Relocating the office to Gran Canaria for a week or two and enjoying a working retreat in the sunshine has plenty to offer companies in search of a little seasonal respite – and some high quality R&R.
Productive workations in Las Palmas
When it comes to choosing the destination for your company retreat Las Palmas ticks all the boxes. A modern, vibrant city, it’s the joint capital of the Canary Islands and home to what’s consistently described as one of the best urban beaches in the world.
Gran Canaria has always been popular with Europeans looking to escape the winter back home. With temperatures rarely dipping below 20 degrees, pretty much every day of the year is a beach day. But over recent years that appeal has extended to the tech community, with the island becoming a hub for digital workers, startups and scaleups.
Change your office, not your job
So it’s no surprise to see a growing number of companies joining us in Las Palmas for team breaks, workations and company retreats, a city their staff can enjoy, relax and – most importantly – be productive in.
Airbnb and Transferwise are probably the best known of recent visitors to the island, booking out suites of managed office space to house their employees for a spell of team building, coworking and fun in the sun. But they’re not alone.
Why workations work
Here at The House, we’re regularly hosting offshore companies, who book out our serviced offices or a block of coworking desks, for between 1 and 4 weeks at a time. They use the space to bring remote teams together, collaborate on new projects or simply reward their staff with a change of scenery and the chance to work by the beach for a while.
Speaking with the team from Transferwise, who are normally based in London, it’s clear that the island’s many natural attractions played a big part in their decision to visit us.
9 of their UK developers spent two weeks at The House in November and – like many of the companies taking a workation in Las Palmas – when they weren’t busy coding they took full advantage of the outdoor activities on offer.
Reward your team with some quality downtime
Gran Canaria has great diving, several excellent surf spots and – along its east coast – some of the best wind and kite-surfing in Europe. For outdoor enthusiasts, mountain lovers and hikers, there are are countless trails, peaks and remote coastal paths to explore.
If all you want to do is sit back and relax, the island has more than 60km of beaches, ranging from the chic, urban Playa de las Canteras in Las Palmas, to the bustling resorts of the south and the remote charms of its western shorelines.
Wherever you go on the island, you’re never far from a good restaurant or bar, but in Las Palmas the choice is exceptional. Workationers love the area around Las Canteras, with its eclectic mix of upmarket eateries, rooftop cocktail lounges and intimate bars. Dig a little deeper, in areas like Triana, Vagueta or Isleta and you’ll discover another side of the city and some fantastic places to eat, drink and party.
As the joint capital of the Canary Islands, and their defacto commercial hub, Las Palmas is a world class city, with a distinctly Mediterranean flavour. Thanks to its popularity as a tourist destination, air travel to the islands is cheap, with superb connections to all major hubs and many regional airports across Europe.
Bespoke company retreats
At The House we provide tailor made workation packages lasting from 3 to 28 days, catering for teams of up to 25. We don’t offer set packages. Instead we’ll discuss what you’re looking for first and repurpose a space to match your needs.
We’ve carefully renovated what was once government administrative building, into a spacious and creative coworking environment, with all the comforts of your office back home and full access to our facilities, including kitchen, coffee bar, breakout spaces, roof terraces and even a BBQ.
If you need help with accommodation, transport or booking, we can assist and throughout your stay we’ll be on hand to ensure you and your team have everything you need to be productive.
For more information on organising a workation in Las Palmas, booking out an office in The House or the facilities we provide, give us a call and ask for Yvonne. If it’s easier, you can send us a message here.
Why choose Las Palmas for your company retreat or workation?
As Transferwise become the latest company to choose Las Palmas – and The House – for their company retreat, we took the opportunity to ask their European development team why they chose to spend some time with us.
Part team building exercise, part getaway in the sun, the Transferwise developers usually work together in the company’s London headquarters and used their 1 week Canarian workation for a brainstorming hackathon, while continuing with their normal projects and business as usual.
Many teams within Transferwise choose to reward their London-based workforce with a break every year. Because few have family commitments, or reasons not to travel, the company are usually free to search a little further afield than the UK.
Gran Canaria makes an obvious choice. Warm all year round, lots to see and do, great food and drink, reasonably priced accommodation and a typically European way of life, are all reasons that influence everyone’s decision to visit the island. As is the fact they’re just a 4 hour flight from London.
Having a great place to work helps
But for Transferwise, who wanted to spend 7 working days away from their regular surroundings, it was also really important they had access to a high quality working environment, with all the facilities they enjoy back home. Somewhere their employees could be comfortable and productive.
The company are no stranger to the idea of workations having previously visited cities including Barcelona, Madrid and Athens. So they had a strong idea of what their people needed, in terms of both accommodation and a place to work. They chose a large family villa, on the outskirts of the city as their base for the fortnight.
