Woman Working From A Swimming Pool

Move over staycations, the workcation has arrived

The work-vacation is taking off and it has many advantages

Written by Professor Gary Martin FAIM
4 minute read
Woman Working From A Swimming Pool

Our love of remote work and the ability to work from home – or from just about anywhere we want – has blurred the hard line that once existed between job and leisure.

In fact, we are now witnessing work bleed into weekends and holidays - vacations back into work.

The blurring between work and play has given rise to a new travel habit – the work-vacation or, as it is affectionately known, “the workcation”. 

If your job allows you to work remotely for a few days, a week, a month or even a year then a workcation might work for you.

A hybrid somewhere between a vacation and a work trip, the workcation involves remote work from a holiday destination of choice without cutting into regular annual leave entitlements.

Those on a workcation pivot into tourist mode when their daily work commitments are met.

Workcations first became popular during the pandemic when some workers tired of WFH for extended periods of time and decided to mix things up by changing their regular remote work location.

Intended to supplement rather than replace regular holiday time, workcations allow employees to explore new places while attending to all the regular requirements of their jobs.

Those embarking on a workcation chose locations that held personal appeal, ranging from a quiet place in the bush to a serene beach, a sparkling tourist resort or a city never visited before.

A regular nine-to-five day on workcation at a popular coastal location might kick off with a yoga session and a buffet breakfast before grabbing a laptop and finding a position on a hotel balcony to enjoy breathtaking ocean views while attending to work tasks. 

After a day of emails, reading, writing and virtual meetings spending the evening enjoying the local cuisine and perhaps taking in the nightlife will cap off the day.

When the weekend comes around, it’s time to play tourist and take in the very best of what your destination has to offer.

The possibilities are endless. Many workcations take place locally for just a few days, some are interstate for a week or two while others take place overseas and last anywhere from a month to a year. 

Not all workcations feature hotel balconies, tourist resorts, luxury rented apartments, chalets, B&Bs or hostels.

Some remote workers make use of their own holiday cottages, motor homes or caravans for their workcations while others utilise the accommodation of family and friends.

Advocates of workcations, including many from the tourism and travel industries, argue the advantages are similar to those of a normal holiday because they provide a change of scenery and routine that flows through to work and bolsters motivation and productivity.

Not that workcations should replace fully fledged holidays because we all need a complete break from work.  

From an employer’s perspective, workcations are useful in accommodating their employees’ interests – an important consideration in the retention of staff.

Provided that employees are able to continue to deliver without jeopardising health and safety concerns, many organisations consider the location of the employee to be almost irrelevant.

Despite the fact that workcations seem to further obliterate the boundaries between work and leisure at a time when mental health experts are stressing the need to restore them, interest in this new phenomenon is rising fast.

It might be reflective of an emerging thought bubble that we should give up our fight to restore the hard line that once separated work from our personal lives.

Advances in technology have resulted in a growing convergence between our jobs and leisure in such a way that our work and non-working lives will always bleed into each other.

Instead of fighting that integration, perhaps it is time to consider devoting our energy to embracing “The Great Convergence” and making the new reality work for us.

This will mean seeking out ways that enable us to work towards integrating all of the different elements that make for a fulfilling life. Workcations might be a great starting point.

For those about to embark on a workcation, just make sure you are clear on the strength and quality of the WiFi at your destination in advance of your arrival. 

A poor connection is one way to get your boss offside and will bring about a premature end to what should have been an idyllic workcation.