C- Suite Thought Leadership

PrimeGlobal’s Workation Initiative 

At a time when attracting the next generation to the accounting profession is the top priority globally, Steve Heathcote describes an innovative initiative PrimeGlobal has introduced known as ‘Workation’ which lets members combine work with a vacation.

The Workation initiative has gained participation from PrimeGlobal member firms in over 25 cities worldwide and it is growing in popularity, with Singapore and Sydney as recent additions.

Marlies Vervoordeldonk, Strategy & Support Manager at PrimeGlobal member firm Joanknecht, a gifted, young leader, developed and led the Workation initiative which opens global learning and opportunity to talented professionals. Marlies, who was recently short-listed for the International Accounting Forum & Awards 2023 Young Accountant of the Year, took this initiative from idea to implementation and was the first PrimeGlobal employee to experience a Workation last year.

How did the idea arise?

It is no surprise to those who know her that Marlies took the initiative to develop a programme that simultaneously broadens employee perspectives, promotes client services and encourages networking between international member firms, while allowing employees to travel to other countries and include holiday time to explore the destination. She leads a group of innovative, passionate leaders from PrimeGlobal member firms, spearheading an effort to retain talented team members while promoting collaboration with other members and clients.  

In the aftermath of fully remote working during the pandemic, Marlies identified an opportunity for firms to reward their valued employees by forming a network of PrimeGlobal member firms eager to host colleagues as they work from, and visit, other cities and countries.


The first Workation trip

While planning her trip to Milan last year, Marlies willingly became the inaugural ‘test case’ for the PrimeGlobal Workation. She contacted Alberto De Giorgi, Partner of member firm STUDIO DE GIORGI e ASSOCIATI's, and asked if she could work from their Milan office but work remotely for her own firm Joanknecht. Alberto’s enthusiastic response to the proposal was immediate, and this set the first Workation plan in motion. 

For her trip, Marlies took a flight from Eindhoven to Bergamo Orio al Serio, arriving in Milan on Friday afternoon. She then enjoyed the 'vacation' part of the Workation, staying in an apartment in the city and spending the weekend enjoying the tourist hotspots in and around Milan. 

On Monday morning, Marlies took the metro to STUDIO DE GIORGI e ASSOCIATI's office for the 'work' part of her trip. The team warmly welcomed her upon arrival, and she was then directed to her designated office space. With all the necessary amenities, including a reliable internet connection and great Italian coffee, Marlies was well-equipped to work remotely for the next three days. 

Marlies managed to work remotely in an international environment from a distant location, even from a different country, with the same ease as if she were working from home.  

Marlies commented, “During my vacation, I spent my free time in Milan and its surroundings. I visited the Duomo, spent an afternoon in the beautiful city of Bergamo, and did some shopping (of course, what else should I do in the city of fashion). Then, I went to the office of STUDIO DE GIORGI e ASSOCIATI to work for Joanknecht and I enjoyed Italian lunches, conversations in both English and Italian and a different working environment. It was a fantastic experience!” 

Following the successful inaugural Workation experience in Milan, the initiative has gained momentum and is now being expanded on a larger scale, with PrimeGlobal member firms enthusiastically signing up to be part of this exciting program. The Workation initiative has gained participation from numerous vibrant worldwide cities, ensuring a diverse range of options for PrimeGlobal employees. Among the participating cities are Milan, Paris, Berlin, Hamburg, Sydney, Nice, Singapore, and Copenhagen.

ba-group Hamburg Workation

Expanding to new locations

The grassroots initiative is now live on the PrimeGlobal website, enabling firms and individuals to connect and organise their own Workation experiences. An integrated communications plan has been developed to spread the word about this distinctive opportunity to all association professionals, and there is considerable interest and excitement surrounding it.  

The success of the Workation initiative in such a short space of time has been impressive and it’s been a delight to see our members embrace this opportunity and share their Workation achievements. With a firm foothold in Europe and the recent addition of Asia-Pacific cities, our goal is to expand to other regions in the coming months. We are excited about the possibilities ahead for this initiative, which aims to retain and attract staff within our member firms.

Main image: Marlies Workation