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A workation is a temporary trip that combines work and vacation. And, in today's world, the workation is booming in popularity as remote work has never been more accessible.

The Workation: How to combine work with a vacation

by Jeremy B

A workation is a temporary trip that combines work and vacation. And, in today’s world, the workation is booming in popularity as remote work has never been more accessible.

Thanks to the coronavirus the ability to work from home, or rather, work from pretty much anywhere, became much easier. Companies across the globe now have large portions, if not all, of their employees working remotely for the time being. This new paradigm has created an opportunity for employees to work from pretty much anywhere and many are choosing to do that in the form of a workation.

We examine the ins and outs of this popular trend and specifically address:

  • What is a workation?
  • Workation versue bleisure versus digital nomad
  • Workation Ideas
  • Workation Tips

With plentiful internet access, companies who truly have no choice but to let employees work remotely, and a workforce that is growing more comfortable (and productive!) with remote work it truly is the golden age of the digital nomad. And, the workation is an interesting take on the digital nomad concept. Let’s learn more.

What is a workation?

A workation is a temporary trip that combines work and vacation. Sometimes denoted workcation, workationing is fast becoming popular with employees who have widespread support from their companies for remote work and plentiful access to high-speed internet.

Workationing - the booming new option for digital nomads

Here’s a few other attributes of workations:

  • A workation is typically not going to be funded by your company. You’ve got to fund your own lodging / food and travel
  • Often, that lodging is in the form of a short term rental (instead of a hotel). Think Airbnb or VRBO.
  • Your company or job must support remote work
  • Typically, a workation will be short in duration 1 week to 30 or so days – although there’s no firm or set number.
  • High speed, reliable internet access in your workation location is a must – how else will you remotely work?

An interesting trend that has emerged in the wake of the current pandemic is the desire for people to safely venture out. Instead of flying somewhere (which some still deem risky) and staying in a traditional hotel, people are instead choosing to stay at short term rentals like those offered by Airbnb and VRBO.

USA Today notes that with Airbnb,

“Short-term rentals initially saw a dip in bookings, plummeting 47% from more than 2.3 million in January to 1.2 million by April. Bookings crept up in the following months, which researchers attribute to several factors:

  • Short-term rentals could make social distancing more feasible, with multiple bedroom-units and whole homes to rent.
  • More homes are in rural and/or remote vacation markets, a boon for travelers seeking to leave urban areas amid spiking COVID-19 cases.
  • Most have full-service amenities, including kitchens, making longer-term stays more convenient”

In fact, Airbnb is doubling down on this trend. They note that “the volume of reviews by US guests mentioning “remote working” or “work remotely” since the start of the pandemic has nearly tripled from the same period last year.”

Another way to think about the workation is like a more temporary digital nomad (who often use Airbnb or hostels as their landing points) and that’s where we are going next.

Workation versus Bleisure versus Digital Nomad

A workation is really just a variation or extension of some other popular forms of travel that combine work and pleasure. That said, the workation does have some unique nuances to it work noting.

The words Bleisure and Digital Nomad have become parts of our common vocabulary in past years. Let’s define them:

A workation is more like short term digital nomad whereas bleisure is really about combining some opportunistic vacation activity around a destination someone is traveling to specifically for work.

For example, here at the CBoardingGroup, we’ve been doing Bleisure travel for years. Sometimes those trips involve interesting places like NYC or Cape Cod, or Salem, Oregon. Other times its far less exotic (but still unique) places like Minot, ND (yes, I wrapped some Bleisure around a visit to Minot…true story!).

What is a workcation

A workation is much more like being a digital nomad, and is, in a way, a form of digital nomadism. Digital nomads – at least the more purer ones – don’t really have a “home base” per se. They are, after all, nomads. They will roam from locale to locale – sometimes for a short while and many times for a longer period (months – even a year). While at any particular location they may do remote work – even for a company – or perhaps freelance. They may even simply find local work to pay the bills.

