- 1 Workation: the fusion of work and vacation that’s taking the world by storm
- 2 Why companies should encourage workations
- 3 How to prepare a company for workations?
- 3.1 1. Establish clear workation guidelines
- 3.2 2. Set clear expectations
- 3.3 3. Get familiar with legal issues related to workations
- 3.4 4. Don’t forget about providing your employees with the right tools and technology
- 3.5 5. Prioritize health and safety aspects
- 3.6 6. Create a detailed itinerary and provide the necessary information
- 3.7 7. Identify the target audience and select appropriate activities
- 3.8 8. Sensitize workers to security and data protection
- 3.9 9. Costs and reimbursement
- 4 Do workations pay off?
Have you heard of people soaking up the sun on a beach while still being able to attend a conference call? Well, that’s called workation, and it’s becoming increasingly popular among those who want to mix work with pleasure. If you’re an HR leader, you simply can’t ignore this trend! Read on to learn about workation and how to create policies that support it.
Workation: the fusion of work and vacation that’s taking the world by storm
Hardly anyone can say that they’ve made it through the last couple of years with their work-life unchanged. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies had to shift to remote work to keep their businesses running. Some people loved it; others hated it. Either way, that shift has revolutionized how people work today.
With the high-speed Internet widely available, remote work is possible for millions of people, allowing them to stay connected with their colleagues and work productively outside their offices. That has made people realize that they don’t need to work the same way as before – the world of work has changed for good, opening up opportunities people never thought of before.
Today, 8 in 10 people have either hybrid or remote work, and FlexJobs’ 2022 Career Pulse Survey shows that a whopping 97% of workers still prefer some form of remote work.
This has given rise to something that goes beyond remote work – the star of this article: workation. So, what is it actually about?
What is the idea behind workation?
The whole idea behind workation is to combine work with vacation. In other words, it’s a working vacation. It involves working remotely from a location that is typically considered a vacation destination and enjoying the benefits of being in a different environment, away from a regular work setting. So, it doesn’t really matter whether it’s a beach resort or a mountain cabin. As long as there is access to the Internet and the work gets done, all is good.
Hold on a second. Isn’t workation the same as remote work then?
Even though both describe work arrangements, they differ in some important ways.
Remote work is usually a permanent agreement that refers to the ability to work from anywhere. Remote workers can be based at home, a coffee shop, or another location outside of a traditional office. It’s up to them to choose their place of work and very often working hours as well. There’s usually more flexibility in this regard when compared to workation.
Workation revolves around working in the place employees pick for their holidays. It’s about taking a break from a typical place of work, but not from the work itself. The duration of workation isn’t permanent as in the case of remote work. It’s specified beforehand, and once it’s over, workers return to their offices. The same goes for working hours – generally, during workation, people work according to their standard working hours.
Another thing worth mentioning here is that more and more companies treat workations as a way for their employees to get together and integrate at recreation sites.
Types of workation
We can distinguish three types of workations depending on their length, and two more when we consider the number of employees involved.
- Short-term workation: It’s a few-day getaway that helps to break the monotony of a daily routine while still getting the work done.
- Medium-term workation: It lasts a few weeks up to almost a month and can take place further from home but still within the country.
- Long-term workation: This type of workation can last between several months and a couple of years. It’s more complicated to organize as it usually involves moving abroad. And that oftentimes requires special permits and visas.
- Group workation: It’s often organized by the company. It offers an opportunity for colleagues from the same organization to collaborate, bond, and work on projects while enjoying a change of scenery. It’s a great way for a team to strengthen relationships and increase productivity, especially if team-building activities are involved.
- Solo workation: It applies to individual workers who want to focus on work without any distractions or interruptions. It’s usually initiated and planned by the workers themselves and can be a great opportunity for their personal growth and self-discovery.
Why companies should encourage workations
If done properly, workations can be a win-win situation for everybody. Let’s see how both employees and businesses can profit from the workation trend.
Benefits for employees
What are the perks of workation for employees? Here are some of them:
- Improved work-life balance: During workations workers can take time to engage in leisure activities and spend time with other people, ultimately improving their overall well-being.
- Reduced stress and the risk of burnout: Working in a relaxing location and exploring new cultures and sights in the meantime help employees reduce their stress levels and recharge their batteries.
- Increased productivity and creativity: Having a change of scenery and being exposed to new stimuli can enhance productivity and encourage new ideas. More than 80% of those who tried workation confirm being more productive and creative as a result.
