The hustle-bustle of Covid 19 was one heck of a disaster, still is, but it bought an interesting concept of Workations to light. As it sounds, Workation = Work+Vacation. Is it really something that works though? Or does one overpower the other? I tried it for the first time last month, and I’m super glad to report that it does work! But! You need to take care of a few things in order to extract the most out of it.
You know those trips you plan last minute and they just turn our to be the best? Well, a Workation is not one of them. The earlier you start planning the better. Start off by selecting dates you foresee to be fairly light at work: no major deliverables, not a lot of meetings, and no important events. You win a big chunk of the battle if your date selection is done right.
Research and finalise on your stay in advance. Somethings to keep an eye out for:
- WiFi connection: Speed of at least 50mbps, personally I wouldn’t settle for less than 100, but 50 just does the job as well. You can ask the host for screenshots of them surfing fast.com if you’re a little paranoid.
- A quiet workspace: This can also be your room having a table and chair, but “quiet” is key.
- Stay in the city centre: You can explore a lot more on foot, you’d likely have the best network connection, abundance of grocery stores & restaurants, easy availability of transportation.
Be extremely realistic while planning what your days will look like. It’s very easy to get carried away and cluttering your day with activities only to feel disappointed in the end due to not being able to keep up with it. I found starting my day early with work till ~9am, that’s when I head out and as it get’s too sunny at noon, get back to my comfortable room to resume work. As the sun gets a bit mild near 5pm, step back out, explore, and wrap up a few tasks post 10pm. Using this schedule, I roamed the entire city of Udaipur and more, while still managing my workload. You can tailor your day according to the weather, city, and the type of activities you want to do.
Once you have your days planned, letting your team know about it is always a good idea. They’ll know when to expect your availability/responses accordingly.
It’s important to not forget the “work” in workation. If you’re out for a few drinks, make sure you’re not getting back to work immediately after that, you don’t want to catch yourself sending out emails intoxicated. Hold your end of the bargain by delivering what you promised when you signed up for the job. Being online while you’re actually skiing is not an ideal way to win your teams trust. If a major productivity drop is noticed, it’s likely that another workation might not be something you’d get your organisations support for, which is fair. This will also impact your performance evaluation negatively, so please be extremely responsible throughout.
Supportive work environment
This plays a major role on how your workation will pan out. If you have a team that understands your uncertain availability, are proactive, are not fully dependant on you, have your back, can work asynchronously and don’t have expectations of you doing things “now” or “in the next hour”, then you’re in for a treat, else you rather take a traditional vacation.
Understanding travel companions
If you’re travelling solo, this doesn’t apply to you, but if you’re with someone, please make sure they fully understand that you will be working on this trip and not just keep yourself online while roaming around (Some people do have a weird understanding of remote work). Set realistic expectations and if they’re not on the same boat, you need to rethink a few things before going ahead.
You’re going to be spending a lot of your money on the trip so please make the most of it. Whatever the goal of your travel is, whether to explore a new place or just relax away from home, make sure you don’t forget that being too engrossed in work.
- To enjoy a workation to the fullest, I suggest at least a week off.
- Staying in a hostel is a cheaper alternative, plus you get to meet a lot of new people and fellow travellers.
- Having access to a kitchen helps with 2 things, you avoid eating outside food for all meals and you save on some money as well.
- Do a thorough research on the place you’re travelling for anything to be aware of beforehand.
- Speaking to the locals might get you to a couple of hidden spots where you must’ve not even seen online.
- Eat local! It’s cheaper and you get a bite of the culture as well 🙂