July 2 2021
Five pitfalls of “workation”, that is combining work and vacation.
Most of us are not able to fully “log out” of the professional sphere during holiday. This is probably why “workation”, that is conscious and planned combination of work and stay in a place typical for holiday, without using the leave of absence, has become very popular in recent years. It sounds promising, but has several traps which you should be aware of.
The term “workation” has been coined as the combination of the words “work” and “vacation”. “Workation” is simply full-time work without using the leave of absence, performed from touristy places, such as for example Madeira. Many professionals choose this work model to spend the evenings enjoying local attractions, just as they would if they were on real holidays.
Effect 1: long-term decrease of stress level, but lack of total, holiday relaxation
Just going away and changing the view from the window can work miracles. The influence of stressors blocking new ideas stops and your full-time work, but with a palm behind the window, becomes more effective. The point is that the human brain does not have a switch to turn from working to holiday mode. As a result, whatever you do, it constantly processes the work-related data, so you can forget about the real holiday relaxation. So after returning to the office, you might regret that you were not able to fully enjoy the beauty of Ponta do Sol.
– “I use the possibility to perform my duties from any place on Earth. Currently, the technology enables us to organize online meetings, which allows us to take care of work organization and the ‘team spirit’. However, I have my doubts whether ‘workation’ is a solution for everyone. It all depends on your personality, your role in the company and the type of work you perform. The greatest challenge is maintaining self-discipline and focusing on your tasks in a place which, by definition, is intended for entertainment and rest. Many people are also bothered by the lack of real contact with co-workers and low comfort of work, which I understand as background noises, no possibility to use the printing or scanning equipment, or problems with network coverage,” says Marta Kamińska from Solutions.Rent.
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Effect 2: new inspiration and increased creativity, but without connection with the working environment reality
Changing the environment where you work usually positively impacts your creativity. The brain likes new things and physical exercise, so it might just happen that, after three days at the seaside, creative ideas beg for you to write them down. It is worth to do it, perfect them and… immediately verify their real usability. Geographical distance and endorphins may weaken your criticism. You will subconsciously ignore the facts and circumstances which you would spot very quickly under normal circumstances; as a result, you spend more time pondering on the “brilliant” concept than necessary.
Effect 3: reactions of your partner, children or travel companions
Do you normally work in a task-based mode? There is nothing wrong with it, but ensure that you do not exceed reasonable time frames. If you live and travel alone, nobody will be upset that you spend yet another evening with your computer. It is worse when you work in the time which should be devoted to your loved ones. Many relationships failed to survive the lack of “work-life balance”, regardless of seaside view behind the window. The solution might be to start work when your close ones sleep, or to agree upon fixed, inviolable (!) hours, after which you have time only for them.
Effect 4: contact with nature, but also dozens of distractions
The view behind the window, which waits for you after you finish work, effectively motivates you to focus on the tasks and plan scrupulously. At least in an ideal world. In reality, it makes it a lot harder to focus on the project when you see pictures which are irresistibly associated with holiday fun. In some people, this may build a distance so strong that they end their adventure with “workation” after the first try. There is nothing wrong with this reaction – not everyone has enough self-discipline.
Effect 5: you work effectively, but your boss/client does not see it
The characteristics of social relations in Poland adds another aspect to “workation” – the boss/client does not feel like they have control over the task performance. Strangely, even the remote work during the lockdowns has changed very little in this respect and many supervisors/customers treat their employees/contractors/freelancers with less confidence (and those working from typically touristic places – twice less). Usually, this has the effect of an increased number of follow-up questions and importunate calls at the smallest delay, or small chance for a promotion or rise.
Perhaps you should think if you want to decide to work outside of the office? First, answer honestly whether beautiful holiday views will let you focus on work everyday and how will they affect the work quality and – first of all – your relations with co-workers, clients and supervisors.
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