Workation Explained — What it is, Benefits and Impact
At 10Clouds, we’ve been working remotely even before the start of the pandemic. We all recognize the benefits of this setup, which include flexibility, improved work-life balance and a greater opportunity to pursue our hobbies. But remote work also means that most of our interactions with colleagues are via video calls, Slack or email. Until recently, our face-to-face meetings were limited to company parties, team socials and project-specific collaboration in the office. But we increasingly felt that we wanted to do something more. We enjoy hanging out together! Which is why we introduced a twice-yearly workation. We’ve now hosted two workations, each in a very different location and we wanted to share with you what we’ve learnt!
What is a workation? A recap
As the name suggests, a workation is a combination of ‘work’ and ‘vacation.’ It’s a chance to spend time in a holiday location with your colleagues. You bring your laptops and work together, but you also have time to socialize, either through organized activities or informal hangouts.
Our 10Clouds Workations
Workation 1 - In Chata Pogaduchy, near Frombork, North Poland.
Workation 2 - In Agro-Pustelnik, in the Sudety Mountains, South Poland.
Top organizational tips
Having organized two very different workations, we’d like to share our tips when it comes to organization:
- Find a place with good WiFi
- The venue should be suitable for both work and rest
- Find out whether your colleagues are willing to share rooms so you can plan accommodation accordingly
- Check if the venue has a variety of food (including vegetarian/vegan options)
- Verify that the place is well located (if possible, choose a location that is equidistant from your different offices)
- Prepare a list of necessary things your employees should take with them
- Find out what attractions are available in the area and prepare alternatives for different weather conditions
- Check if the place accepts pets - in our case, employees were very keen to take pets with them
- Don't forget to prepare a survey after your stay to find out what was enjoyable and what could be improved
What did we learn while being on workation?
1. That work still gets done!
Some of us were concerned that a workation was mostly about holidays, meaning that work would fall by the wayside. But this wasn’t the case. On both occasions, we made sure that there was WiFi, charging points, and quiet areas where individuals or groups could go to work in peace or to take a client call if needed. The trick here is to have a good schedule, with allocated times for private work, teamwork and socializing.
Head of Growth, Marta Klepka (Workation 2) points out that there was no situation where someone neglected their duties or did not finish a project. “We are all adults, we know that we work first, then rest,” she emphasized.
2. That it’s an opportunity to find out what makes our colleagues tick
Face-to-face interactions make for deeper connections, and in many cases one of our workations was the first time that some newer team members met their colleagues in real life. Hanging out together meant that closer bonds were made, outside the traditional context of working together on projects. All of this meant that future collaboration would be much simpler. We decided to mix our groups together, which meant that we also had an opportunity to meet people from different teams who we perhaps wouldn’t traditionally interact with. It’s a great opportunity to put faces to names!
Workplace Experience Manager, Tomek Kończyński (Workation 1) says: "I honestly think that this is the best type of team integration, and definitely beats any of the ones conducted online. You get to really hang out with your colleagues and get to know them as people."
3. That it’s good for the soul to have a change of scene
There have been several studies that show a change of scene can be good for our mental wellbeing. Most recently, researchers from New York University and University of Miami found that having new, diverse experiences is linked to positive emotions and enhanced happiness. At 10Clouds, we place a strong emphasis on mental wellbeing, and we believe that a workation can help with this. It’s a chance to break out of the monotony of remote work.
Product Delivery Manager Firuza Harunova, says: “It’s a great opportunity to get together with your colleagues and have a real break from working at home on your own.”
4. That sharing ideas can work better in person
Sometimes a brainstorming session just needs to happen in person. While in the modern digital age, we have a range of brilliant tools at our disposal, such as Miro and Mural, face-to-face discussions about important subjects still have serious value. They can enable you to better judge the mood in the room, they can be helpful in encouraging more reluctant team members to join in, and they can generally be more productive. But it’s worth planning in advance exactly what you’d like to discuss and setting some clear goals.
Sales Development Representative Daiji Kimura (Workation 1) says: "I believe a workation is a marvelous idea for all remote working employees. The time I’ve spent with 10Clouders was efficiently used for various workshops, brainstorming, and articulating the precise steps for future activities!"
5. That the relationships formed can be valuable and long lasting!
We found that many of the new relationships formed during our workations have lasted far beyond their duration. People are much more willing to reach out to colleagues from beyond their team for support with projects and they know who to go to when they need help in a given area. According to research from Zenefits, strong relationships at work are also a key factor in employee retention, which is another benefit of workation.
So choose your location, invite your team and enjoy!
If you haven’t already tried a workation, we hope that we might have inspired you to do so! With a bit of planning, it can be the perfect getaway for you and your colleagues, leading to lasting benefits.