10 Tips to Make Your Workation Feel Like a True Vacation

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Whether it’s technological advances, a change in business thinking, or the aftermath of the global pandemic, working from 9 to 5 in an office is fast becoming a thing of the past. Now, workers want flexibility when it comes to where they work.

A workation is a blend between work and vacation when employees ditch their desks and travel to a new destination to work from. Research from the summer of 2023 found that 3 out of every 10 Europeans wanted to work from a holiday location in the future, showing that it is becoming a popular demand in workplaces.

So, is working from a different country all it’s cracked up to be? Can you strike a balance between leisure and work? And what, if any, steps you should take to set yourself up for success?

In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about a workation, from the core benefits of taking one to find the best locations to visit, setting up a productive office space, and more. With these tips, your workation will feel like a bona fide vacation.

Five Main Benefits of a Workation

man inside a van sitting with his laptop on front- How to Make Your Workation Feel Like a True Vacation

Since workation blends leisure and business, it’s easy to see why employees want to take them. But did you know there are many reasons a company should offer them, too?

Some of the main benefits of taking a workation include:

1. Improves Mental Health & Productivity

Changing your work environment can have a massive impact on your mental well-being and help you become more creative. In a survey, nearly 90% of US employees reported that a workation boosted their productivity, with 69% claiming they were less likely to leave their job afterward.

Going on a workation could be what you need to change your perspective on things, get yourself out of a rut at work, and improve your job satisfaction tenfold.

2. Expands your Horizons

One of the core reasons behind taking a workation is that you can explore new places, learn new cultures, and pursue new interests. By taking a workation, workers will become more creative and develop new skills around technology that can help the business in many different ways.

3. Reduces the Rate of Burnout

Burnout is a state of mental, physical, or emotional exhaustion and can lead to poor work performance. Research has shown that up to 75% of workers have experienced burnout at some level, making it a massive concern for businesses.

Workations are a great way of reducing burnout, allowing workers to work in a relaxing environment and pursue their passions. Workers won’t have to take up their precious holiday time to enjoy themselves throughout the year.

4. Improves Organizational Skills

A workation requires a lot of planning and research to pull off. Planning one can help you to develop a host of organizational skills, including time management and time efficiency. Moreover, despite the distance, many people on workations can collaborate better with colleagues thanks to new innovative technologies.

5. Improves your Networking

group of people sitting with laptop on the table- How to Make Your Workation Feel Like a True Vacation

Because workations and remote working are becoming popular worldwide, they can offer workers an excellent opportunity for you to network with other professionals in their new area. Many co-working spaces are set up across countries to encourage digital nomads to visit and contribute to their economy.

By visiting these networking spaces, you stand to encounter a host of highly skilled professionals whom you may otherwise never meet.

Ten Tips on Making a Workation Work for You

Now that we know what benefits are up for grabs, you might wonder how to prepare for a great workation. Below are ten tips and tricks to ensure your working vacation pays off.

1. Choose the Right Destination

A critical part of a workation is your destination. After all, the whole point of a workation is being able to blend working and relaxing, but also to explore new towns, cities, and countries.

So, where should you go? Well, many dream locations are fast becoming the go-to spot for workations for people worldwide. Some of the best include:

  • Barbados: With some of the most beautiful scenery and impeccable weather, Barbados is fast becoming the top spot for a workation. A special visa allows workers to work for up to one year without a fuss.
  • Bermuda: Another place to check out is Bermuda, which also promises beautiful scenery, culture, and more, with a 12-month worker’s program.
  • Mexico: With unique beach towns, fine cuisine, and culture, Mexico is fast becoming the go-to workation spot for North America, thanks to its two options for workers, including a six-month tourist visa and a temporary resident visa for one year.
  • Croatia: With thousands of Mediterranean islands, national parks, and a new digital nomad visa, Croatia has become a hotbed for workation trips.

A nearly unlimited number of locations worldwide can offer you a fantastic workation experience. You can travel and work remotely there if the country has suitable partner visa options, high-speed internet, and affordable accommodation.

Many experienced travelers recommend visiting places you are familiar with for your first trip. Having a workation in a place you’ve been to ensures you know how things work, the language, and customs, and you can hit the ground running as soon as you arrive at your destination.

