Jascha Ehleben is a Consultant at WorkFlex. He's a serial workationer and the prime example of practice what you preach when it comes to work from anywhere. Since joining WorkMotion as an SDR in April 2022 he has been on 9 Workations in Europe and Asia.
Workationing has been a popular trend for quite some time now. It's the best of both worlds: you get the chance to travel and explore a new place, but still stay connected to your work (and you don't have to use all of your holidays).
But there are a lot of things to consider when planning to work from abroad. Why should you consider going on a workation? Where should you stay? How to pick the right place to work from?
Last year I have been on workation to 9 different countries. Here are my top tips.
Why go on a workation?
Let me start off by saying that a workation cannot replace holidays. The two are not the same and should not be treated as such. If you have a vacation - you rest and don't work; if you work - you work.
BUT, that doesn't mean that you cannot enjoy some of the benefits that you would have on vacation - like exploring a new country, with all the excitement and adventure that comes with it – while still being just as productive as you would be when working from home.
But what exactly are the benefits of working while you're away? These are my top five reasons to take your job on holiday:
- You can travel to new places and learn about their culture and history. Getting out there and exploring will help you learn about different destinations around the world.
- Refresh your mind and recharge your energies. Traveling and exploring new places in my free time provides me with new perspectives and inspiration which translates into more creativity and higher productivity when I am working.
- Escape the cold winter. Rather than spending 4+ months of the year with rain, grey skies and the cold, I can spend my days in countries where it's still warm enough to spend time outdoors (and where it doesn't get dark before I even finish work).
- Meet friends and family that live abroad. Many of my friends and co-workers live in different countries and I normally wouldn't get to see them very often.
- And make new friends along the way. Especially when staying in hostels and co-living spaces, it's so easy to meet people from all over the world. I have met so many amazing people on my travels from different backgrounds and different cultures, that I never would have come across otherwise.
How to get the best out of your workation?
Find accomodation that works for you
Choosing accommodation is a big decision. Will you be going solo or with friends? What’s your budget? How much privacy do you want or need for your work?
- Hostels and co-living spaces are great for meeting other travellers, especially when you are travelling alone, I would recommend staying in these places to connect with others and avoid getting lonely.
- When you need quiet time and to relax alone, so then an Airbnb or hotel might be better.
- If you want to meet local people you can also book a room in an Airbnb (here you can often get great recommendations for the best local food and activities). For me, as someone who travels for long periods at a time, balance is key - so I suggest trying out different things to see what works best for you and mix it up!
Find the right workspace
When deciding about where to work, it’s important to consider the type of work you do. Some jobs are more suited to working in public spaces than others.
- If your job requires a lot of calls or meetings, then you may want to avoid finding a workspace in an open coffee shop and opt for somewhere quieter, like a co-working space, an airbnb with a dedicated workspace or even a hotel room.
- Working from shared spaces in hostels or cafes can still be a nice option to switch things up on days where you just need to work on some simpler tasks on your laptop without having calls.
The important thing to consider for both is to make sure that wherever you choose has reliable WiFi before settling down with your laptop and latte (unless you want the stress of running around with all your stuff to find a better connection for a spontaneous call)!
Make sure you have a good balance between work and fun activities
It’s important to make sure you have a good balance between work and fun activities. You might be travelling but you still need to get your work done!
- Manage your expectations: during your working hours, you still have to try to get as much done as you normally would and don't expect to constantly be on adventures.
- Use time zones to your advantage: if you start later you can go explore in the mornings or have a nice breakfast. If you start earlier, you can have more free time after work
- Use your weekends: I like to take an extra day off on Monday or Friday, rent a car and really explore the location. These kinds of trips are always the highlight of my workation because you can see so many new places every weekend and just spontaneously decide to see nature or a new city, so you always have different impressions that you wouldn’t get at home.
Try out different things, find what works for you and enjoy the freedom
Even if you're not interested in being a digital nomad (or your job doesn't allow it), having a workation once in a while could be beneficial for your mind, body and soul. Personally, working from abroad has made me more productive, more focused and less stressed.
While there might be challenges, there are so many opportunities as well. The most important thing to remember is to be realistic. Enjoy yourself and make the most of this unique experience.
Hopefully you find some of these tips useful and learn something new. And, who knows? Perhaps this will inspire you to take the plunge yourself and plan your own workation!