even 10 years ago.

But Bleisure 2.0 is perhaps still more a choice for millennials with a techie bent. What about the rest of us?

For me, the answer is the middle ground: taking advantage of technology by working from a holiday destination, while still returning to the home base of the office when needed. So, spending a summer in the south of France (or December/January in Fiji) and only returning for key meetings or crises where face-to-face contact is irreplaceable. This method of bleisure is already being embraced by individuals and companies successfully. 

It sounds rather appealing, doesn’t it? If you agree, push for it in your company. It might just stop your millennials from leaving for Bali…

What are your tricks? Tell us at cathayeditorial@cedarcom.hk

By the Anonymous Global Nomad

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Flights taken: 18

Miles travelled‭: 25,879

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