working on relaxing

Houston flies high on list of best U.S. places for a ‘wellness workcation’

Houston has been recognized as a top spot for a specific type of vacation. Photo via Jean-Philippe Wallet/Getty Images

We’ve got vacations and staycations. But now there’s a new getaway category: wellness workcation.

Wait a minute. Aren’t we supposed to promote wellness by taking vacations and staycations and not embarking on any sort of trip with the word “work” in it? Well, the folks at Icelandair have other ideas.

In fact, they’ve assembled a list of the best places in the U.S. for a wellness workcation, and Houston grabs the No. 11 ranking. At No. 7, Dallas is the only other Texas location on the list. Kansas City holds the No. 1 ranking for both U.S. and global destinations.

Icelandair, the national airline of Iceland, based its ranking on seven factors: quality of life, cost of living, internet speed, health care, air pollution, climate, and safety. Dallas scores best in the air pollution category and worst in the quality-of-life category.

As determined by Icelandair, Houston, Dallas, and Kansas City are among the best places in the country for mixing remote work with relaxation.

“Combining work and travel is a fantastic way to make the most of remote working and prioritize your mental and physical health at the same time,” Icelandair proclaims.


This article originally ran on CultureMap.

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Building Houston


This Houston staffing firm has tapped into tech to support the growing gig economy workforce. Photo via Getty Images

As the independent workforce continues to grow, a Houston-based company is aiming to connect these workers with companies that match their specific needs with a new digital platform.

FlexTek, a 14-year old recruiting and staffing company, launched a first gig site tailored to the needs of the individual worker. The platform, Workz360, is built to be able to manage projects, maintain quality control, and manage billing and year-end financial reporting.The company is also working to expanding the platform to provide infrastructure to assist independent workers with education, access to savings programs, tax compliance through vetted third-party CPA firms, and hopes in the future to assist with access to liability and medical insurance.

With a younger workforce and a shifting economy, the “gig economy,” which is another way to describe how people can earn a living as a 1099 worker, offers an alternative option to the corporate grind in a post-pandemic workscape. Chief Marketing Officer Bill Penczak of Workz360 calls this era “Gig 2.0,” and attributes the success of this type of workforce to how during the COVID-19 pandemic people learned how to work, and thrive in non-traditional work environments. The site also boasts the fact it won’t take a bite out of the worker’s pay, which could be an attractive sell for many since other sites can take up to 65 percent of profit.

“In the past few years, with the advent of gig job platforms, the Independent workers have been squeezed by gig work platforms taking a disproportionate amount of the workers’ income,” said FlexTek CEO and founder Stephen Morel in a news release. “As a result, there has been what we refer to as ‘pay padding,’ a phenomenon in which workers are raising their hourly or project rates to compensate for the bite taken by other platforms.

"Workz360 is designed to promote greater transparency, and we believe the net result will be for workers to thrive and companies to save money by using the platform,” he continues.

As the workforce has continued to change over the years, a third of the current U.S. workforce are independent workers according to FlexTek, workers have gained the ability to have more freedom where and how they work. Workz360 aims to cater to this workforce by believing in a simple mantra of treating your workers well.

“We’ve had a lot of conversations about this, but we like the Southwest Airlines model,” Penczak tells InnovationMap. “Southwest Airlines treats their people very well, and as a result those employees treat the passengers really well. We believe the same thing holds true. If we can provide resources, and transparency, and not take a bite out of what the gig worker is charging, then we will get the best and the brightest people since they feel like they won’t be taken advantage of. We think there is an opportunity to be a little different and put the people first.”

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