Ever felt like packing your bags and leaving for a vacation, but couldn't because of work duties? You're not alone. Thankfully, in the post-Covid world, where hybrid working is still the norm, it is possible to pack your bags and laptop and go for a workation instead. There are some pitfalls to watch out for. But that's what this guide is for. Read on:
What is a workation?
A combination of the words “work” and “vacation”, workation refers to working remotely while enjoying a vacation-like experience. The idea is to blend work and leisure, to enjoy a change of scenery and potentially engage in recreational activities outside of office hours.
During the pandemic, several reports indicated an increase in demand for workations in India. According to a survey conducted by Booking.com in 2020, 67 percentof Indian travellers expressed interest in taking a workation, with 72 percent believing that remote work flexibility would make it easier to plan a long-term trip.
Akaal Manchanda, Director of Zuper Hotels and Resorts, Mumbai, says, “Workation is quite a trend, especially after the pandemic, when people have understood the importance of travel, being away from daily routines and being close to nature. It's an excellent spike to the overall mood when not around the rough daily chaos. But as life and workflow can't be a toss every time, it's crucial to maintain a balance between them.”
Benefits of going on a workation
Increased productivity: A change of scene can help break the monotony and boost creativity. The fresh surroundings, absence of distractions, and relaxed atmosphere can enhance focus and concentration, leading to increased efficiency in completing tasks.
Work-life balance: Workations provide an opportunity to integrate work and leisure, and can help to create a healthier work-life balance by blending work and personal life more flexibly and enjoyably. Deep Banka, Chief Operating Officer at Zostel, says, “The mantra for finding balance during a workation is to work with purpose, unwind with intention, and treasure the harmony that exists in between. Effective time management will help you stay focused and resist the urge to work excessively.”
Reduced stress and rejuvenation: Being in a pleasant environment and taking time for leisure activities can reduce stress and promote relaxation. Engaging in recreational pursuits, such as exploring nature, sightseeing, or participating in local cultural activities can provide a much-needed break from routine and contribute to overall well-being.
Creativity and inspiration: Experiencing new locations, cultures, and surroundings can stimulate creativity and inspire fresh ideas. Being in a different environment can spark new perspectives, encourage innovative thinking, and enhance problem-solving abilities.
Cost savings: In some cases, workations can be cost-effective compared to traditional vacations. Since individuals are combining work and leisure, they may save on accommodation expenses by opting for longer-term rentals or staying in coworking spaces that offer affordable packages.
How to maintain a work-life balance on a workation?
Set clear boundaries: Establish specific work hours and leisure time. Define when you will be actively working and when you can engage in leisure activities. Communicate these boundaries to your colleagues, clients, or team members to manage expectations. Mynoo Maryel, a thought leader and author of Be Book, says that the key is to be true to the “to be” word of the day. “Like, if you are having breakfast, dinner, or lunch with family -friends, then be truly into it, rather than into checking mobiles, etc. ...this way there is harmony, rather than trying to balance. When you try to balance, life and work, you are always out of balance. However, when you create a structure, it allows you to be in harmony and you are in a state of JEGO (Joy, Ease, Grace Omnipresent),” she says.
Create a dedicated workspace: Set up a designated workspace where you can focus on your work without distractions. This could be a separate area in your accommodation or a coworking space. Banka believes setting up a separate workspace where you can focus on your work or using a coworking space/common area could help you draw the boundaries and help you have a balance between work and vacation.
Plan your schedule: Plan your work and leisure activities. Create a schedule that allocates specific time slots for work-related tasks and leisure activities. This helps you stay organized, prioritize your tasks, and make the most of your time.
Disconnect and recharge: Prena Dua, Psychologist and Corporate Trainer, believes that it is essential to disconnect from work completely when you can, when on a workation for a healthier mindset. Engage in activities that help you relax, unwind, and recharge. Whether it's exploring the local attractions, practising mindfulness, or enjoying a hobby, make sure to prioritize your well-being.
Set realistic expectations: Be realistic about what you can accomplish on workation. Avoid overcommitting or taking on excessive workloads that could lead to stress or burnout. Set achievable goals and communicate your availability to manage expectations effectively.
Practice self-care: Take care of yourself physically and mentally. Get sufficient sleep, maintain a healthy diet, and engage in regular exercise. Banka says, “Pamper yourself with some 'me time' by doing things like yoga in nature or going for a stroll, as it's the best soul food while taking a break amidst nature.”
Best places to go on a workation in India
India has many great destinations to unwind yourself on a workation. We have shortlisted a few for you to make things easier.
