A Prescription for Zoom Fatigue
For many, the ‘pandemic pause’ was a catalyst for self-reflection. A break from the grind was an opportunity to seek a better balance between lifestyle and career choices. For some, remote work removed the need for compromise. Especially when the surf is within view of your webcam—not the other way around.
As demonstrated by the surge in surfboard sales, stimulus checks supplemented quivers and less time in the commuter lane meant more time in the lineup. Surfers who made a living from their living room this past year should be stoked to read that 78% of CEOs around the world believe telework is here to stay.
While WFH has its perks (including reduced travel emissions), enduring zero separation from work and home life has its mental health drawbacks. Particularly if you have little ones bursting through the pixelated privacy wall of your virtual Zoom background (🙏 schools reopen safely).
Enter the new WFH: work-from-hotel.
When a change of scenery demanded more than a coffee shop, some destinations began to fill the need of ‘digital nomads’ with careful consideration of COVID-19 safety protocols and visa requirements. Although WFH(OTEL) has been adopted by some corporate hotel chains, they don’t really fit the bill for adventure travelers.
According to the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA), “from street markets to small, locally-owned businesses, digital nomads want to find and contribute to the “local life.” They want a deeper experience, which means getting away from souvenir shops and Tripadvisor “Top 5” lists.”
Considering 36% of these remote workers’ income (i.e. $1,620/mo avg) goes towards local lodging, food, and transportation businesses, this new market within sustainable tourism has become a lifeline for some destinations ravaged by COVID-19. (ATTA)
The STOKE Certified Sustainable Olas Verdes Hotel and Safari Surf School in Nosara have seen the benefits of hosting digital nomads during a time when tourism has been stagnant. This solar-powered hotel has become a haven for surfers, yogis, and nature lovers alike who can safely travel to Costa Rica and take advantage of remote work to the fullest. A steady wifi connection will keep you productive while a fleet of Firewire rental boards will keep you stoked.
One year after the global shutdown, STOKE asked the GM of Olas Verdes, Luis Pardo, how they successfully made the transition.
This past year has been tough on everyone, but especially tourism destinations and communities like Nosara. In what ways has the pandemic brought your community closer together?
We were reminded that we depend on each other and the importance of solidarity. We were fortunate that we already had community organizations in place which facilitated getting the help we needed in a timely fashion, while the government institutions reacted to the situation.
How has the Olas Verdes Hotel adapted to meet COVID restrictions and earn the Safe Travels Stamp? Are you still able to meet these standards with your green cleaning supplier?
Costa Rica’s health standards are remarkably high, and the protocols implemented by the government due to COVID brought us almost to the level of the certification. Our green cleaning and sanitizing supplier products met the requirements, and we added special filters for the A/C units, steaming procedures, and ultraviolet lamps to sanitize the suites between stays. One of the most important factors has been the consistency of our associates and suppliers to comply with the protocols.
The rise in remote work has spurred a growth in digital nomads typing away in vacation destinations for weeks at a time. What has Olas Verdes changed or added to complement the digital nomad lifestyle?
We were fortunate that fiber optic arrived in Playa Guiones and Nosara just before the pandemic. We now have fiber optic and have significantly improved our wi-fi net to reach every corner of the hotel and suites. Because of the remote location, the service can be sporadically interrupted in the area, therefore, we have the second-best supplier in town as a backup, which automatically kicks in if the main supplier fails.
Sitting poolside amongst the large Jobo trees seems like an ideal spot to clear out your inbox. What do your long-term guests enjoy the most about their stay at OV? The organic food at El Manglar? The friendly staff? The immediate connection to nature with the wildlife refuge? Walking distance to the surf at Playa Guiones? I could go on and on 😊
All of the above! They enjoy the good wi-fi signal that allows them to connect 24/7 from their suite, or the pool, the restaurant, or our Club House, which has become a shared workplace. Having a large suite allows them to switch work areas without getting bored. For instance, the desk in the bedroom is the favorite for many, but during their Zoom meetings, most choose the dinner table from the living room. Having the restaurant accommodating their dietary needs and “antojos” (cravings), is a great plus. The fact that the rate includes laundry and bicycles to get around Guiones, makes life after work so much easier and fun.
It has been tough for hotels to make any strides in their sustainability goals while staying in business and keeping their staff and communities safe. Has your team been able to improve its environmental or community development initiatives? If not, what is your main focus as Nosara’s tourism industry begins to recover?
The economic factor has certainly impacted the reach of our sustainable efforts, as we were forced to reduce the amounts of most of our donations and support fees. But we did not sacrifice our commitment to sustainability and quality, because that is what we are.
With global vaccination distribution on the rise and Costa Rica’s contagious ratio for COVID dropping under 1:0.9, some hotels are starting to see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. With this “new normal” approaching, what changes do you think will stay in the way we travel and experience places like Nosara?
For starters, many of the health protocols will stay. Wellbeing is recognized as a priority and people are looking for places that offer it. Nosara is well known for a quality lifestyle, and hotels like Olas Verdes offer the confidence, security, friendly service, facilities, and an unbeatable location, that allows great experiences in direct contact with nature and the local culture.
If any surfers, adventure travelers, or remote workers wanted to visit Nosara and stay at Olas Verdes, where can they learn more information about the safety protocols before planning their trip?
We will be happy to address any particular concern or need via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, but you can also check these two blogs when planning your trip: https://www.olasverdeshotel.com/blog/current-requirements-when-traveling-to-costa-rica-due-to-covid-19/ and https://www.olasverdeshotel.com/blog/where-to-get-tested-for-covid-in-nosara/
Curious what other destinations could be your next office? Or eager to plan your next trip once travel reopens? Check out other STOKE Certified hotels here.
For those of you working on the front lines, we are deeply thankful for your service. Stay safe and stay sane by getting outside when you can. Keep the daydream alive—we will all be able to plan our next trip soon!