Workations – Overrated Or Worth It?
Have you seen pictures of someone relaxed on the beach with a refreshing cocktail in hand and smiling away at the laptop? It almost sounds like the person in the picture has a dream job. How we all wish we could spend the day at the beach with some work on the side – a workation – or a working vacation.
One way to look at this phenomenon is that it allows you to club travel and work. In other words, you stay productive while having a good time on the side.
The flip side is that you are travelling to a beach to (sadly) work and not enjoy the break.
There are many debates regarding this unique style of working. Corporates think it is cool to add a workation as a part of their culture. It’ll ease out an employee’s travel costs while they continue to contribute even during vacation time.
Employees think of it as a fun way to travel, see a new place, cut travel costs, work on the side and keep bosses impressed with their work ethics.
With laptops and readily available internet connectivity, it is actually quite difficult to switch-off work and take a break anyway.
People do get those ‘important’ calls that take away half their day. Then why not make it worth their while with a workation?
Types Of Workations
An employee can opt for any of the following types of workations.
- The kind described above where you travel on vacation and take your work with you. You attend local meetings and are connected with your workplace either by phone or email and attend to the work you have committed to complete.
- You do a ‘staycation’ where you take a break but come to the office instead of staying at home. At the office, you don’t work but watch movies, surf the internet, hang out in the cafeteria and have a good time.
Both of these go against everything we’ve known about a work-life balance. They make you stay connected to work, no matter where you are. Despite this, workations are gaining popularity, especially among young millennials. People like to take a very positive outlook on the concept.
It allows them to find the middle ground between work and travel.
The company and the employee both benefit from the arrangement. And, of course, all those instagrammable pics of you enjoying your workation are regarded with envy! This social vindication makes people think of it as an acceptable norm rather than an exception.
Does A Workation ‘Work’ For Everyone?
Despite the popularity of the concept, it is important to note that a workation may not be everybody’s idea of bliss.
It may not be ideal to always club work with a vacation - there are times when an employee should be able to disconnect entirely from the workplace and focus on other important things in life! Which is why workations aren’t all that great for employees with families. They’d prefer spending free time with their loved ones, over relaxing on a beach and staring at a laptop screen.
The idea is to understand if the concept would be acceptable in the workplace. If it works for you, these are a few ways in which workations can be implemented.
Here’s How You Can Incorporate ‘Workations’ Into Your Work Culture!
Here are a few ways you can encourage employees to take a ‘workation’.
1. Start With An Off-Station Retreat
Retreats have been around for many years. Employees are flown to a luxury location with exciting amenities and good food which puts them in a great mood. Once they are set, work is done during select hours of the day, and they get the rest of the time off to enjoy their stay. You could also organise team building activities to strengthen the bond between employees.
They also get to extend their workation into a vacation for a couple of days by paying corporate rates instead of regular ones which gets them a steal deal. In the end, the company receives a refreshed and rejuvenated employee while the employee gets a great vacation.
2. Send Your Employees On Sponsored Junkets
Junkets are trips that are sponsored mostly by company partners. Journalists often get invited to international outings where they can visit the client, know their story and write about it when they come back. These are usually more play than work.
Junkets are a win-win for everyone. The partner involved gets editorial coverage which is much more valuable than an advertisement. The journalist gets to travel to exciting destinations where itineraries are mostly planned to mix work and travel. The company gets to keep everyone happy.
3. Conferences And Events
MICE (Meetings Incentives Conferences Events) give an excellent opportunity for the company to expose employees at all levels to on-ground realities. At such events, employees get to interact with clients, customers, partners and even competitors. They gain valuable experience by answering unexpected questions and also get to build their own and their company’s brand and network for business. It is a bonus if such events are held at a location that allows room for sightseeing or relaxing during downtime.
How To Ensure That The ‘Workation’ Works!
Workations can be successful only if the relationship is mutually beneficial. Here are a few tips.
1. Set Clear Policies
You can ask your Human Resources team to set up policies that set expectations on how workations are handled for the company. The transparency allows everyone to plan in advance.
2. Have Written Communication On A Case-By-Case Basis
Workations may vary from each other depending on the nature of work. You can collaborate with employees and come to a mutual understanding which is acknowledged on paper or email.
3. Expect And Extend Flexibility
An employer needs to extend some amount of flexibility to ensure local work conditions are taken into factor. An employee needs to understand that certain unplanned work may crop up and cause a change of plans. As long as priorities are set, both situations should get resolved without conflict.
So... Are Workations Overrated Or Worth It?
It’s best to take a balanced approach. Workations may be alright in the case of employees who hold critical posts in the company, and may not be able to take a vacation too often. It is important to note, however, that such employees might also find workations irksome if they travel regularly for conferences, events, etc. as part of their jobs. The ideal way is to analyse the effectiveness of implementing a workation in your company, by taking the opinions of the people who’d be most affected by it - your employees.