2. Pick the Right Accommodation

Another integral part of planning for a successful workation is choosing the right accommodation for you. Many countries offer various homes in different areas, with pros and cons to consider for each.

Ideally, your new home should be near amenities and services, such as shops, restaurants, and bars, as well as public transport to travel around with. Ensure you have a kitchen, a living room, a dining space, and a separate room you can use as your workstation. Don’t take anything for granted, and research what is included in the rental, e.g., broadband packages, utilities, and more.

It’s a good idea to pick a neighborhood that is in a quiet area, away from the hustle and bustle of tourists. That way, you can be more focused during work and enjoy peace during your downtime.

One of the reasons why workations are exciting is that you’re given a chance to live somewhere truly unique. Many Airbnb properties have unique aesthetics or are found in exclusive locations that could make a perfect base for your workation.

3. Ensure you are Cyber-Secure

Cybersecurity is one of the main reasons why a business might prefer to avoid granting workations. After all, employees who log onto sensitive business systems abroad may have different protection or caution than in the office.

So, how do you address these legitimate concerns? How can you enjoy working in a new place and still have peace of mind that you aren’t compromising your work? By using a virtual private network (VPN).

A VPN is a cybersecurity tool that encrypts internet connections, scrambling internet traffic and making it impossible to interpret. Even when connecting to public Wi-Fi networks at coffee shops or airports, a VPN can ensure that your online activity is kept private and prevent hackers from being able to snoop on you.

Usually, your IP address can give hackers lots of personal information about you and your work. If they learn that information, they could discover you’re working remotely and not from the office. You might wonder, “Is there a way to hide my IP address?” so you can conceal your workation. Thankfully, a VPN addresses this concern.

A VPN can mask your IP address. Not only does this prevent opportunistic hackers from learning about your trip, but it can also prevent third-party websites from tracking and storing your data when you browse online.

4. Find a Co-working Space Both to Focus and to Meet New People

You can go on a workation alone as well, not only with all the colleagues from the office. However, adjusting can be challenging, especially without any interaction from colleagues. You might lose focus, begin to procrastinate, or even become a little lonely in this new place.

An excellent solution is to find co-working spaces in your area and visit them for a change of scenery. Research from the Harvard Business Review found that those who engaged with co-working spaces saw their work as more meaningful and got a greater sense of community — two vital ingredients for a workation.

These spaces are tailor-made for remote working and have everything you need to work the entire day, including desks, fast internet connection, meeting rooms for additional privacy, food services, and more. Many are open 24/7 to cater to any schedule you might be working to.

Moreover, people from all backgrounds are attracted to these spaces, so you’ll never be short of exciting people to work alongside. This gives you an excellent opportunity to network with people and make friends with others on similar workations.

Co-working spaces can also be a great way to ensure your work-life balance. Once you leave the office to return home, you’re ending your work day and are free to do your own things.

5. Pack Everything you Need for Work

Blending travel and work together can bring challenges, many of which can be avoided by preparing beforehand. While the vacation part of your trip can be easy enough to plan for, you must pay special attention to any work-related items you must bring, including work laptops, tablets, printers, scanners, and more. If you’re collaborating with a team, pack a high-quality webcam and microphone to ensure you can attend and contribute to meetings.

While there’s a temptation to use your work laptop for everything, you should separate business and pleasure. So, bring your own devices. This way, when it is time to unwind and enjoy yourself, you don’t have to worry about using work devices for private business.

One of the biggest headaches many workers face when on a workation is forgetting everyday things like charging cables. Although you can often source these while on your workation, be careful — unsuitable cables used to power devices can lead to overheating, overcharging, and battery failure. If possible, use cables made by the manufacturer of the devices.

6. Remember the Physical Security of Online Work

Did you know that there’s also a physical side to cybersecurity? Especially for workers logging in in new places, such as cafés, airports, beaches, and more, you need to be mindful of how a person might steal information simply by looking at your screen.

While on a workation, it’s wise to develop physical security measures, such as blocking sight lines that allow someone behind you to spy on your screen when working in public. Additionally, always keep your devices with you, including USBs and flash drives. If you need to leave a workspace, log out from your devices and take them with you for safekeeping.

