Posted by Trakstar • December 1, 2022 (Last modified January 5, 2023) • 5 min read
If you work in HR, you know that people are starting to talk more about “workations” or going on vacation and working at the same time. While this may have been almost unheard of a few years ago for most people, it is becoming increasingly popular for remote workers, particularly younger remote workers.
Companies need to build a policy and culture around workations. Having some blanket response to these requests will help HR leaders and managers understand what is accepted and what isn’t. But first, let’s dig into just what a workation is.
A workation is when someone goes on a trip that includes time for leisure and work time. Typically, an employee will work full or half days while enjoying their vacation the rest of the time.
Workation isn’t a new term, so to speak, but it is becoming more popular. Different people will have different interpretations of how much work needs to be done for something to be considered a workation. Answering a few emails or Slack messages doesn’t count, but attending Zoom meetings might.
This definition is something that each company will have to determine for itself. For remote companies, does working by the pool count as work? It might even depend on someone’s job or tenure within the company.
What’s most important is having a policy that pertains to everyone.
For many remote workers, working from home has changed quite a bit about their lives. Over the last few years, many of us haven’t been able to travel or enjoy life like we used to, and there’s an overwhelming desire to see the world before we can’t. There’s also been a focus on mental health and work-life balance.
Of course, remote work means that people aren’t chained to their desks anymore, and if someone can work from home, why can’t they work from a resort in Bora Bora? Employees are trying to find ways to have the best of both worlds, and it works for some of them, and it doesn’t work for others.
When you think about making a policy surrounding workations, you must think through all the different types of workations. Some may be appropriate for your workforce, and others may not.
Short-term workations are what we might think of as a traditional vacation. They last only a few days, perhaps a Friday going into a long weekend where a family takes off to the mountains. These types of workations are taken closer to home and, more often than not, they are to places where your employee has already been.
Medium-term workations are slightly longer, usually clocking in at a few weeks or a month. These typically require someone to travel longer distances, often to a new time zone that they will use to their advantage. They will explore during the “daytime” where they are and then work at night. This type of workation works for some people who don’t need rest. For most people, however, it will take adjustment and can negatively impact work.
Long-term workations are the most controversial but the easiest to handle. These workations are when someone relocates to another place and uses that as, essentially, their home. For workforces where location really doesn’t matter, this might be a valid option, as long as someone still gets their work done.
Workations seem strange, but there are a few reasons why you might want to allow your employees to go on workations. Working abroad or working from a trip might seem like your employees aren’t as productive, but it could be that the opposite is true. Workations may also be good for employee morale, creativity, and attitude.
There are some studies that show that workations increase productivity. If a person is more productive in their role, they are more likely to make money for the company and do a good job on an ongoing basis.
Why can workations increase productivity?
Once again, this is only true for some employees. Some employees will see less productivity because they are distracted by the world around them. When someone asks for a workation, you may want to ask them how they plan to handle distractions.
Employees who are happy at their jobs are less likely to leave. When your employees are happy, healthy, and feel like their needs are taken care of, they are less likely to leave a company for one that might not have those things. Allowing an employee to go on a workation may prove to them that you value their mental health and their time with their family.
Improved retention saves companies time and money on recruiting new employees and onboarding them. It also gives employees the incentive to be better, upskill themselves, and achieve more.
Employees who aren’t happy can ruin your entire company culture. Having employees who are happy and productive leads to having more employees who are happy and productive. It’s a cycle, but you need to feed into that cycle.
If you feel like company morale is low, encouraging workations or utilizing days off to go on vacation can be helpful, especially for remote employees.
Technology can be one of your best friends when it comes to talent development and all that comes with it – especially if you’re in a remote culture or encourage workations. Investing in your talent doesn’t necessarily mean you need to do more work; it may just mean you need to do different things. Our system integrates with your existing talent development and HRIS to help you reach your talent development goals while building a work-life balance that builds long-term workforces.
If you are ready to get started with a purpose-built talent development platform that incorporates an applicant tracking system, learning management system, performance management tools, and collects data, Trakstar is the only way to go. Click here to schedule a demo with a member of our team.
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