Superb facilities make for a productive working environment
And The House fitted their requirements for a temporary office space perfectly. Mixing a large coworking space with serviced office units, in a huge three storey building, has allowed us to combine the best elements of a large agency atmosphere with the intimacy and collaborative vibe of coworking.
Having lots of communal areas, like the coffee bar, lounges, meeting and conference rooms, terraces and kitchen / diner provide our guests with the chance to break away from their desk, meet new people, share ideas or just relax. The ability to take adjoining offices, with a connecting door, meant the Transferwise guys could enjoy the best of both worlds; their own private working and breakout area, within a larger creative environment they had completely free access to.
Gran Canaria is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and city lovers
Although they’d originally planned to take advantage of the island’s superb potential for outdoor activities, like surfing, diving and mountain sports, the London team seemed more than happy to just hang out and be productive in their temporary office, or chill round the pool at their villa.
They did manage to hit the beach at Las Canteras most days and enjoy plenty of great food, in some of the many excellent restaurants and bars of the city’s Triana district, just across the road from The House.
Big enough and flexible enough to fit your working requirements
Providing the facilities for company retreats or workations is something we’ve only been able to offer since moving into our new building. Now we have the space and flexibility to host teams of up to 20, in offices repurposed to match their own specific needs.
We’re still learning. Testing out new ideas, listening to companies like Transferwise and improving our existing services. We’re constantly investing in new technologies or equipment to make our lives easier and more productive. Hopefully, we’ve already created a great environment for everybody who chooses to work here, but we’re only going to get better.
The House provides the perfect base for your working retreat in Las Palmas
Thinking of a company workation? Las Palmas is a superb city to relocate your employees to for company retreats. It offers everything you’d expect from a modern, vibrant city and at The House you’ll find a productive, comfortable and well equipped office space to perfectly match your needs.
Why not give us a call to discuss your company’s needs and we’ll create a package to match them. If you prefer, follow this link to send us an email and tell us what you’re looking for.
Hosting a seminar or meetup in Las Palmas?
We have just the spot.
The large basement area we have at The House is proving a popular venue for developer’s meetups in Las Palmas, with more and more groups booking out rooms for networking events, as well as our own hugely popular weekly series of Ted’s Talks.
Ted’s Talks at The House are hosted by local web guru Ted Stresen-Reuter, CTO at Secret Source, or one of his team, and typically cover various aspects of their work as a UK-facing development company.
Topics so far have included; PHP, Ruby on Rails, REACT, AI, CRAP web design, managing workload and publishing. We’re trying our best to keep a healthy balance of pure development and non-dev subjects.
If you’re in Las Palmas and you’d like to join us one thursday afternoon, you’ll be more than welcome to join us.
Better still, if you know your stuff and you’d like to share your knowledge with our coworkers, get in touch and we’ll book you a slot.
Likewise, if you’re hosting meetups in Las Palmas, we have plenty of space and a wide choice of rooms available. There’s even a quiet, shady roof terrace with lots of seating, if you’d like to meet outside.
In this month’s round-up we have 3 excellent reasons to consider coworking in Gran Canaria next month, a look at how big business is poaching the habits of freelance workers and reviews of the best tools and gadgets for digital nomads.
Coworking @ the local mall? Really?
Heard the one about the New York restaurant doubling up as a coworking space between sittings? Hot in their tracks come a bunch of startups looking to establish pop-up coworking spaces in empty shops and even shopping malls, according tothe BusinessInsider website.
Companies like Spacious and IndustriousOffice target restaurants in upmarket neighbourhoods looking to turn a profit from dead time, empty store spaces, functioning stores in search of a side hustle and even shopping malls, desperate for some respite from the retail apocalypse.
Big business tapping the cowork ethos
Local shopping centres aren’t the only ones out to profit from demand for coworking space and the huge numbers of us now working freelance. The Harvard Business Review recently published a study revealing several large companies are now running their own coworking spaces, where staff work side by side with independent contractors.
Authors Gabor Nagy and Greg Lidsay highlight a Paris coworking space owned and managed by telecoms giant Orange. Described by the company as “corpoworking”, the VBN centre is home to around 60 coworkers, half are Orange employees while the rest are made up of jobbing freelancers.
The results make a fascinating read, not just for freelance workers and coworking space owners, but also for big business looking to poach agile methodologies, high productivity levels and – let’s be honest – inject a little hipness into their lives.
Live free or die trying
Reality check time. News website BBNTimes has a sobering article asking whether you should give up the dream of becoming a digital nomad and go back to a life more normal. Author Kristen O’Connell asks some tough questions about the mindset, drive and confidence needed to really make a success of combining work and travel as a career.
On a more positive note, she includes lots of smart tips and advice for actually succeeding, embracing the lifestyle and building a profitable remote business. Read the full article here.
