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Work from Bali : Not Just for Digital Nomads

NEWS | 20 May 2021
work from Bali
Courtesy of Genesis Creative Centre

Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, Luhut Pandjaitan, is pushing the Indonesian Government’s Work from Bali campaign once again, encouraging not only personal or private sector to do so, but also ministries.

He stated that because ‘working from home’ was already a norm now, then why not work from Bali to help the tourism industry. On 18 May 2021, he signed a Memorandum of Understanding with hotels in the Indonesia Tourism Development Corporation complex of Nusa Dua, who would be providing accommodation and facilities for his own ministry. He encourages other ministries and businesses to consider doing the same.

Why Working from Bali is on the Rise

Prior to the pandemic, the idea of working from Bali was an idyllic dream that seemed to be reserved for the likes of digital nomads or those who had ‘left it all behind’ and started life anew on the paradise island. However, the world, and what is considered normal, has changed in the last year, and opportunities to experience new ways of living have opened up.

For most people, the requirements of physically being in an office every weekday to do their job effectively has rarely been questioned. Where your office is based, well, that’s where you’ll be working. It made sense. That is, until the pandemic forced many of us to remain in the confines of our homes, where we had to adapt and change the very fabric of our known work routines.

Work from Bali Viceroy Ubud
Viceroy Bali in Ubud

A year later, whilst some have returned to their offices, others have discovered that their physical presence at work creates no better productivity. With effective use of new communication systems and platforms, whole workforces are finding that they can - and in fact always could - work from anywhere.

When this realisation came, many city-dwellers, especially Jakartans, took this as an opportunity to experience life working from Bali.

Who is Working from Bali for?

It’s important to distinguish between working from Bali, and working in Bali. The latter alludes to finding a job based in Bali, and the former means continuing the same line of work whilst you are physically based on the island.

Many people probably have an image of web developers typing away in a bamboo shack (with high-speed internet), overlooking views of rice fields. The stereotypical digital nomad lifestyle likely dominates this idea of working remotely. However the pandemic has truly opened up the breadth of experiences that are possible when it comes to working from Bali.

Work from Bali Hotel Tugu
Photo courtesy of Hotel Tugu Bali 

The first important point is that working from Bali is now for anyone. Recent months have shown that top executives have relocated, temporarily, into resorts, working in their suites during the day as their families enjoy the facilities. Children, after all, are also not bound to any one location with distance learning continuing to be a norm. Younger executives and freelancers have rented villas with friends and colleagues, or rooms in guesthouses, working as normal during the day, but able to enjoy a more free, natural and laidback lifestyle when they’ve ‘clocked out’.

Why Work from Bali?

Of course, the usual spiel remains relevant: access to beaches and the outdoors, a more relaxing (and inspiring) atmosphere, great service and experience through the tourism industry. These all remain true, but to temporarily move to Bali, the reasons must be deeper.

For parents, the move to Bali is undeniably beneficial. Children living in the city are devoid of experiences in the natural world. Bali has nature abound: learning to surf, cycling in neighbourhoods, going for walks in fields. These are priceless experiences that a child benefits from. Not to mention, Bali now really caters to parents, with many extra-curricular classes and activities on offer, from art to music, and dance, skateboarding, and more.

Work from Bali

Another benefit of being on the island is the ease of travel. Residents can attest to the diversity of experiences available to them: one weekend in Ubud, another on the east coast, another in the Bedugul highlands. Add to that the creative activities now available, from pottery, painting, textile workshops, and more, and you rest assured your weekends will be rewarding and enriching.

What’s more, Bali still remains relatively quiet. Traffic is minimised, hotels are at a low occupancy, and - apart from a few areas - beaches, restaurants, tourists are quiet too. This makes it not only safer than life in the city, but allows one to revisit areas around the island without the hordes of tourists.

Practicalities of Working from Bali

During an insightful webinar held by NOW! Bali, together with key stakeholders in the tourism industry, the panelists shared and discussed the practicalities of working from Bali.

Gilda Sagrodo from the Bali Tourism Promotions Board expressed the ease of making the move: there are no extra requirements for domestic visitors who wish to stay long-term in Bali. Registering long-term stays can easily be done through hotels, especially.

Work from Bali Viceroy Ubud
Viceroy Bali in Ubud offers specific packages for a working escape to the island

Top-end hotels are now also accommodating to the trend, offering special long-term stays specifically for those looking to temporarily relocate to Bali. Working out of a luxurious villa resort in a stunning locations is a hard offer to pass.

Hotel Tugu Bali close to the popular Batu Bolong Beach, Canggu; and Viceroy Bali with its views of a jaw-dropping Ubud valley are two such properties that are currently offering a high-end, working escape to the island. Complete with five-star services, breakfast, high-speed internet and more.

Working Facilities and Services

For those that still require some separation between life and work, Bali provides its numerous co-working spaces. One of the more unique destinations is Genesis Creative Centre, catering to those in the creative industries. Heni Maghfiroh explained that the hub is home to multi-disciplinary studios, from photography, art, music, fashion and more, which has catered to the growing needs of podcasters, live streamers, DJs, music producers, photographers online teachers or anyone needing to make content.

Work from Bali Coworking Space
Genesis Creative Centre's studios have become popular with content creators in Bali

The classic co-working destinations continue to thrive. Around the island from Ubud and Sanur to Seminyak and Canggu, different iterations and experiences exist. The outdoor and laidback co-working spaces are still popular; but the newest addition is B Work Bali, a Canggu-based co-working site that provides a more professional atmosphere. Working spaces are indoor with AC, rooms for meetings and Zoom calls are available, and the atmosphere is set for quiet, focused work.

Adrian Kamdani explained that the remote workers now come from a broad spectrum, with everyone from tech to independent entrepreneurs. They search for an office experience for when they are working.

Work from Bali BWork Bali
B Work Bali is one of the newest coworking spaces available 

So, the benefits have been laid out. The move to Bali is easy, accommodation is ready to serve, and the working facilities are multitudinous around the island.

For families thinking working from Bali wasn’t for them should seriously consider their options, especially if remote working is an option. Others have touted the benefits it has had on their everyday life, and for the mental and physical health of their families, too. As for individuals, well, there’s no one you need to discuss with. Just make the move.