[Expert Hours] Join us on March 20th: Maximize Time Off While Ensuring Legal Compliance Register Now

Table Of Contents

Workation 101: Everything You Need To Know

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Table Of Contents

Remember the days when work and play were like two separate worlds that never seemed to mix? 

Today’s latest workplace buzzword, workation, is all about mixing the two.

Keep reading as we dive into what workcations are all about, why they’re catching on, and why you might just want to give them a shot.

What is a workation?

At first glance, the idea of a workation might seem like it’s pulling in two opposite directions – work and vacation, could they really coexist? It’s a natural thought. If you’re working, you can’t exactly be on vacation, right?

Wrong.

This popular trend didn’t just pop up out of nowhere. It gained major traction during the COVID-19 pandemic when remote work became the new normal. The rise of remote work has unshackled us from the traditional office cubicle setup. We’re no longer tied to our desks, and that’s where the magic happens. The workation is born from this newfound freedom of being able to work on your computer with just an internet connection.

People realized they could work from anywhere, so why not make that anywhere a destination that’s on your bucket list? With travel limitations being lifted, the world going back to normal, and digital nomads on the rise, being on workation simply makes sense. 

Defining a workation

Workation is essentially a playful fusion of work and vacation. 

To sum it up, workations are a unique blend of work and play that can make you more productive. It’s all about hitting the road while keeping up with your job. Picture yourself replying to emails from a cozy café in Bali or attending meetings with a beachy backdrop (not a virtual one) – that’s the magic of workation. It’s like getting the best of both worlds: you’re doing your job, but you’re also soaking in the vibes of a vacation.

The thought behind this concept is simple. Taking a break from your usual 9-5 routine, exploring new places, and changing up your work environment can do wonders for your productivity. It’s like hitting the refresh button on your brain, making you more focused, creative, and happier at both home and the workplace. 

So, while the concept might appear contradictory at first, it’s actually a valid response to the changing ways we work and live. The workation is here to remind us that the boundaries between work and play are becoming more flexible. It’s a nod to the fact that we can be productive, accomplish our tasks, and still enjoy the simple pleasures of life – like being on vacation. 

How does it work?

When it comes to workations, they come in three distinct kinds, each characterized by its duration.

Workations based on duration

Short-term Workation

A short-term workation is like a quick and zesty getaway. Think of it like a staycation mixed in with work.

Picture a snappy three-day trip or a rejuvenating weekend break. These workations are all about convenience and often occur in nearby locations. Imagine someone based in Los Angeles taking a short-term workation in Las Vegas. The options are endless!

Medium-term Workation

Moving up the ladder, we have medium-term workations. These are like the middle ground – they stretch from a few weeks to almost a month. If short-term workations are like a snack, medium-term workations are more like a satisfying meal. People embarking on these tend to venture a bit farther from home, usually within their own country. It’s like trading the familiar surroundings for a fresh change of scenery.

Long-term Workation

And now, for the marathon of workations – the long-term ones. These are the heavyweight champions, lasting anywhere from several months to a couple of years. Imagine temporarily setting up camp in a whole new area. Long-term workations often involve moving to a different place entirely. This might even mean crossing international borders. Because they require a bit more logistics,  a long-term workation often comes with special permits and visas, especially if they involve relocating to another country or a neighboring one.

Workations based on people

Now, shifting gears, let’s look at the workation landscape from another angle, considering the number of people involved.

Group Workation

If you’re looking to infuse some team spirit into the workation mix, the group workation is your answer. Companies can orchestrate these for their employees, usually spanning a few days to a week. It’s a fantastic way for colleagues to bond, brainstorm, and get work done in a different setting.

P.S. Here at Vacation Tracker, we put this theory to the test by having a workation/team bonding for our fully-remote team in Serbia. It did wonders for us and we can’t recommend it enough!

Solo Workation

On the flip side, we have the solo workation. 

If you’re all about independence and crafting your own work-vacation blend, this is for you. Solo workations give individual employees the freedom to plan and organize their stay just the way they like it.

So, whether you’re aiming for a quick recharge, a balanced change of pace, or a full-blown immersion in a new environment, a workation comes in various shapes and sizes to keep you covered. The only thing left to decide is which one suits you best!

Things to consider before going on a workation

Thinking about embarking on a workation? It could be a game-changer, but like any adventure, it comes with its pros and cons. Let’s break down the benefits first.

The pros

You’ll have increased productivity

Workations can supercharge your productivity. When you’re in a new environment, you often leave behind the routine chores and unexpected surprises that might distract you. Plus, fewer colleagues popping by, and shorter lunch breaks mean more focused work time. While a workation does require some self-discipline, research shows that remote work can actually boost productivity.

