In the new year, it feels like everyone’s trying to do something different, whether that’s making resolutions to work harder or smarter, or planning trips away. But there’s one new(ish) trend that kind of combines the two: going away on holiday, but blending in some work – maybe quite a lot of it – into the trip. It’s known as a workcation, and it could be your next perfect trip.
Travel can boost your career prospects, but for many of us, the lines between work and play are becoming increasingly blurred; we work from our laptops, we travel and check our emails, we’re self-employed and take trips when we like. The growth of portfolio careers, digital communications and flexible working hours has changed the very definition of the holiday. But this has its merits and its drawbacks. Read on to find out if a workcation could be your thing this year…
How could a workcation er, work?
Picture the scene: yoga by the pool in the morning, catching up on some emails under the shade of palm trees, the warm ocean at your feet. By lunchtime you’ve got writers’ block, so you dive into the cool, nearby waters for a refresher. It works a treat. By 3pm you’ve done all your work for the day, and head home for dinner – which takes place on the beachfront 400ft away. Fried fish – delicious! And there’s no commute, chores, or cleaning up involved. It’s just work and relaxation this week.
The best thing about workcations is that they are flexibile in terms. For those who are fully employed and (with a cool boss) it may be possible to have a workcation without eating up your vacation days. You can work as normal, just away from the office, as one writer from The Muse reports. “We were… each spending a week working remotely from other places. We still click-clacked away on our laptops for approximately eight hours a day. We still answered emails, were still available on our company chat system, and still attended meetings via video hangout. We just did it from a patio in the Dominican Republic and a cool cafe in Washington, DC instead of our office in New York.”
For others who are self-employed, or not able to protect their holiday time, you can take a workcation by planning a normal holiday and taking some work with you. Now, that doesn’t have to be office stuff, but it could be your personal projects. Want to work on that business plan, or write that book? A workcation could boost your productivity and keep you focused.
Booking a workcation
If you want to take off and work alone, without worrying about anyone else, you can organise a workcation yourself fairly easily. A private room in a nice hostel, an Airbnb with a great Wifi connection, a week by the pool somewhere quiet…the possibilities are endless.
But there are also a range of travel groups that offer curated holiday packages for the workcation lifestyle.
Entrepreneurs, digital nomads, the employed and the self-employed, can all work and chill with companies like Hacker Paradise, Wifi Tribe and Roam. They each offer a hybrid of plush accommodation, independent work-time, and inspiring talks from leading professionals. Community bonding and skill-sharing is at the heart of all workcation trips, so in-between doing your own stuff, you’re bound to network and socialise, too.
The best part, though? These travel groups are nomadic and move around every few weeks or so; they pick countries with stunning scenery, a great work-life balance, and ready-made work spaces.
We reached out to Spencer Jentzsch CEO Hacker Paradise about why more and more people are travelling and working this way. He said he founded the company to “break conventions” and has never looked back.
He commented: “The traditional life cycle of: study hard for years, work hard for decades, pay off a mortgage for more decades, finally retire and do what you want for a bit, is quite awful when you step back and look at it. With all the technology we have today, there is no need to be rooted down in one location. There is no need to delay living your best life until you retire. We are seeing more and more people becoming disenfranchised with traditional employment incentives and acquiring material goods.”
“Instead, we see people seeking benefits like remote working opportunities and life experiences with meaning. Couple this with advancements in technology, and you have a whole movement of people that not only want to work and travel, but have the tools to do so very effectively. The question ultimately becomes, ‘why not’?
Ok, I’m sold. But how can I make sure I get work done?
Before booking a workcation, either solo or with a nomadic travel group, you need to think long and hard about how to maximise productivity. If you’re heading to a city where there’s non-stop nightlife, or mega expensive accommodation, are you going to get distracted or stressed? Choose your spot wisely as this will undoubtedly affect your workflow.
Time zones are also another consideration. If you need to be available for meetings or calls, but you’re working on the other side of the world, how practical is that 3am Skype going to be?
Wherever you go, make sure that super-fast wifi is a given, and remember that if you opt to book a trip with a travel group, there will be lots of other things to consider. Often, the prices don’t include flights or food, so make sure you’ve budgeted for the rest. Then, when it comes to sharing your space with others, think about whether you want a shared room, or if you’re up for socialising with the rest of the crew, or would prefer working solo most of the time.
With a bit of forward planning, a workcation could be your best trip ever…
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