If you’re the outdoorsy type, picture yourself at a campsite picnic table, working on your laptop while marshmallows roast on a fire nearby. Or if you fancy sand between your toes, imagine taking Zoom calls at a hotel desk as waves crash outside, and swimming in the sea when the workday is done.
Many Canadians are making those sort of scenarios a reality with workcations - a wonderful blend of vacation travel and remote working which sees you relocate to where you live and work for a few weeks or even months.
Also dubbed “bleisure travel” (that’s business travel + leisure,) the workcation is a new twist to remote working.
Canadians are Planning Workcations
A recent survey done by travel search engine, Kayak, found 60 per cent of Canadians value a work-life balance and 32 per cent plan to take a workcation in 2022, with about a third of those surveyed feeling a change of scenery will help prevent burnout.
They may be onto something.
While the same routine day after day can be a drain on the brain, changing it up is healthy.
Findings published in Nature Neuroscience show that shaking up the daily grind with new experiences or being exposed to new environments can helpour wellbeing by creating positive emotions and enhancing happiness.
“Our results suggest people feel happier when they have more variety in their daily routines — when they go to novel places and have a wider array of experiences,” says Catherine Hartley, an assistant professor in New York University’s Department of Psychology and one of the paper’s co-authors.
Workcation Not in the Budget?
Try a mini workcation by going to a local library with a great view, a hotel not so far away or road tripping to visit family or friends.
There are virtual vacations too, which allow you to add some travel-like experience to your workday. We checked out Costa Rica from home without spending a dime.
A Trip Abroad might be just the Ticket but isn’t Necessarily Required
Machu Picchu or Paris may make your list of ideal workcation destinations. But if you’re unable to go, researchers say small scenery changes like a walk around the block or taking a different route to the grocery store can also have beneficial outcomes.
If your job has remote potential, work-from-home can pretty much be wherever you want it to be, as long as you have an Internet connection, a place to lay your laptop and lucky enough to have a boss who trusts your productivity won’t suffer (or may even improve) if you join the workcationer wave.
Assessing Whether this Travel Trend works Depends on who you ask
Some caution! It isn't as easy as grab-your-work-gear-and-go, but boils down to achieving a healthy blend of not slacking on the work front but also soaking up some new experiences too.
At its best, some see a successful workcation as a way to break bad habits and improve that work-life balance by serving as a practice-run for the life you want to live back home.
A Good Business Move?
Done right, the workcation can be a win-win for both employers and workers. The workload doesn’t lessen and the deadlines don't disappear, they simply relocate.
Some Canadian companies recognize a paycheque and more traditional job perks don't pack the same punch while incorporating workcations makes them more competitive. Some even help cover the costs of accommodations and travel offering workcation programs or packages.
A Few Must-Haves & Things to Consider When Planning a Workcation
- An employer or work that’sflexible enough to let you take one. It’salso important to confirm with your company’s IT department that your systems will work from a remote location. They may need to provide you with tools like a VPN to use when you connect remotely
- A desire for a healthy change of scenery
- The financial ability to live away for a few weeks or a month or more
- A time zone that makes it possible to collaborate with your work team from afar
- A workcation destination with a desk or quality space to work from. Anyone who tried working from a sofa during the pandemic knows it’s a nice novelty but, really, you need a desk and quiet place to work
- Adapters for your electronics and, perhaps, noise-cancelling headphones
- A good phone plan, so roaming charges don’t ruin your time away
- Strong and reliable wifi or data plan – there’s nothing worse than trying to work remotely with bad internet
- Travel insurance. Of course, at GMS we urge people to make sure they’re covered for any unexpected costs by checking that their insurance is adequate and appropriate