Examining Workation Closely

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Melissa Norman

Remote working is becoming a norm for many organisations all over the world, and one trend propelled by this development that has particularly been gaining traction is  workation – a portmanteau of work and vacation. 
Simply put, it is when one combines work and leisure, working full-time while staying in a  holiday location. One could be working while sipping coconut water from a beautiful island  resort; from a cosy mountain cabin, exploring new unbeaten paths and replying to emails  whenever possible; or from a bustling metropolis, exploring the shops lining the streets while  taking up con-calls and meetings in trendy cafés. 
As we enter the third year of the pandemic, many organisations are still encouraging  remote work practises, which also leads to a growing number of workcations. In a survey  last year, a staggering 85 percent of the 3,000 Indian workers surveyed said that they took a  workcation. In a global research of eight nations, 5,500 respondents said they planned to  turn a business trip into a vacation in 2022.
Meanwhile, South Korea hopes to launch the K-culture visa and the workcation visa – two  brand-new visa categories that are hoped to draw in more tourists from outside and boost  the country’s struggling tourism sector.  Clearly, workcation is not just a passing fad among employees. 

But if we combine work and vacation, what happens to our work-life balance? 

Empowered by the ‘work-from-anywhere’ mentality created by the pandemic, a workcation allows one to explore new places while fulfilling their day-to-day obligations,  giving them the best of both worlds.  For some, this might actually be the solution to their creative block. After being cooped up  in their home offices for months, a change of scenery helps them recharge their mental  and emotional batteries. The ability to explore new places also scored highly as a  motivating factor.
However, the ability to focus on work while on a workcation also varies massively depending  on the job. Some job requires a constant stable internet connection, the space for an ideal  set-up requiring multiple screens, and unwavering focus – which can be hard when one is at a new, exciting place and their desire to explore is at an all-time high.  

Should employers be wary of this trend?  

Trust plays a big part in companies allowing their employees to go on a workcation. It can  be easy to forget about one’s actual business commitments while experiencing the thrill of discovering a new location.  It could also be more difficult to stay on schedule, maintain real-time communication with  the team, and maintain control of the situation, which can end up being quite disruptive to  the team’s synergy. Because of this, not all employers will happily allow a workcation.
Hence, employees who plan on going on a workcation should also take extra measures to set  themselves up for a successful stay. 
Further, if an organisation has just recently gone remote, it might not be the best time for  the employees to all start going on workcations. Cooperation and communication are  huge parts of a seamless remote working setup, and it may take time before everyone  involved can feel at ease with the new configuration. 
That being said, workcation definitely has its perks, although some people still prefer to keep work and play apart rather than mixing up the two. 
This trend might not stop anytime soon, but at the end of the day, both employees and  employers need to manage their expectations when it comes to workcations.  

About the author: Melissa Norman is the founder and managing director of Aisling Group. This is an opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of this publication.

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