The ‘workation’: why working from a dream destination isn’t all sunshine

Name: Workations.

Age: New, or at least newly acceptable.

Appearance: Like work, but with more sand and better coffee.

Is it like a staycation? It’s the polar opposite: instead of taking time off while remaining at home, you continue to work full-time while staying in a holiday location.

So we’re really just talking about extremely poor time management. Not when you do it on purpose. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that remote working, for those who are able to do it, is possible for extended periods, no matter how far away you are from the office.

But it also made travel immensely difficult. Exactly – if you go somewhere, you’d better be prepared to stay there. Hence the rise of the workation.

We had this before, only we used to call it emigration. So-called digital nomads have been pulling the same trick for years, but the idea has now gone mainstream. Resorts are offering extended workation packages. The Spanish government recently started issuing remote work visas. Travel sites routinely compile lists of top workation destinations.

Such as? Bangkok, according to the vacation search engine Holidu. Puerto Escondido in Mexico, says flexible renting site Lisbon, Athens, Budapest and the Canary Islands also crop up a lot.

What makes for a good workation spot? It helps if it’s in the same time zone as your boss, so you’re not getting work calls at four in the morning.

My boss calls me at four in the morning, anyway, so ideally I’d be looking to get about five hours ahead of him. Otherwise you just need decent wifi, a comfortable cafe and proximity to a beach, the ski slopes or some alluring combination of fun, culture, history and scenery.

If I were in a place like that, I’m not sure I’d get any work done. Actually, many people find they work too hard on workation, to the extent that it’s more stressful than working from home.

Is that the only drawback? No, there are loads, including potential tax implications, potential visa issues, the expense of living in a holiday destination and the further erosion of one’s work-life balance.

Who needs the hassle? I’d be glad to get back to the office for some hard-earned skiving. Sounds like your work-life balance is sorted.

I also draw eyeballs on my lids so I can sleep through Zoom meetings. Bravo.

Do say: “Weather wonderful, food incredible, spreadsheet attached.”

Don’t say: “I’m going to have to call you back – there’s an amazing wave coming.”