What is a Workcation? A Guide to Planning a Working Holiday

Your vacation doesn’t have to end just because you ran out of paid time off. Mixing business and pleasure as part of a long-term stay has become known as a ‘workcation’ and is one of the most popular travel trends today. So, what is a workcation? The workcation trend allows one to continue to work while also enjoying the scenery and activities of a new location or a favourite vacation spot. Imagine sending budget proposals while sitting by the ocean or being able to walk along miles of beach on your next lunch break. You’ll still need to work your regular hours for the day, including answering emails, attending video conferences and any other duties related to your role. The only difference is that you could be doing it from the beach in the Bahamas or a café in Paris, instead of your home office or other physical work location.

With more people now working from home, this could be your opportunity to head out on a workcation of your own. You wouldn’t be alone. According to a Harris Poll, 74% of Americans currently working at home say they are open to the idea of a ‘workcation’. How can you get started? How do you bring the idea up to your boss? We’ve got tips to consider when planning your next working holiday.

What Type of Location is Ideal for a Workcation?

Choosing workcation destination differs from deciding on a vacation spot where you could disconnect entirely. Remember, you’ll still be working your regular hours, so you likely won’t have the entirety of the day to explore. To avoid disappointment, it may be best to stay away from locations where most activities and attractions are only accessible during the day.

Think International

What makes a good workcation location? Consider hopping on a plane, leaving your home country, and going international. The change of scenery, culture, and lifestyle can be both relaxing and rewarding. To make the transition easier, consider visiting places you’ve already been (and enjoyed) or cities where you used to live. You might still have family and friends in these places, and it makes for a great excuse to see them at lunch or after work. Returning to previously visited locations also means you might not feel so bad about missing out on sightseeing and the general change of scenery will still be beneficial. Places like resorts are also good choices, especially if they have Wi-Fi across the property. Hanging out by the pool or beach is as relaxing as it gets. Plus, resorts usually have everything you need onsite, meaning you won’t have much of a reason to venture off property anyways.

If you plan to take a workcation abroad, you will want to consider the effects that different time zones have on your ability to align with co-workers back home. You may also want to familiarize yourself with country-specific visa requirements for extended stays.

Stay Local

If you’re looking to keep things local, we’ve got some workcation ideas for you. Domestic workcations involve staying in your home country. These types of trips are usually easier to plan and easier on the wallet, with savings on currency exchange and transportation. Road trips or going ‘glamping’ are great examples of local workcations. Although road trips and glamping can provide for moments of disconnection, you’ll want to ensure there is a readily available Wi-Fi source for those hours you are meant to be working.

Before you book your accommodations, be sure it is close to facilities that matter to you. This could include grocery stores, coffee shops, libraries, and restaurants.

Why Should an Employer Allow Workcations?

Workcations allow employees to get a change of scenery and some much-needed relaxation without having to draw on their vacation days. They also won’t have to play ‘catch-up’ in the same way they would have after a regular vacation from work.

What about employers who are skeptical about the concept? It can be a great way to create balance for employees by allowing them a getaway, while not abandoning all work responsibilities. According to ManpowerGroup, 2021 saw roughly 7 in 10 employers struggle to find workers to hire for specific positions, marking a 15-year high. If your workplace falls into this category, asking your supervisor for a workcation arrangement could be more attractive than asking for vacation time. Workcations may also be preferred during busier times of the year.

How Can Employers Become More Receptive to the Idea?

Workcations require trust and flexibility between both employee and employer. There are a few details that both parties should agree to before a working trip is approved.

Agree to dates: Set dates as to when an employee will be traveling and when they will be returning.

Communicate schedule modifications: Employees may be interested in taking a morning or afternoon off to enjoy some sightseeing or other daytime event. This should be communicated before leaving. Employers can ask employees to make up that time outside of regular working hours.

How can employees be reached? Will there be Wi-Fi? Will employees have their smartphones? Will they be checking email and chat regularly? What happens if they can’t be reached – who can make decisions in their place? These are all questions that should be answered before departure so that employers have a better idea of how they can rely on you while away.

Use technology to your advantage: Technology is evolving. Organizations can use this to their advantage. There are now many virtual collaboration tools that make remote, collaborative work easier than ever before.

Related: Learn more about the top virtual collaboration tools for business

You've Made it! Tips for Employees Towards Having an Enjoyable Workcation

You’ve landed or driven to your location, and the time has finally come to start your workcation! But before you get started, we’ve got a few reminders that will help you have a more enjoyable and productive experience.

  • Did you pack everything you need? A great starting point is a checklist of items to bring with you. Pack according to your plans and the climate of your destination. Besides clothes, don’t forget about technology for work. Your laptop and smartphone will be high on the priority list. Ensuring that the places you plan to work have Wi-Fi is also an important consideration.
  • Stick to the schedule: By this point, you’ve told your supervisor and team when you’d be working. Be sure to stick to the schedule and don’t let outside influences, like visiting friends, tempt you into deviating from your word. Ensure you have a plan for making up time and notifying your colleagues if a schedule change occurs.
  • Be flexible: Even though we told you to stick to your schedule, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be flexible. We recommend asking for flexible time on at least a couple of days that you’re away. This will help you experience some activities that you may not be able to enjoy otherwise, such as a daytime hike.
  • Ditch the working lunch: You’re on a workcation! Take all your breaks while away to enjoy the little things, like grabbing food at a nearby restaurant or a fancy drink at the bar.
  • Leave your room: Try working in different spots every day for a more diverse experience. Work from a coffee shop, by the beach, at the pool or a quiet area in the hotel lobby. A change of scenery is great but working from your room could create a disappointing experience when you’ve traveled all that way.

Once you return, set a meeting with your supervisor, and share honest details of your experience. You might just set the groundwork for the workcation trend to be a viable option for other employees at your organization in the future.