Workations have become more and more popular in recent years and offer a unique way to balance your work life and free time. They are becoming the new norm as more and more people discover how truly wonderful they are. The pandemic turned the nine-to-five routine upside down and showed both employers and employees that a slightly unconventional work life can be a great alternative.
Farm holidays in the beautiful Romsdalen valley
In the idyllic surroundings at Ytterbakke Gård farm in Romsdalen valley, the owners have been welcoming guests who bring their work lives with them for several years. Pernille and Kristoffer are among those who have made the journey multiple times from a home office in Oslo to the farm, for a relaxing workation and farm holiday in Romsdalen valley. They both live a busy life in the big city. Pernille works as a project manager in the advertising industry and Kristoffer works as a business developer.
‘We like to leave on a Wednesday, work a few days, and then take the weekend off to enjoy nature,’ says Pernille.
The couple enjoy getting close to nature. Mountain and cross-country skiing, climbing, mountain walks, cycling and running are popular activities when they visit Åndalsnes.
- Returning to Ytterbakke farm after a trip is always such a pleasure, The owner Edda always treats us to something nice, smiles Pernille.
Life on Ytterbakke Gård farm
The farm is situated at Sogge in Åndalsnes, in a farming area that dates back to the Middle Ages. Edda and Per Jonas Ytterbakke run the farm and live there with their two girls, two cats and twenty-one dairy cows.
Per Jonas originally came from the farm and the couple took over operations in 2018. They currently have dairy cows, grow corn and grass, do a bit of hunting and grow vegetables for their own use.
‘When we took over and renovated the farm, we felt it was important to create a cosy and authentic atmosphere. We’ve kept much of what was original but have made the rooms more comfortable, with new beds and a lovely ambience,’ says Edda. The farm owners really enjoy people visiting the farm, which today boasts seven rooms and a total of sixteen beds.
‘It's so nice that people from the city get to experience the tranquillity of this rural area,’ says Edda
Popularity of workations
Ytterbakke Gård farm has had a range of workation guests over the years, including accountants and external help hired from local companies. It offers you the chance to work in peace, and many guests really appreciate the distinctive and historical ambience.
Studies show that many people work more efficiently, with more focus, and are happier with the work-life balance that a freer work life offers. Different forms of home offices and offices away from home seem to be the new norm, even after the pandemic. It allows us to take our job to the places where we dream of spending more time.
Many different guests
‘The people who helped build the new Mission: Impossible filmset stayed here. They really enjoyed being on the farm. When they weren’t working on the set, they liked to make friends with the calves or help out around the farm,’ says Edda.
Small teams who need to work closely together, be creative and find new inspiration have also taken advantage of the beautiful and homely surroundings.
‘We’ve also had several visits from people like Pernille and Kristoffer, who have home offices in the big cities and want to go mountain skiing and get closer to nature.’
A change of pace and new motivation
Home offices can all too quickly become a way of life where it’s difficult to distinguish between work and free time. The computer is never far away and there’s always something that should be done.
‘The great thing about a workation is that you can enjoy a break, a change of pace, and take a breather in the beautiful surroundings. There’s extra motivation to finish the work in-hand so that you can take a trip in the outdoors,’ Pernille says.
Before the pandemic, the two guests didn’t see workations as a possibility. They believe that more flexible employers are making workations more plausible than before the pandemic.
‘The way that Edda and Per Jonas open up their home is incredible – everything is so well considered and homely. I think many people would enjoy the fantastic atmosphere – and the beds are great! We’re already looking forward to the next visit,’ says Pernille.
Åndalsnes is just a train ride away from Oslo on the Rauma Railway. The train ride has been voted Europe's most beautiful train journey and has been used as a backdrop in blockbusters such as Harry Potter and Mission: Impossible.
Feel thepower of nature
Do you dream of waking to the sound of birds chirping and swooping?One of the unique things about Møre og Romsdal is the short distance and the contrasts between the steep mountains and the open sea. The Møre coastline has several of the Norway's roughest waters — powerful and striking during a storm, magical and enchanting on sunny days. There’s a very special atmosphere on the coast, where you can really feel the natural forces that used to make life difficult for fishermen and sailors.
The Mankell house on the Ona islands
The king of crime and author Henning Mankell is one of those who fell in love with coastal life in Møre og Romsdal. From the 1970s he was particularly fond of the archipelago of Ona, where he eventually bought his own house. He really enjoyed just being there. When he died in 2015, he bequeathed his house to the Writers' Guild of Norway so that it could be used as a place to write.
Workation in the capital of the sea
In the far north of Møre og Romsdal is the island community Smøla, and on the very edge of the open ocean is Veiholmen; the capital of the sea. The road out here is built of bridges and piers, and really is quite an experience in itself. Veiholmen is the largest inhabited fishing community south of Lofoten.
Like the rest of Smøla, the village is steeped in history, and the docks have witnessed countless tearful farewells and happy returns between sailors and their loved ones. Visitors come to Veiholmen throughout the year to experience both its good and bad weather conditions.
Cosy and maritime atmosphere at the Olsen Guesthouse
Experience life in the fishing village up close with a workation at the atmospheric Olson Guesthouse. They offer accommodation in three cosy guesthouses.
There’s a chance to stay in the Molo Boathouse, which is warm and cosy and has a maritime decor that reflects the history of the building. Guests in Molo Boathouse can book one or more rooms, so other guests may be staying in the house and sharing the common areas. The Molo sisters Line and Hilde do everything they can to ensure their guests are happy, whether you’re visiting alone with work, or are part of a group.
You will quickly find peace out here by the ocean and you don't really need many plans for your stay, beyond just being here.
Gold treasure by the sea at Sunnmøre
The famous bird island of Runde can be found in Herøy municipality in Sunnmøre, south of Møre og Romsdal. On Runde, you can experience real gold treasure, nesting puffins and a unique local history near the open ocean.
The Runde treasure was one of Europe's greatest finds and it gave Runde – and its bird cliffs – international prominence. Treasure hunters frequently visit the island, and the area is also great for diving and fishing. Runde Environmental Centre offers accommodation and exciting tales of robbers for your next workation.
A breath of fresh air
It's so easy to get stuck in a routine that inhibits inspiration and motivation. One of the main benefits of a workation is the change of environment that it offers. New journeys and fresh experiences are so important to our well-being. It's quite literally like taking a new and wonderful breath of fresh air.
What’s your dream destination?
Hide away in the woods at the luxurious Storfjord Hotel or rent your own little Bird House in the middle of the forest at Juvet Landscape Hotel. Visit a town for the first time, such as the beautiful harbour town of Ålesund, the town of roses, Molde, or the town with four lands, Krisitansund. Discover coastal Norway and feel the salty sea spray on your face at the Olsen Guesthouse or Runde Environmental Centre. Or follow in Kristoffer and Pernille’s footsteps and take a break with a farm holiday in the mountaineering capital Åndalsnes.