You’ll produce higher-quality work

Imagine stepping into a distraction-free oasis – no noisy coworkers, no constant hustle and bustle, just you and your tasks. It’s like getting a VIP pass to a serene work zone. They offer you a chance to step back from the rush, the deadlines, and the constant buzz, creating a cocoon of focus and creativity.

Workations create a distraction-free space, less pressure, and a more relaxed atmosphere, all of which lead to improved work quality. It’s like those writers who go on “writing retreats” to craft their best work.

You’ll fuel your creativity

The next time you’re considering a workation, remember that it’s not just a change of scenery – it’s a doorway to a world where your creativity can flourish in ways you might not have imagined. Your surroundings matter, and a workation can be the catalyst that takes your innovation game to a whole new level.

Fewer distractions can equal more creativity. Distractions, or rather the lack thereof, play a crucial role in this equation. When you’re in an environment with fewer disturbances, your mind gets the chance to dive deep into your work. 

And your employees will love it!

In 2023, offering flexibility is key in retaining and attracting top talent.

When you’re happy in your work, you’re more likely to stick around. This isn’t just a hunch – Maslow’s motivation theory explains it well. Happy and healthy employees are less likely to leave. This is true for digital nomads, freelancers, and employees alike. For companies, improved staff retention saves money on recruitment, training, and leads to more successful and productive employees.

The cons

Loss of Work-Life Balance

Perhaps the biggest challenge of workations is that while they offer a blend of work and leisure, also come with a potential challenge – they blur the lines that typically separate our professional and personal lives. 

You know that feeling when you can’t help but check your work emails even though you’re supposed to be on vacation mode? Well, workations can sometimes amplify the sensation of stressing about work on vacation. If this is not managed well, it could edge you closer to the cliff of burnout.

The idea of switching off, which is usually the hallmark of a vacation, can start to fade away on a workation. Without the clear distinction between work hours and leisure hours, you might find yourself answering work calls during what’s supposed to be your downtime or squeezing in tasks that you were supposed to complete later. It’s like trying to juggle two balls that keep bouncing into each other.

Changes to your Work Routine

Ah, your trusty office desk – it’s your comfort zone, your productivity haven, where everything is just the way you like it. But here’s the catch: when you venture into the world of workations, you might find yourself longing for the familiar embrace of your office setup. Why? Because those tools that you’ve come to rely on might not be at arm’s reach.

On a workation, you might miss that trusty printer, speedy Internet, or a specific room you need to get things done. This could slow you down instead of making work easier. Just as you’d pack your favorite pair of shoes for a trip, consider what tools are essential for your workation journey.

Personal Commitments

While the allure of workations is undeniable, it’s important to acknowledge that not everyone can simply pack their bags and set off for extended periods.

There are anchors that keep many of us rooted to our home base – anchors like mortgages, family commitments, schooling and much more. These aspects of our lives, while fulfilling and significant, can also present challenges when it comes to embarking on a workation journey. Ultimately, workations are an opportunity to blend work and leisure, but it’s essential to do so in a way that respects and accommodates your individual life circumstances. 

Visas and Work Permits

Legally working abroad can be a puzzle. Tourist visas often don’t cover work, but how do you define work in a digital age? 

Some countries like the UAE, Canada, and Portugal have recognized the growing trend of remote work and have responded by offering remote work visas. These are like golden tickets for those seeking to work abroad without facing legal hurdles. These visas acknowledge the unique nature of remote work, making it possible for you to legally contribute to your job while exploring new horizons.

The bottom line

In a nutshell, workations are your ticket to combining adventure with your 9-to-5. 

They’re a chance to shake up your routine, embrace new surroundings, and find a work-life balance that suits you. Just remember, planning and finding that sweet spot between hustling and chilling is key. 

So, whether you’re up for a quick getaway or the trip of your lifetime, workations might just be your new jam!

Snigdha Gupta
Snigdha Gupta

An avid writer and aspiring marketer, Snigdha is a student at Concordia University’s John Molson School of Business.

Manage Time Off in Lieu (TOIL) in Vacation Tracker

Manage Time Off in Lieu (TOIL) in Vacation Tracker

Read more
TOIL vs. Overtime Pay: What’s Best for Your Business?

TOIL vs. Overtime Pay: What’s Best for Your Business?

Read more
Understanding Substitute Approvers in Vacation Tracker

Understanding Substitute Approvers in Vacation Tracker

Read more

Do you want to simplify PTO tracking?

Schedule a free consultation with our team to learn how Vacation Tracker can help you.

Request a demo