Lastly, you should also be vigilant over your property at home, especially when leaving to sight see and explore. Keep valuable technology, such as your work laptop, away from open viewpoints like windows or doorways to protect them from opportunistic passersby.

7. Continue Delegating and Collaborating

Some people feel guilty when on a workation, especially if they are the only one taking it, and the rest of the staff is working in the office. Unfortunately, to compensate, the ones on a workation might do more work than they are supposed to or feel they can’t ask for help or collaboration from colleagues back at home.

Never forget that just because you’re away and enjoying yourself as you work, you’re still working. The fact that you’re in another country does not diminish your contributions. Don’t feel compelled to take on more work or be afraid to delegate as you would at the office.

With any workation, it’s essential to factor in time differences between you, your office work hours, and any other employee who might be away on a workation of their own. Finding a time that suits everyone can be courteous and ensures that collaboration and teamwork can continue normally.

8. Create a Clear, Clever Workspace

The workspace is an integral part of a workation. Despite living in a new home, one of the best ways to make your trip feel like a vacation is to design it to your liking.

A well-designed workspace looks great and feels great to work in. It can help increase productivity and minimize the space that the workstation takes up in your new home. Some of the best ideas are:

  • Using wall space: Place corkboards or whiteboards on nearby walls to hold essential work dates, ideas, or photos, all the while maximizing space and decluttering your desk.
  • Lighting: Try to position your workspace to make natural light available. This can help keep you motivated and make the space feel much bigger than it is.
  • Vertical storage: Place your work equipment, folders, and records vertically, e.g., in stacked boxes or using shelves. Such placement can help organize your work and minimize clutter.
  • Houseplants: Add a touch of life to any workspace with a small array of plants. If watering them is a struggle, opt for fake ones—no one will know the difference!
  • Unconventional spaces: There are endless possibilities of what you can make into a workspace, so you don’t necessarily need a separate room. Experiment with different locations in your house, such as an attic eave, a dividing wall, or repurposing an empty shelf into a desk.

9. Remember to Set Strict Boundaries for Work-Life Balance

A successful work-life balance simply means leaving work at work. But this can be challenging when on a workation, as you’ll still be in the same place when clocking out time comes, unless you work in a co-working space.

You must remember that the whole point of a workation is to explore a new place, enjoy some downtime, or simply change the scenery in your everyday life. To do this, you must establish clear boundaries, including your start and end time when you take your lunch and more.

You also need to communicate your needs to colleagues, for example, asking them to respect your time off, letting them know when you are free to take calls and respond to emails, and more.

Don’t be afraid to value your time. Turn off devices or silence notifications when you’re off the clock so you don’t feel obliged to work longer than you have to.

Another great way of relaxing during your downtime is by planning ‘shutdown’ routines at the end of each workday, e.g., a walk or a yoga session. These activities can help you transition from business to leisure and help you avoid unintentionally burning yourself out.

10. Don’t Overstay your Workation—Know When it is Time to Leave

The length of a workation can vary. Some last one or two weeks, others—several months. Knowing how long you will spend on a workation is vital to planning, assessing, and achieving your goals while away.

If it’s your first trip, it is highly recommended that you spend one or two weeks away to see if this way of working suits you and whether you accomplished your objectives in your set timeframe. The advantage of shorter workation periods is that you can vary the destination of your next trip so that you can visit even more towns, cities, and countries.

If you want to extend your trip, remember to check the employment laws in your host country. Some places might require a visa or a tax declaration for extended work, or you and your business may have to renew your documents.

10 Tips to Make Your Workation Feel Like a True Vacation – Summary

In essence, the art of a fulfilling workation lies in striking a perfect balance between productivity and relaxation. By implementing these 10 practical tips, you’re not just working remotely; you’re redefining the concept of work-life balance.

Whether it’s setting clear boundaries, delegating, or finding local co-working spaces, each strategy is a step towards transforming your work commitments into an enriching journey. So, embrace these guidelines and watch your workation evolve into a rejuvenating escape that energizes your spirit and amplifies your efficiency.

Remember, the world is your office, and every destination holds the promise of a new adventure and a fresh perspective on work and leisure.

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