Tiny houses became millennial catnip in the 2010s, a trendy solution for people looking to downsize, live on the go, or buy a home they can actually afford. But in the 2020s, this kind of alternative living was reinvented as a retreat for remote workers.
Enter Find Sanctuary, a startup offering micro-cabins fully equipped with tiny offices and WiFi to serve as off-site retreats for C-suite teams and remote businesses. It’s capitalizing on the new era of workplace flexibility workers discovered during the pandemic and the Great Retreat, building tiny homes a two-hour drive from major metropolitan areas. The first is slated to open in 2023 with 40 tiny cabins in Big Bear, California near Los Angeles, with plans to expand to San Francisco and New York City.
“We target overworked, overstimulated city dwellers who enjoy the great outdoors but struggle to prioritize and access it [it]said Charlie Hammond, Founder of Find Sanctuary wealth. While specifically targeting startups and tech giants that focus on the well-being of their employees, vacationers are also welcome to stay there.
But the log cabins don’t come cheap, starting at $400 a night. With a simple exterior that blends in with the natural fauna and large windows, the cabins’ design focuses on connecting with nature. There is even a “meditation rock” and a whirlpool on the premises.
All of this points to Hammond’s perception of Find Sanctuary as a mental health initiative launched as a hospitality offering. He says the concept came about in response to his own mental health issues, inspired by Johann Haris Lost Connections, a book he considers a “modern Bible” about what makes people happy and content. Spending time in nature was an essential part of human well-being, which Hammond believes has been neglected by workers stuck in cities. Find Sanctuary aims to act as a “bridge to nature” for these townspeople.
He could be onto something. Many people struggled with mental health issues during the early pandemic, with global reports of anxiety and depression increasing by 25% in 2020. Struggling to retain talent as employees experienced burnout, a number of companies took note and began to focus on employee well-being. Find Sanctuary is one way to do this.
But the development comes at a time when CEOs are pushing workers back to their desks, with more workers back in the office than at any time since the pandemic began. Hammond is banking on the idea that the future of work will stay away — at least part-time. Experts agree; Recent data from WFH Research shows that the number of days employers have allowed their employees to work remotely has increased.
While this flexibility had many benefits for workers, such as saving commute time, Hammond says it also had its downsides, blurring the lines between work and home and promoting an “always on” work environment. He added that without centralized physical spaces, team cohesion and employee retention suffer.
Find Sanctuary’s “Work from the Woods” solution aims to correct this and advocate for a world where employees can spend two to three days every quarter in nature. Hammond sees this as a way to lower cortisol while “providing clarity and space to focus on any work that needs to be done” and preventing employee burnout and team disconnection. So far, 25 companies are on the waiting list to book their own tiny cabin, according to a Find Sanctuary press release.
In the world of Find Sanctuary, remote workers can have their cake and eat it too. Or at least have rain showers and Zoom calls.
This story was originally featured on Fortune.com