If you have ever felt burned out at work and think to yourself “I need a vacation,” well, you are not alone. Sometimes, work can feel endless to the point that you cannot find any personal time, let alone travel the world.
Many people have tried and succeeded to combine the best of both worlds by taking work with them on workations. Sounds intriguing? Here are our best tips to get started.
What is a workation?
A workation is just as it sounds – combining work and vacation. While the thought can be a bit counter-intuitive, getting work done from a new, scenic location can be beneficial for your creativity and motivation.
As winter fastly approaches, the lack of sunlight can rob you of your motivation, so escaping to a tropical beach or a cosy cottage surrounded by nature can fuel your energy and productivity.
In your free time, you can explore a new city or a new culture, eat great food and meet new people, which can benefit your mental health and help you gain new insights to get work done. If your employer allows, you can even take a workation with your whole team to foster collaboration and bonding between team members.
However, it would be best if you kept in mind that a workation is a short trip, not a long-term, sustainable strategy for those who would like to move abroad permanently and lead the digital nomad lifestyle.
Of course, a workation is not exactly for everyone. You can take a workation only if your job can be done remotely. Moreover, if your job requires constant communication with your coworkers and managers, perhaps doing your job from a country a few time zones away may not be the most productive for collaboration.
The cost of the vacation, including flights, lodging, transportation, and food, may also affect how and where you can travel. Mixing work and pleasure can also be challenging for those who struggle to compartmentalise.
Being present in an exotic location may make it too distracting to work, and when you are out exploring, you may feel guilty for being away from work. Fortunately, there are tips and tricks you can try to manage these difficulties.
A vacation often requires extensive planning months ahead, but with a workation, there is also the added pressure of arranging your work around your travel.
When you decide on a workation, make sure to get buy-in from your managers and coworkers first, and if needed, schedule a set time for a virtual catch-up to keep them updated on your projects. You should clearly state your working hours, availability, and note how your workation can benefit the company to earn trust from your employer.
Setting clear goals before you go on a workation will also allow you to manage your time and projects more efficiently. A workation is not merely about fusing work and vacation; you want to combine the best of both worlds and allow your vacation to inspire your work and fuel your productivity as well.
Setting clear goals for what you want to achieve during your workcation, both professionally and personally, can help you prioritise your tasks and must-see places and plan ahead to achieve them.
Setting these goals can also help you convince your employer that you can maintain or even exceed your productivity level during your trip, making it easier to gain buy-ins from them.
And of course, logistics arrangements that ensure your productivity, such as a laptop connected to the internet via a global hotspot, VPN connection, and other technology you usually need to get work done, should be in your packing list. Once you have made the necessary arrangements, it is time to go on your journey.
During your workation
You have successfully reached your destination, now what? The key to a successful, stress-free workation is setting clear boundaries between work and vacation when you get there.
It may seem difficult at first; after all, you may be working while being surrounded by the scenic mountains of Vietnam or an incredible beach in Bali. However, not letting work bleed into your personal time, and vice versa, can limit stress and help you stay in the moment and enjoy your vacation when working hours are over.
How to do this effectively? Set clear working hours and commit to those hours, which also depends on your arrangements with your employer. Perhaps you can arrange to work only four days a week and use the remaining three days to explore.
Perhaps you commit to maintaining your productivity by setting goals you want to achieve each day, and only go out to explore when you finish. However you decide to arrange your schedule, make sure you communicate it to your coworkers and employers so that there are no mismatched expectations.
And of course, make sure to deliver on your promises, so that you can take more workations in the future. When you get there, set up a workstation where you can get work done every day. This station can be in your accommodation or a local coffee shop with good wifi.
Wherever you decide to set up shop, make sure that it meets these health and safety tips so that you can take care of your mental and physical health while working. Setting up a consistent work location, however temporary, can train your brain to associate that location with ‘time to focus’, allowing you to be less distracted and more committed to completing your tasks each day.
Once you are finished with work, turn it off completely and go out to explore. Leaving your work emails and notifications on may seem convenient, but it may cause you more stress and rob you of the joy of being in the moment.
Remember that once you have finished your work, this is your personal time, and you should make the best of the trip!