Why workation works

Our workation experience on the island of Mallorca

Monday morning, the smell of fresh coffee, a beautiful view. I gaze at it while my laptop starts. No, it’s not one of the infamous desktop wallpapers - not Windows’ green hills nor Apple’s Yosemite Dome, but the real stuff. It’s Mallorca’s Serra de Tramuntana mountains, and I swapped my grey office back home for the terrace of a beautiful finca. I’m on ‘workation’. And I am not alone. We are a group of ten remote workers, some of whom have never met before. Co-working space owners, a small work team, videographers, a digital innovation guru with his two teenage children, and a lawyer. A diverse mix that guarantees diverse conversations and a lot of fun! We start the day with a big healthy breakfast by the pool. We align on our plans for the day. Yoga, kitesurfing, mountain biking. Relaxing at the beach, a walk in the village, a wine tasting at the ecological wine yard nearby. So many options, it’s definitely never boring.  Of course, we also get work done. We give each other feedback and advice. We brainstorm together and help each other focus on our goals. Concept finished, client call done, article written: time for the pool again! A workation can be a welcome escape from the usual work environment. More and more jobs can be done remotely, only requiring a stable internet connection and a space to work with focus. That allows us to work from anywhere. Working for some days at a different place comes with benefits. Here are just a few:
  • Getting inspired by the new surroundings
  • Learning from your fellow ‘workationeers’
  • Helping each other to be productive
  • Less office distractions such as ad-hoc requests from colleagues
  • Focus on tasks you don’t have time for in the everyday routine
  • Enjoying a good work-life balance
  • Getting to know a new place and its people
 Every workation is slightly different. The destination, the time of the year, the duration of the workation, the group size. The composition of the group, your goals, the goals of the other co-workers, the host. There are so many factors that influence whether your workation will be just the right experience for you. Here are some tips to make it work: 
  1. Why? Ask why you want to go on a workation and clearly define your goal. Expanding your network will be more successful at a workation that is aimed at your peers or target group. How about a workation that takes place at the same time as one of your industry conferences? Or a workation that includes workshops for developing a skill? On the other hand, finishing that thesis probably requires a quieter setting. Maybe a writing camp or even a yoga retreat? I guess I made my point.
  2. Who with? Reaching your goal will probably not only depend on yourself. Will it help you to take a colleague? Or even your whole team? Will your best friend be the right workation companion or shall your partner and children join? Do you have a life or business coach, or a personal trainer who will help you (and the group)? Make sure that the workation you choose provides the right setting for you and your travel buddies. Is the workation targeted at families or singles? Is your team open to join a group of unknown co-workationeers?
  3. Where and when? The golden three words of success: location, location, location. Choose a location and a time of the year that provides you with good opportunities to reach your goal. Think out of the box: Maybe you don’t need to go far away to dive into an inspiring environment. A beach or country house a short distance away can be a wonderful experience. Or: When is your favourite business coach giving a workshop in a city you always wanted to visit anyway again?
  4. Finally, share all those requirements and considerations with the workation organizer or even better: your workation travel agent. They can tell you exactly whether this or that workation meets your needs, and can point you to new ideas. After all, this is an investment in yourself. Make your workation work!
 Our Mallorca group was lucky. For us, it was an experiment, really trying something new. And we were rewarded. Despite heavy rain the first days, we adapted and took the time to wind down, and get some work done. We did yoga and cooked delicious meals. By the time the sun came back we had already formed a strong bond, ready to explore the island together. We made our workation work! This article was written by Anne-Marie Jentsch, co-founder of Out of Office Workations and owner of Out of Office Consulting.