Imagine your working day involves lounging in a hammock with your laptop on a white sand beach on a private tropical island.
Tapping away at emails as the waves gently lap the shore amid the faint rustle of palm trees.
Bathed in sunlight, you look up to gaze out at the clear, turquoise waters and recall a pleasant morning spent snorkelling along the coral reefs and marvelling at the underwater world of colourful fish.
As dream-like as this work environment may sound, it was a reality for me on a recent trip to the Maldives. And the country, made up of almost 1,200 islands, is trying to encourage more companies to abandon their dreary offices and jet off to the luxury destination for a few days to carry out their meetings and gain inspiration for brainstorming sessions in its relaxing environs.
"Everyone assumes it's a once-in-a-lifetime or honeymoon destination," says Simon Hawkins, the managing director of the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation. But corporate bookings are "becoming more popular", he says.
One of the most luxurious resorts in the Maldives, the Naladhu, managed by Anantara, offers companies the option to book out the property's 19 villas on the island, costs starting at US$20,000 a night in low season (Dh73,456). As with most of the Maldives, it can only be reached by seaplane or speedboat from the international airport.
"It still remains the not-so-traditional meeting style," says Claudia Pronk, the general manager of three Anantara resorts in the Maldives. "We do not have a real meeting room." The corporate gatherings are simply held at a restaurant on a beach.
"It's very Maldivian style," she says. "The purpose of the visit may be part meeting, but the rest is leisure. There's a lot of activities, team building. There's a kayak race in the lagoon, snorkelling.
"Companies are starting to discover that the Maldives is a great place to … get [staff] talking in a different mood."
The Quote: “Maldives is bragging rights in a holiday. If it was a car, it would be a Ferrari.” Simon Hawkins, the managing director of the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation