For many, physically going into work almost seems like a thing of the past. With a large number of physical offices having to close in the early months of 2020 due to COVID-19, many people began working remotely in order to ensure their safety. Nearly half of Americans are working from home now, and many of those doing so don’t plan on returning to their workplace anytime soon.
But staying at home to work doesn’t have to be the only option. After being quarantined for months, some people began exploring the possibility of traveling while they work.
We surveyed 1,000 Americans currently working from home to assess whether they feel more able to travel and their willingness to take their work with them as they go.
Likelihood of Travel
People are feeling much more comfortable going out after months of staying in, and many who hadn’t previously are now planning for travel again. Over half of the people surveyed had already taken a trip this year while working remotely or planned to take a trip now that they can continue working wherever they go. Almost 40% of people surveyed were extremely interested in combining work with personal travel.
Why Are People Traveling?
While some may want that dream of “working on their laptop while lying on the beach” experience, most survey respondents took smaller trips while working remotely. Over half said their number one reason for working away from home was in order to be with family. A great deal of nonessential travel was prohibited earlier in the year, but many still made trips in order to be with loved ones while they attempted to wait out the pandemic.
Around 70% of respondents claimed they needed a change of scenery or wanted to be closer to nature while they worked. National parks have seen a rush of visitors since being reopened, with many seeking a quiet getaway to recharge. Natural escapes, like National Parks, have open spaces, non-recycled air, and are easy to socially distance in. Almost two-thirds of respondents had traveled in order to be with friends or a significant other, deciding to quarantine together while they worked remotely. Nearly half claimed to have traveled just to take advantage of the newfound opportunity for excursions while they continued working.
Survey respondents from different age groups had multiple reasons why they took work with them as they traveled. Older generations, like baby boomers, were the most likely to travel while they worked in order to enjoy a change in scenery. Millennials felt most comfortable traveling to be with family and loved ones. Lastly, Generation X was the age bracket most likely to have taken a trip merely to take advantage of the opportunity to travel while working.
Where Are People Working?
For those who work remotely, with only a strong internet connection and a reliable laptop, where you choose to work is nearly limitless. Most survey respondents chose to work from the home of a family member or friend since the beginning of COVID-19. Some respondents rented a vacation property to enjoy a change of scenery, and just over 10% decided to be more adventurous, bringing their work to campsites and on RV trips while getting a breath of fresh air.
Almost every survey respondent who took work with them while they traveled was very satisfied with their trip, and, on average, most took three more trips after their initial trial of digital nomadism.
One usually doesn’t have to go far in order to experience new sights, and may even find some hidden gems in their own town they never knew about. However, most remote workers chose to take it a step further, with approximately half traveling to a new town or city to work. A little less than 20% of respondents had even traveled out of state with work in tow since the start of COVID-19.
Are People Getting Work Done?
The question that might be weighing on someone’s mind if they are considering traveling while working is, “Do people actually get things done?”
And the answer is yes!
Many people felt remote working and traveling to be more beneficial than constantly working from an office. Six out of ten survey respondents actually felt more productive taking work with them as they traveled than they did staying in an office or working at home. Not only did people feel more productive in their work, they also felt traveling while working benefited their health in multiple ways. Over half of respondents said traveling positively affected their mental health and greatly decreased their level of work-related stress. Working from home can also positively affect people’s productivity. Traveling helped increase the quality of work people were producing and encouraged them to get more work done.
Continuing to work while traveling produces positive outcomes for most people. Overall, 95% of survey respondents stated that traveling while working remotely was extremely instrumental in their work productivity and experience.
Are People Taking Repeat Trips?
Most people might be willing to try working while traveling once, but do people find it beneficial enough to do on a regular basis?
One out of three survey respondents said they planned on taking a trip while working remotely within the next four months. Over 35% of people found traveling while remotely working quite beneficial, and noted it was very likely they would be taking a trip while they continued to work. Less than one in ten people said travel was unlikely at all in the near future.
Some people enjoy continuing to work as they travel. It relieves monetary stress and helps people stay productive. Almost 80% of respondents said they would prefer being able to travel more often even if they still had to work as they went, whereas only around 20% said they would prefer to travel less but not be expected to work at all when they did so.
Making the Most of the Situation
Working remotely has given many people more freedom than they have had before to visit family, see friends, and explore new places. Some are taking full advantage and reaping the benefits of their new situation.
Businesses are starting to realize the positive effects that telecommuting has on its employees, and the majority of people may be working from home for a long time to come. With the travel industry bouncing back so quickly, and the ability to “be at the office” wherever one’s at, why not try it?
As long as people are following health regulations and safety precautions, now is as good a time as ever to pack up a laptop, some clothes, a bottle of water, and hit the road. Some may find that traveling to a new place to work may just be the boost they needed.
Methodology and Limitations
We conducted a survey of 1,000 people who are working remotely and asked them to answer questions about their experiences and opinions of traveling.
Sixty-two percent of respondents were millennials, 25% were Generation X, 10% were baby boomers, and 3% belonged to other generations with insufficient sample sizes.
Sixty-one percent of respondents identified as men, and 39% identified as women.
Respondents ranged in age from 18 to 70 with a mean of 36 and a standard deviation of 10.9.
The data are not weighted and are based on self-reporting. With self-reported data, there are limitations, such as over- or underreporting of information as well as exaggerating numbers and answers.
Fair Use Statement
If you or your audience are interested in learning more about the benefits of traveling while working remotely, please feel free to share this information for noncommercial purposes. All we ask is that you give us credit by linking back to our study.