- Higher job satisfaction: Employees who feel that they perform well at work are happier and, in turn, more satisfied with their jobs.
- Enhanced teamwork: Group workations can help employees bond with their colleagues in a relaxed setting. That leads to a more positive and productive work environment.
Benefits for companies
As it was mentioned before, companies can also greatly benefit from workations. In what way? All the benefits experienced by employees positively impact the business in the long run. Here are a few benefits that workation can offer for companies:
- Increased business revenue: Happy and energized employees perform 12% more effectively which translates to delivering better results.
- Enhanced employee morale: Offering workation as an employee benefit helps boost employee morale, leading to increased job satisfaction and employee retention.
- Attracting top talents: Workation can be an attractive incentive for potential employees, allowing companies to attract top talents and maintain a competitive edge in the job market.
- Employer brand: By allowing workers to join the hype of workation, the companies demonstrate that they’re open to new trends, value work-life balance, and invest in employee well-being.
- Helping combat absenteeism: Relaxed and motivated employees are more likely to work regularly without taking dozens of days off.
- Lower costs: Reducing the size of offices together with the costs that come along and creating co-working spaces can lead to considerable cost savings.
How to prepare a company for workations?
So, can workations really work successfully for both parties? The answer is: yes. But it’d be better to ask: How to make workations work for everybody?
Well, this cannot be achieved without careful planning and management.
Regardless of whether you want to organize group workations for your teams, accept the requests for solo workations or think about the sense of offering this option as a corporate benefit, there are a few things to consider before you make a move.
To make workations successful, follow the steps below.
1. Establish clear workation guidelines
Just like any other perk, workations require a clear-cut written policy covering:
- The simple definition of workation – the company needs to explain what stands behind workation and make sure everyone understands it the same way.
- The number of days that employees can take for a workation at a time and in a year.
- The list of authorized countries where employees can work from during workations.
- Clear communication channels.
- The obligation to have access to a reliable internet connection.
The well-defined procedure for requesting and approving workations.
2. Set clear expectations
Apart from having a written workation policy, it’s good to specify what’s expected of the employees using workations. A clearly defined purpose of the workation together with the expected outcomes will surely help your workers get the most out of their workations and avoid confusing situations.
Before allowing your employees to go on workation, ensure that workation arrangements are compliant with relevant labor laws, tax laws, and employment regulations in the place your employees choose for workation.
Since these compliance mistakes can be quite costly, it can be a good idea to reach out to legal advisors to stay on the safe side.
4. Don’t forget about providing your employees with the right tools and technology
Do you want your employees to have a successful workation? No doubt about it. So, it’s important to prepare them beforehand. Make sure that they have all the essential tools and technology required to keep their typical work standards. This could include laptops, software, and any other tools necessary for their work.
5. Prioritize health and safety aspects
Any location, whether it’s a beach resort, a small Italian town or a big city, can pose health and safety risks to your employees.
Regardless of the place, it is the employer’s legal and moral responsibility to ensure the well-being of their employees. Failing to do so can result in legal liabilities, loss of productivity, and damage to the company’s reputation.
So, provide your workers with adequate insurance coverage and relevant training on safety measures.
6. Create a detailed itinerary and provide the necessary information
Create a detailed plan that includes all activities, travel arrangements, and accommodation information. You should also provide employees with information on local customs, laws, and emergency contacts.
7. Identify the target audience and select appropriate activities
When planning a group workation, select activities that are relevant and engaging for those who decide to go, that can be anything from team-building activities and training sessions to cultural excursions.
With the right activities, you can help increase employee engagement, foster collaboration, and promote professional development.
8. Sensitize workers to security and data protection
It is easy to lose your guard while working in a beautiful place. Everything seems new and exciting. It can be a matter of seconds when some stranger takes a look at sensitive data.
That’s why educating employees on how to handle sensitive information, use secure networks, and avoid common security threats is so important.
9. Costs and reimbursement
Establish a policy on what costs will be covered by the company (and these can be things like travel, accommodation, and other expenses) and how employees can claim reimbursement.
Do workations pay off?
When implemented effectively, workations can pay off for both travel-deprived workers and companies striving to have productive teams. And it’s hard to think otherwise given all these benefits above.
By providing a change of scenery and opportunities for team-building and collaboration, workations can increase productivity, enhance employee job satisfaction, and generally bring long-term benefits to your company.
Introducing workations as a corporate benefit is a good move towards having motivated and loyal workers. In case you’ve been wondering how else you can improve employee engagement in your organization, read our article on the best employee engagement strategies that actually work.
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