- Considering a workcation? Note the seven dos and don’ts to make it a successful one.
- Workcations may seem like the dream work arrangement, but the challenges that come with it should not be ignored.
- If your company has no workcation policy, here’s how you can ask them to grant you a workcation.
What Is a Workcation?
A workcation is a hybrid of work and vacation. If your company is agreeable to you travelling while on the clock, you can be on the job while in some fun, tropical paradise. As it allows you to be location-independent, you can clock your usual eight hours of work from anywhere: while visiting your friends in the U.S., chilling out on a terrace in Sydney, or being with relatives who need looking after.
You’re probably shaking your head, thinking how impossible it is to work full-time while on holiday. However, people used to be sceptical if working at home with kids was productive. As employees increasingly adapt to flexible work, they’re uncovering new ways to find work-life balance – including the workcation.
Workcation benefits and challenges
As with any endeavour, a workcation comes with its pros and cons. Here are some benefits to look forward to on a workcation:
1. Your annual leave remains intact
When you are on a workcation, you don’t use up your vacation days despite being half on holiday!
2. Work-life balance becomes real
You can start and end your day doing something you know will be good for your body and mind. You don’t have to wait until the weekend to do something interesting because you can incorporate it into your workday.
3. You become more creative
When you explore new places and try novel things, you boost your creativity. You approach challenges with new insights and an enhanced perspective.
4. An opportunity to enhance your career
One of the perks of going on a workcation is the experience of being in a new location. You can maximise this opportunity and make it complement your career, such as by building your professional network where you are, or learning about the local culture and economy, even if you are there temporarily.
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However, there are also challenges you need to watch out for:
5. You may be out of the loop
The potential time difference may make it hard to keep abreast with critical situations in the office. Stay connected with your colleagues to be promptly informed when important decisions need to be made.
6. It requires a higher level of time management
Highly developed time management skills are essential to make a workcation work for you and your company.
7. You risk overworking
Being away from an office environment, you may be tempted to overcompensate by working longer hours. Watch for the tendency to be addicted to work, and remember to schedule breaks.
How to work remotely on a workcation: 7 Dos and Don’ts
It is possible to embark on a successful workcation, by noting these seven points:
DO: Find the best internet providers in your location
As hotels and serviced apartments may not necessarily have lightning-speed Wi-Fi connections, consider getting a robust mobile data plan, particularly if your work requires frequent presentations and video conferencing. If you booked an Airbnb, ask your host about the Wi-Fi speed, and as a backup, inquire about nearby co-working spaces or cafes.
DO: Bring what you can from your home office
The pandemic may have trained you to work remotely effectively. Bring your home office essentials that improve your productivity, such as your cables, keyboard, mouse, and headphones. Designate a work area and keep it neat, organised, and free from distractions.
DO: Create a routine and stick to it
Apply the best practices you’ve developed when working from home. If you start your day with a big breakfast or a quick run, do the same on your workcation. Continue whatever routine you have established that helps you find balance and recharge after work.
DO: Mix in some team tasks
You might feel disconnected from your colleagues when on a workcation. Avoid this by having a good mix of tasks where you can work with the team on some days. When you make time for team-oriented activities, you can remain visible to your colleagues despite working remotely.
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DO: Set boundaries for work and play
If you are on a workcation with friends or family, set expectations to avoid conflicts. Agree on the “must-see” list and make your work hours clear to them by clearly designating a period and area where you will be working. Similarly, set boundaries with your colleagues by informing them of when you will be online and on breaks.
DO NOT: Overlook time zones
During a workcation, it may be challenging to promptly follow and respond to decisions made at work if there are time differences. Request to make important decisions via email to stay informed about critical points, and make sure you have an overlap in work hours for meetings. As much as possible, sleep during your nighttime so you have energy for fun things when your workday ends.
DO NOT: Forget to update your calendar and communication applications
Take advantage of productivity apps while doing remote work. Update your calendar regularly to show your colleagues when you are available for meetings. Avoid dropping by meetings in the middle of the night! If rescheduling is difficult, delegate someone to attend for you and ask for a debrief.
Remember to pause notifications on your communication apps to avoid getting messages late at night.
How can you ask your company for a workcation?
As your company may not have heard of a workcation, consider the following pointers before asking for one:
1. Do your research
Check with someone from your human resources department if the company can support this work arrangement. If speaking to HR is daunting, you can check your employee handbook first, to see if workcations are permitted in your organisation’s remote-work policy.
If the company has no such policy, do a quick online search of companies with one.
Pro-tip: Check with your direct competitor or an organisation with a similar work culture that your boss admires. It could make a compelling precedent.
2. Show you are capable
Find as much proof as possible that you are a results-oriented worker. Show work you did in the past that was done well with minimal supervision.
One reason companies may hesitate to offer extended remote work is the challenge of reaching employees when they are away. Hence, it will help to show that you are a consistent hard worker who can effectively communicate with your colleagues while doing remote work.
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3. Be ready with data
Use facts to show that remote work is mutually beneficial for you and your company. Cite Slack’s Future Forum study to show how flexible work arrangements improve work-life balance and decrease stress among employees.
People have different sources of motivation at work. Explore the possibilities that a workcation offers – it may just be the setup that works best for you.
This article is contributed by Jobstreet.