Tips for a Great Workcation
Just like a traditional vacation, a working vacation involves quite a bit of planning. Here are a few things to consider as you start to plot out your remote work adventure.
Talk with your manager
Before you book your flight or plot your road trip, make sure you talk to your manager first! While you may already be working from home, working remotely from a different location — possibly even in a different country — will likely present a few challenges. When you ask your manager about it, make sure you’re prepared to answer questions about:
- When you plan to be away (including time for travel)
- What your hours and availability will be like
- Technology requirements and Wi-Fi strength
- Time changes (if any)
- Potential impacts on deadlines or meetings
It may take some negotiating with your boss before you land on a workcation plan that supports your needs as well as the company’s. One thing to keep in mind is that you may need to take some PTO to cover travel time to and from your workcation destination unless you’re able to make up that time.
Choose your workcation destination
Once your boss clears you for take-off, it’s time to decide where you want to go. Maybe you have a bucket list for travel. Maybe you just want to hang out with friends and family in another state (or country). When choosing your destination, there are a few things to consider.
Check your company’s policy on working remotely. Many US-based employers don’t allow employees to work remotely from another country because of administrative challenges, or potential legal and cybersecurity risks. Many state and federal laws have strict guidelines as to where companies can — and can’t — operate.
If you are granted permission to take a workcation, make sure you fully understand your company’s security, privacy and confidentiality policies — and follow them to a T! Another factor to consider is what happens should you get hurt while on your workcation. Will you be able to file a workers’ compensation claim, or will any care and treatment you require be your responsibility? It’s best to address this detail before you pack your bags! If the company’s guidelines aren’t clear, you can always check with HR or your manager.
Choose a place that piques your curiosity. Keep in mind you’ll be working during the day, which will likely limit sightseeing and visiting tourist attractions to the weekends. For that reason, consider saving your bucket list destinations for a traditional vacation when you can soak up all the sights. For a workcation, think about places you’ve always been curious about because of the culture or overall vibe instead.
Another option is to go to a place you’ve already been and would love to revisit! Sometimes having a place that feels special, yet familiar, is just what you need to feel relaxed, comfortable and productive.
Make sure your vacation spot has reliable internet service. Before putting down a deposit, make sure you’ll have consistent connectivity, especially during working hours, so you can be productive and reachable when it matters most.
One of the secrets to a successful work vacation is to set boundaries with both your coworkers and traveling companions for optimal work-life balance. Make sure everyone knows when you’ll be working hard — or hardly working! Scheduling both working and non-working hours on your calendar is a great way to keep everyone on the same page.
If possible, stay in a place with enough room for you to carve out a dedicated work area where you can shut the door and minimize distractions during business hours. This will help you stay focused and work more efficiently, which means you can maximize your free time! If that’s not an option, you can always check out the local café or see if your hotel has a business center.
When traveling with other people, whether it be friends or family members, it’s ideal to sync your schedules so everyone knows when it’s time to work and when it’s time to play.
Keep your routine(ish)
Whether you work in an office or remotely from home — or a little bit of both — you probably have a few routines in place. Be sure to add a few of those elements to your new environment. For example, if you like to go on a stroll over lunch each day, make sure to keep that penciled in during your workcation.
That said, it’s okay to mix things up a bit (so long as your work schedule allows for it)! For example, try setting your alarm a little earlier than you would at home so you can crank out some work bright and early. That way, you can linger a little longer at lunch, take some time to explore the sites or log off a little earlier in the afternoon.
If you’re vacationing on the beach or in the mountains, consider changing your routine. Maybe you switch your lunchtime run to a sunrise jog on the beach or an early morning trail hike. That’s a surefire way to get a renewed sense of creativity and excitement for the day!
The idea of what makes the perfect workcation varies from person to person. If hanging out in a clean, quiet hotel room with room service at your beck and call boosts your productivity, go for it! Likewise, if you want to explore your new surroundings while taking care of business, pack up your laptop and find a relaxing spot outside your hotel room or vacation rental that makes you feel both adventurous and productive.
Speaking of being productive, one way to stay motivated both personally and professionally while on a workcation is to set small, attainable goals! When you clock in, write down 3-5 big things you want to accomplish during your working hours. And on the flip side, make a list of restaurants, tourist sites or other attractions you’d like to see outside your workday. Every little win can help build up to an overall successful workcation!
Should You Take a Workcation?
It may sound cliché, but timing is everything. If you have an important deadline looming or a big project coming up, it may not be the best time for a workcation. But planning a workcation (or maybe just a vacation, depending on the size of the project) for after you meet the deadline or wrap up the project can be that extra oomph of motivation you need to get to the finish line.
And while a workcation may sound like the best of both worlds, it’s not for everyone. Some people return from a working vacation feeling refreshed and re-energized. Others need the complete separation of work and play — including being unplugged and completely away from the office — to fully rejuvenate. It depends on your preferences and behaviors.