Goa: Known for its beautiful beaches, vibrant culture, and relaxed atmosphere, Goa is a popular workation destination. It offers a mix of beachside resorts, cozy cafes, and coworking spaces where you can work during the day and enjoy the beach and nightlife during your free time.
Goa Tourism has been pushing for the country to become remote-worker friendly for some time. Goa’s minister of Tourism and IT Rohan Khaunte launched his ‘Workation Goa’ campaign in July last year, encouraging visitors to work from the state’s balmy shores. Since then, Goa has been working on introducing coworking spaces in beachside locations including Ashvem, Morjim and Benaulim.
Varkala: Varkala is a popular beach town in Kerala. Known for its stunning cliffs, pristine beaches, and tranquil atmosphere, Varkala has emerged as a favoured destination for workations in recent years. The city offers scenic beauty as well as adventure activities for recreation on your workation. Just like Goa, Varkala has also been ramping up its beach workstations to attract remote working tourists.
Rishikesh: Nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas, Rishikesh is a serene and spiritual destination. It provides a peaceful environment for workationers, with options for yoga retreats, meditation centres, and riverside cafes. The Ganga and the scenic surroundings add to the charm of the place. Maryel prefers visiting Rishikesh when on a workation, especially in the summers. “It is a beautiful confluence of calmness, serenity, the ‘me time,’ with the river Ganges and picturesque landscapes to bring in much-needed rejuvenation, one long for,” she adds.
Himachal Pradesh Destinations: Manali is one of the most preferred destinations in Himachal Pradesh by those travelling for work. Manali offers a blend of natural beauty and adventure, and has become a popular workation spot with its pleasant weather, stunning landscapes, and numerous cafes and coworking spaces that cater to digital nomads.
At the same time, Dharamshala offers a peaceful and scenic environment with panoramic views of the Himalayas. Dharamshala provides a range of accommodation options and serene cafes suitable for workation purposes.
Dharamkot in Himachal Pradesh is also known for its workation culture.
There are so many beautiful places in Himachal Pradesh where travellers go and set their work camps, however not all are internet-friendly. So pick wisely, depending on what you hope to accomplish on your workation.
Rajasthan: Known as the "City of Lakes," Udaipur in Rajasthan is famous for its historical palaces, beautiful lakes, and rich culture. It provides a serene and inspiring setting for workationers, with options for lakeside accommodation, rooftop cafes, and coworking spaces offering a view of the majestic architecture.
Jaipur is another great option: it combines history, culture, and modern amenities. It has a vibrant atmosphere, palaces, forts, and bustling markets. Jaipur also offers coworking spaces, cafes with Wi-Fi connectivity, and comfortable accommodations for workationers.
Kolad, Coorg, Gangtok, Wayanad, and Mukteshwar are also among some scenic beautiful places in India where working professionals go out for a workation.
Tips to plan a budget-friendly and a hassle-free workation
Plan your budget: Set a realistic budget for your workation and track your expenses. This helps you stay accountable and make informed decisions about spending.
Find the best suitable accommodation: Now, this depends on your mindset as well as budget. Some people prefer staying in hostels so that they can cut their cost of living and co-work with a lot of other solo travellers. Others prefer vacation rentals and guesthouses.
Platforms like Airbnb, Hostelworld, or StayVista offer options that can be more budget-friendly than traditional accommodations. If you plan to stay in one location for an extended period, consider long-term rentals, such as serviced apartments or vacation rentals. These options can offer more affordable rates compared to daily hotel bookings.
For those who prefer luxury over anything else, you might want to go for traditional hotels that are now coming up with workation packages, especially for working professionals.
Whether you choose a luxury or non-luxury option, the workspace must have good Wi-Fi and a sound environment for work as well as leisure.
Chirag Agarwal, co-founder of TravClan, says that travellers should double-check with the staff of the hotel/homestay/hostel regarding things like Wi-Fi, work environment and kind of food available considering you'll stay there for a long duration.
Cook your meals: Eating out for every meal can quickly add up. Look for accommodations with kitchen facilities, or if that's not available, search for budget-friendly local markets and grocery stores where you can buy ingredients and prepare your meals.
Research free or low-cost activities: Take advantage of the free or low-cost activities available in your destination. Look for parks, beaches, hiking trails, or cultural sites that you can explore without spending a lot of money. Many cities also offer free or discounted entry to museums or attractions on specific days or times.
Use public transport or walk: Utilize public transport like buses, trains, or subways instead of taxis or rental cars, which can be more expensive. Walking or cycling can also be a cost-effective way to get around if the distance permits.
Seek local recommendations: Ask locals or do some online research to find affordable and authentic dining options. Local eateries, street food stalls, or food markets often provide tasty and affordable meals.