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What Cabin Fever? Finns Turn Holiday Homes Into Offices

Known as somewhat reclusive even in normal times, Finns have really mastered the art of getting away from other people during the pandemic.

The Nordic country has the highest share of remote workers in Europe, and a growing number are not just working from home — they’re working from their holiday homes.

Almost a half of the Finns who worked remotely during the Covid crisis have done so from their cabins, often nestled in lakeside woods with few neighbors around, according to a survey published on Friday. Five years ago, just 7% had telecommuted from their cottages.

And those without their own hideouts have taken note, spurring sale of secondary properties. The number of shore-side cottages sold in the first four months of the year is up 47% from the same period a year ago, and the average price paid has risen by a fifth, according to the National Land Survey, which compiles data on real-estate transactions.

Home to telecoms network-gear maker Nokia Oyj, the country with landmass the size of Germany has extensive mobile networks, enabling remote working from even some of the most distant corners of Europe’s third least densely populated nation. At the end of last year, all Finnish households had access to a fourth-generation broadband connection with speeds fast enough to stream video.

Using holiday homes for work doesn’t appear to be a passing fad. According to the survey, two thirds of the cottage workers said they’d be inclined to work even more from there, and another quarter said they’d consider it. As many as a half of Finns have regular access to a leisure property, the report said.

The Finnish Free-Time Residence Barometer collected 1,275 responses in March and April 2021. It was commissioned by the Island Committee, a government advisory group under the Economy Ministry.

Source: Bloomberg