TheCOVID-19 pandemic has changed the entire global working pattern. While “Work from Home” was considered a novelty a few months ago, companies are now promoting it as the new normal. With increased internet connectivity, the world has been reduced to a click of the mouse and everyone is discovering that there is no need to be in a physical space of a designated office to deliver a work-product. While schools and teachers have taken to online classes, politicians have taken to online inaugurations of infrastructure while technology is helping us discuss, deliver work, shop and even do online identification thanks to companies like Fully-Verified. However, we have a long way to go before fine tuning the work at home concept! Only five months into the Work From Home experiment, companies and employees both are complaining of decreased productivity, stress and monotony in lifestyle. These inherent disadvantages with Work from Home concept have led to an unique initiative called Work from Mountains led by Panki Sood, cofounder of Sunshine Himalayan Adventures – a pioneering responsible tourism company of the western Himalayas and Mr. Prashanth Mathawan (Kiki) based in Gurgaon!
The technological revolution has also reached the mountains. Almost all valleys in states like Himachal and Uttarakhand have access to high speed 4G internet, good homestay network and all-weather roads. Interestingly, the young tech savvy generation has taken this concept one step further! Fuelled with a yearning to combine work from home and the beautiful hill side scenery, the Sunshine Himalayan Adventures team has launched “Work from Mountains”. This concept gives the freedom to come out of the mundane city life and head toward the mountains for a long stay and work from there! The rooms are normally given on discounted rates for a period of a month or more and the basic packages start from Rs 35000 including stay, food and a dependable internet access!
THE WORK FROM MOUNTAINS IS A WIN-WIN BOTH FOR THE HOST AND THE GUEST! IT GIVES THE HOST MUCH NEEDED REVENUE AFTER MONTHS OF COMPLETE LOCKDOWN AND THE GUEST GETS FREEDOM TO ENJOY FRESH MOUNTAIN AIR COUPLED WITH THE JOY OF MOUNTAIN HOSPITALITY OF THE SIMPLE PEOPLE LIVING IN THE HIMALAYAS.
Work from Mountains (WFM) thus becomes a unique initiative to offer an alternative to the Work from Home reality in this time of COVID. WFM is a collective of such beautiful mountain spaces which provides unique experiences while living, working and sharing together, where you could live in as many locations and for as long as you like.
THE WFM TEAM HAS CAREFULLY CHOSEN STAND ALONE MOUNTAIN HOMES & COTTAGES IN THE WILDERNESS AND IN THE VILLAGES, FAR REMOVED FROM REGULAR URBAN CIVILIZATION WHERE ONE CAN WORK & RELAX WITH THE MOUNTAINS, THE FOREST AND THE RIVERS FOR COMPANY.
The Sunshine Himalayan Adventures team offers these homes & cottages on a long-term basis with a minimum stay of 30 days where it provides the essentials to create a comfortable working environment for the techy traveller. With simple working kitchens and caretakers (who are usually owners of the homestay or cottages), the WFM team caters to all the needs and essentials of doing office work. One of the prime features is to ensure that there is Internet connectivity through a 4G connection at the least.
So, retreat to the mountains today as its always better in the sweet laps of nature. The team has already started taking Guests in Uttarakhand in August and in Himachal from September. As the concept establishes itself, more hosts are being enrolled giving the guests a choice of varied destinations, facilities and budgets! The Internet connection in the mountains may not be as strong as in the city but we promise you that the connect with nature will be much stronger. The team offers the traveller a beautiful mountain home from where one can enjoy being amidst the mountains and yet get their work done. It would be like a working vacation where you can Work and Play or simply do nothing and gaze at the mountains.
All the places are properly sanitized in accordance with the guidelines issued by the authorities in the wake of the pandemic. The team also ensures that there is a caretaker (at the least, if not a full Himalayan hospitable host) to cater to your needs. In most of the places, one has full access to the kitchen to cook whatever may catch his/ her fancy.
However, there is a word of caution especially for the guests who are used to city comforts! The chosen cottages and homestays can be a great authentic experience where the key to the experience is gratitude and being xenial. Like anything else in life, all the properties have their pros and cons. If you have decided that the pros outweigh the cons especially working from mountains and are planning to take the plunge, then it’s time to start preparing yourself for exciting journey ahead.
WORK FROM MOUNTAINS CAN BE A GREAT CROSS-CULTURAL EXCHANGE PROVIDED YOU KEEP IN MIND A FEW THINGS WHICH ARE BASICALLY GUIDED BY COMMON SENSE, GOOD MANNERS AND CONSCIENCE TRAVEL.
• Don’t haggle on prices and please stress on sending an advance and ask for bank account information while booking your homestay so that the hosts are assured of your arrival.
• Carry a small gift from your hometown or something for the kids in the family as a goodwill gesture.
• Ask for the rules of the homestay on arrival and any do’s and don’ts regarding the local culture. Be communicative as the whole idea of doing a homestay is to learn about their culture and lifestyles.
• Try to learn the language of the hosts and don’t be embarrassed even if you don’t speak it nicely.
• Do ask the hosts if they are okay with you wearing your shoes inside the house/ bedroom, just as you would when you visit a friend. Some homestay owners have a laundry service, other don’t. Do not assume that it’s done in all places. When in doubt, ask, politely! For a richer experience of your holiday, ask your hosts about things like where you can shop, hidden places off the tourist map.
• Don’t ask for meals at odd times. Always carry little snacks from the market or your house in case you get hunger pangs. Please remember that it’s not a hotel with 24×7 room service but somebody’s house where the ladies are cooking for you.
• Don’t ask for meals at odd times. Always carry little snacks from the market or your house in case you get hunger pangs. Please remember that it’s not a hotel with 24 x 7 room service but somebody’s house where the ladies are cooking for you.
• Don’t cclick photographs without the permission of the hosts as you are in somebody’s house and their privacy should always be respected. In case you find somebody very interesting you can ask their permission to click politely and nobody will refuse. It’s important to realize that costs of stays in remoter areas are actually higher than the cities due to accessibility and low demand. Furthermore, to be taken into stride are the challenges of mountains like undependable electricity, broken roads, rudimentary shopping facilities etc.
MOUNTAIN LIFE IN REMOTER AREAS COMES WITH ITS ADVANTAGES – BEAUTIFUL LOCATIONS, UNSPOILT AMBIENCE, CLEAN AIR, NATURE WALKS, SIMPLE AND HEALTHY FOOD. HOWEVER, THE GUESTS ARE EXPECTED TO TREAT THE STAYS AS THEIR LONG-TERM HOMES AND BEHAVE RESPONSIBLY WITH COMPASSION TOWARDS THE ENVIRONMENT AND THE LOCAL HOST.
HOW IT WORKS?
We work in a slightly different way than the rest. Once you get in touch with us with your particular needs and expectations, we inquire about your budget and try to provide the best within your money spent. Our knowledge of the mountains and the network of mountain homes and homestays enables us to match you with the property best suited for your needs. We give you the Best Possible Deal for your Workcation requirements!
To get in touch for your next Work from Mountain – Staycation visit, call Panki Sood @ 8894000613 or access https://travelthehimalayas.com/work-from-mountains
Ankit Sood has worked in the position of National Ecotourism Expert in JICA aided Sikkim Biodiversity Project (Govt. of Sikkim) & Ecotourism Planner & Forest Conservation Specialist with ADB funded IDIPT project with the Tourism Department of Himachal & Uttarakhand. He is also the founder member of Sunshine Himalayan Adventures a pioneering company practicing sustainable tourism since 1996!
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