Tools & gadgets for digital nomads
What tools help you manage your workload, speak with clients, share files or communicate with colleagues around the world? The rather unfortunately named, but award-winning AmateurTraveler website has a distinctly professional list of7 essential tools for digital nomads right here.
Meanwhile, travel blogger and serial nomad Julia – at the Jey Jetter website – has compiled a useful list of gadgets that make life and work on the road easier and more productive. These go way beyond the usual powerbank and USB stick fluff with some really useful and imaginative ideas. Check out her full list of the best digital nomad gadgets here.
New research published on the BBC News website suggests using a standing desk, which allows users to adjust their position through the day, can boost performance and output. Tests were carried out on a group of 146 health professionals, with half using new sit/stand desks and the rest using traditional office furniture for a year.
Among those with the new style desks researchers found employees reported feeling engaged for longer, more productive and less likely to experience fatigue and the dreaded post-lunch dip. One unexpected finding was that the control group increased the amount of time they stood each day, from around 50 minutes at the beginning of the experiment, to almost an hour and a half over the course of the one year study.
What do you think? Do you use stand up desks to work? After introducing a few at The House we’ve had a great response and are considering many more. But we’d love to know what you think. Feel free to add your comments at the end of this post. Or, better still, drop by and give one a try.
November is an excellent month to be coworking in Gran Canaria and here are 3 good reasons why.
1. Las Palmas hosts its third annual Nomad City conference, from the 7-9 November. Network with other location independent professionals, meet startups who want to employ you or just party and celebrate the digital nomad lifestyle with other like-minded folk.
More than 40 industry vets are booked to speak on the usual range of subjects, plus there are workshops, beach activities and plenty of social activities to get to know your fellow nomads. Full details or all this year’s Nomad City here.
2. From Nomad to WOMAD. One week later – on the 15-18 November – our beautiful island plays host to another major international event, in the form of World Music festival WOMAD. Short for World of Music Arts & Dance, expect 3 days of truly international rhythms, workshops, global gastronomy and cabaret, plus plenty of stuff for the kids.
3. Now that we’ve just about finished the refit of our new premises, you’d be crazy to leave the island without dropping by The House and booking your free one-day trial. We’ve spent a lot of time designing a creative and productive environment, that takes the best elements of coworking and managed office practicality, mixes in a huge dash of private members club chic and keeps plenty of original features.
We’d love the chance to give you a tour and the chance to experience what coworking in Gran Canaria is all about.
As they begin to attract scaleups and big business, coworking spaces are becoming more sophisticated, which could be a good thing as we bust a few digital nomad myths. Plus the best places to stay in Las Palmas.
Coworking comes of age
If you still think of co-working as a bunch of millenials loafing around on second-hand office furniture, think again. Today’s co-working spaces are attracting a diverse range of startups and scaleups as well as individuals, by offering private managed offices, meeting and event facilities, ergonomic furnishings and honor cafes.
As the demands of freelancers and small companies have matured, so have the spaces they want to work in. And these more organised working environments have begun to attract the attention of big business, according to a recent post on business website entrepreneur.com, which claims corporations are turning to co-working spaces and more particularly small managed offices, to house employees.
Not just for freelancers
It’s certainly something we’ve noticed at The (all new) House and it makes total sense. Co-working and shared office spaces can – by the very nature of their business model – be a lot more flexible than regular commercial rental procedures, which involve multi-year leases, long contracts, utility bills etc.
The demand for managed office spaces
Even large companies can benefit from using coworking or managed office spaces, to house off-shore teams, outsourced projects or simply reward top performers with a workation by the beach. And as property website Commercial Observer points out; for many startups, having the flexibility to scale up as needed and avoid the need for long term contracts is becoming a must-have option.
The hidden costs of life as a digital nomad
Just as the physical environments of coworking are evolving, so are the people using them. A bunch of blog posts over the last month, written by seasoned vets of the coworking world, look a deeper look at some of the less attractive aspects of life on the road.
Writing for the website Medium.com, Productivity Coach Liz Huber talks of her failure to find personal satisfaction living on the road, despite having few of the problems most of us think prevent true happiness. For Liz, true freedom comes not from having the ability to work from anywhere, but rather by removing the external dependencies that prevent us feeling free.
Kicking off a new series, entitled #NomadTruths, the very excellent Digital Nomad Girls blog begins by explaining that there’s no right or wrong way to living life as a nomad and calling on readers to be truthful when describing their experiences, rather than glossing over factors like loneliness, rough travel and the never-ending search for a good wifi connection.
A visa for digital nomads? Really?
Estonia is to become the first country in the world to issue travel documents specifically for digital nomads. The country is rightly proud of its reputation, as a leader in the tech field, but only issues long-term working visas to people with a job offer or contract. However, as a test of its potential, from the beginning of 2019 Estonian authorities will be making around 1400 of the new visas available – on a first come, first served basis.