A workation is similar, but slightly different. Maybe an example will clear things up.

Here’s what a Workation might look like

Image of a woman on beach with laptop working remotely

I live in Southern California. We own a home, 3 dogs, a cat, 2 kids, and a healthy mortgage. I am not anywhere near being able (or even interested in becoming a digital nomad). However, like many of you, we’ve been cooped up in our home for months on end. My job is 100% remote at this point and my wife runs an online business. Our kid’s school is now online for the fall year.

We could, as a workation, rent an airbnb in Montana for a month.

I’d work my normal job. The kids would still play Fortnite and consume ungodly amounts of food, my wife would do her online business, but we’d be in a different location for a short-ish time period. At nights, we could explore the area and the weekends would be totally available too. My company couldn’t care less where I actually am right now.

The perfect workation.

When done, we’d return to our California taxes and hefty mortgage feeling refreshed and energized.

Workation Ideas

Let’s examine some ideas for your workation. First we will talk generically and then we will share a few ideas.

If you are concerned about staying safe, it’s probably (at least for now) wiser to choose a workation destination that’s within driving distance (~8hrs). That said, if the thought of air travel doesn’t alarm you right now, feel free to widen your net. Here are a few ideas:

These are just some examples, but the truth of the matter is there are thousands upon thousands of unique short term rental properties in desirable locations that might just form the perfect launchpad for a much-needed workation.

Workation Tips

People thinking about trying a workation should consider the following workation tips to help ensure they get the most out of the experience – and don’t run afoul of company policies.

  1. Understand your company’s remote work policy. Even if your company is letting employees work remote, it can’t hurt to double-check your company policies and make sure you can pull this off. Chances are it won’t be a big deal, but double-check with your boss at least. Some companies are starting to allow this a form of work-from-home-perk.
  2. Double-check the internet capabilities for your workation destination. It will be extremely hard to work if you can’t get good connectivity. Most Airbnb or vrbo rentals provide internet, but check the reviews on the property about the quality of that service.
  3. Be prepared for internet issues and bring a backup. Using a cell phone as a backup wi-fi may be all you need, but having a plan in case you have internet issues will save you the hassle and ensure your work performance isn’t degraded.
  4. Consider bringing your pets! Many rental properties allow pets (and many don’t). Check the policies, but if you are going to be on a longer workation, considering bringing them with you. They get lonely too!
  5. Don’t forget to tie things up at home before your leave. Don’t forget to prepare your house like any other vacation by turning off extra lights or unneeded appliances, throwing out things that might spoil, turning off your washing machine’s water connection, etc. Use this guide from Nationwide Insurance for more tips to prep your house for vacation.
  6. Don’t forget to work. Remember, it’s a workation…that’s WORK + VACATION. Sluffing off at your job will only irritate your boss. Continue to deliver on your responsibilities wherever you are located at.
  7. Have fun! It’s also a vacation so enjoy it!

PS…don’t forget to get your work from home…er work from whereveraccessories dialed in too!

Final thoughts on work + vacationing

The workation may be experiencing a boom in popularity right now thanks to the coronavirus but it’s here to stay. Sure, we all pretty much had plentiful high-speed internet access, but companies were all over the place when it came to remote work. Many companies still had notional ideas that their staff couldn’t work effectively outside of the office.

They’ve all been proven wrong. In fact, productivity for staff now working remotely has increased and many companies may never look the same again – even after the pandemic eases. Yup, remote work is here to stay and the workation is right here with it.

Ready to book a workation now? Shoot, I know I am. If you are like my family you are 100% done with hanging out at home. We are ready for some new scenery and since leisure travel isn’t in the cards right now (thanks coronavirus…) a workation might be the best way for us to enjoy a mini-vacation, avoid breaking the bank, keep working, and most importantly try to make the best of this crazy world we are all in.

For more tips, tricks, gear, advice and more consider the following topics and articles:

Image of person relaxing on beach on a workation

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