The rise of remote working in the Canary Islands

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November 15, 2020
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The rise of remote working in the Canary Islands

Back in October before lockdown (do you remember when we could still travel for work?) My Language Lab’sFounder Drew Rogers was in the Canary Islands on official business. Between meetings and breathtaking sunsets, she noticed that teleworking in Spain was very popular and the local government was taking steps to attract digital nomads to the sunny islands.Locations like Las Palmas and Tenerife are, according to many, some of the best places to work remotely due to the pleasant Canary Island weather, affordable cost of living, and idyllic lifestyle.COVID-19 only sped things up: now that tourism is at an all-time low worldwide, the Spanish authorities are hoping that remote workers will help boost the local economy and are making WHF easier and more attractive. It comes as no surprise, then, that the number of start-ups, entrepreneurs, and digital nomads in the Canary Islands has increased exponentially since the start of the pandemic.

Government encourages teleworking in the Canaries

The Canary Islands are among the regions that were hit the hardest by the economic impact of COVID-19. The local economy relies heavily on tourism and in some areas, hotel reservations fell by 40% during the pandemic.However, cases and infection rates in the Islands are considerably lower if compared to the rest of Spain. It can be easier to travel and live in the Canaries than in other Spanish regions.The local Department of Tourism, Industry and Trade has decided to focus the economic recovery on remote workers rather than holidaymakers, launching a €500,000 international campaign to attract as many as 30,000 digital nomads to the Canary Islands. The Department’s campaign for digital nomads was partly financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The authorities collaborated with communities of workers already in the Canaries, who acted as ambassadors and provided testimonials on their experience of WFH from the islands. According to these professionals, top reasons to work remotely in the Canary Islands include:

  • Better internet connection than the European average
  • Availability of services, including healthcare
  • Same time zone as Europe and single currency
  • Ideal climate
  • Safe destination for tourists and families
  • Affordable prices
  • Stunning natural landscapes and beaches
  • Low number of coronavirus cases
  • Cultural and leisure facilities
  • Welcoming locals and relaxed lifestyle

How to work remotely in the Canary Islands

Bookings for coworking and coliving in the Canary Islands have grown exponentially and are selling fast: in the whole archipelago, there were only 1,800 coworking desks as the pandemic hit, according to the Canary Collaborative Spaces Association (ACEC). It’s best to secure accommodation and coworking (if that’s something you’d like) before leaving. Keep in mind that there are plenty of apartments available for very affordable prices that would normally be rented to tourists.Renting a car is a must for most visitors: make sure that you have your driver’s license in order.COVID-19 special travel requirements should also be taken into account. Check the latest developments before you leave. You may have to:

  • Take a PCR test
  • Fill out a Spanish Health Control Form
  • Ensure that there are no travel or flight bans between Spain and the UK

Do you need to speak Spanish to work in the Canary Islands?

Spanish is the official language in the Canary Islands. You won’t need to be fully fluent but Spanish classes will come in handy in order to:

  • Read street signs
  • Sign a rental agreement
  • Order food at the restaurant
  • Do the shopping at the grocery store
  • Meet locals and make new friends (our favourite part!)

No need to sweat, though. The main centres in the Canary Islands boast a huge and lively international community: you will meet people from all over the world who have come to the Canaries to work. Many operate in the tech industry and are fully fluent in English so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to socialise in your main language.However, speaking multiple languages is a priceless asset for your professional and private life. Our advice is to take full advantage of this opportunity and add Spanish to your skillset. And if you’re travelling with children, they’ll have the chance to kickstart their GCSE Spanish preparation and practice with native speakers.

What is the best Canary Island to go for work?

Two Canary Islands destinations have been featured in the top 10 best places to work remotely in 2020. We did warn you: WFH and coworking in Las Palmas and Tenerife are becoming more popular by the minute.However, you should keep in mind your unique needs and circumstances when picking the best destination to work in the Canary Islands for you.Maybe you’re after the busy cultural calendar of Tenerife or want to spend your days surfing in Fuerteventura, or perhaps you’d rather party in Gran Canaria or sip your way through volcanic vineyards in Lanzarote. Either way, we’re certain there’s an island to your taste and several remote work locations you’ll enjoy in the Canaries.Here are some questions to ask yourself before leaving:

  • Do I want to be relatively close to an airport?
  • Do I enjoy partying and a buzzing nightlife?
  • Will I take my family with me?
  • What type of accommodation do I prefer?
  • What type of beach and beach activities do I enjoy? (Yes, you can take for granted to be close to a beach, just choose the one you like the most)
  • Do I need to be within walking distance from the town centre?
  • What is my monthly budget?

It also goes without saying that you will need a reliable internet connection if you want to WFH in the Canary Islands.Need to brush up your Spanish before you leave? Take a free assessment of your current level and discover the most effective learning plan for you!