Planning a trip to Las Palmas? Looking for somewhere to stay?
If you like the sound of working in year round sunshine with a distinctly European way of life, you probably have Las Palmas on your list of must-see destinations. The administrative centre of The Canary Islands has plenty to offer digital nomads. Picture postcard beaches, breathtaking mountain ranges, a cosmopolitan city combined with an engaging mish-mash of cultures make the archipelago popular with entrepreneurial travellers from all over the world.
The New York start-up that’s opening up Manhattan’s top dining spots, an end to the office as we know it (yes again) and some useful resources for digital nomads planning a visit to The Canary Islands.
The Entrepreneur website features an article on KettleSpace founder Daniel Rosenzweig, who discusses the eureka moment that led him to launch the restaurant co-working app. Now occupying six sites in uptown New York, with plans to launch in other 50+ US cities during 2018, Rosenzweig had the idea for KettleSpace while sitting in an empty Manhattan diner.
With daily and monthly subscriptions available, users are under no obligation to buy food and drink on site and are free to use the space as they wish, outside regular opening times. Some venues even have private areas for remote workers to use during busy periods.
We all know remote workers are happy, right?
But how do you create a team from highly skilled workers who could be in different regions, countries or even continents and have little in common?
Never engage in important conversations by text, respects your team’s personal time and build trust through occasional shared activities / office time, are the 3 golden rules of remote team management, according to business consultant Ryan Peck.
With a recent report claiming as many as 45% of Americans are now remote working, at least some of the time, Peck looks at the managerial challenges of nurturing strong team bonds between staff who may rarely, if ever, be in the same place at the same time.
Demand for co-working office space outstripping availability?
Which could be a good thing as a report by property firm Cushman & Wakefield claims as much as 20% of office space in London is now occupied by ‘flexible office suppliers’. The real estate specialists note that industry stakeholders are desperately seeking to provide new spaces for the rapidly expanding co-working sector.
Big cities not your thing? Come and co-work in The Canaries
If you prefer fantastic beaches, superb watersports, dramatic mountain scenery, a distinctly Mediterranean vibe and near tropical weather, Gran Canaria is an island paradise that has it all. And it’s awesome location, at the southern tip of Europe, makes it a favourite spot for over-wintering digital nomads and remote workers.
Book early if you need a co-working space between now and the end of February, as our hometown is playing host to WordCamp 2018 Las Palmas. Our friends at Secret Source are just one of the dozens of companies, open sourcers and WordPress gurus who’ll be speaking at the 3 day event.
Check out the following post from their blog which has all the info you need.
WordCamp 2018 Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. 23rd-25th February
February sees our hometown of Las Palmas host the latest European WordCamp meetup – 3 days of talks, presentations and workshops dedicated to all things WordPress.
What is WordCamp?
Built around a largely informal community of WordPress users from all over the world, WordCamps are organised and run by local volunteers, with the goal of sharing ideas and experience. While there’s a clear structure and program of events, there’s also an emphasis on coming together as a community, networking and sharing ideas with each other.
When is it?
WordCamp 2018 Las Palmas will take place at the impressive Elder Museum of Science & Technology here in Las Palmas and runs from the 23rd to the 25th of February – it’s open to anyone with an interest in WordPress. From part-time bloggers and newbies to professional developers and consultants, WordPress is the web platform of choice for almost a third of online businesses – more than 75 million websites – making it by far the most popular content management system in the world.
WordCamp Las Palmas will host a variety of guest speakers – including our own developer Inma González who’ll be leading a session on developing WordPress plugins, from original concept through to finished article.
Other speakers and workshops will cover a wide selection of WordPress related topics ranging from launching a new business with online to complex debugging strategies.
One of the great advantages of working in a shared workspace such as The House are the synergies that evolve and the working opportunities that arise from working together. We are such a close knit group that sometimes up to 50% of our work is from other members of The House.
Vince moved into the House in October when we opened and presented his project to us all. An IP TV box that will allow expats to watch their own TV when abroad but he needed good web programmers for his website, an industrial designer to design the packaging, designers to work on the corporate identity and someone to help building the business here in Las Palmas.
Did you know that most work interactions happen with the person sitting next to you? But what if your next super-contact is just 2 rooms away and you never meet them? Here at The House we’ve thought about this very problem very, very carefully. We know that networking and meeting new people can make or break a new business so we’ve designed our co-working space to maximise the chance of random interactions.
Where you sit matters
According to entrepreneur.com who you sit next to has a direct link to the amount of work interactions you have, with 60% of all work interactions happening with those in your close proximity. Therefore designing an office to maximise the chance of interacting with others is essential if you want to make those connections that could make your business. Continue reading “The House – designed to maximise your network”→