Working remotely has been on the rise since the pandemic, with more people than ever before taking trips that combine both work and pleasure.
Hybrid working, where employees can work from the office, home, or somewhere else, has become more commonplace across a range of industries and 70% of employees want these flexible remote work options to continue.
Many people are no longer restricted to five days a week in an office environment and plenty are desperate for a change of scene from working from home. More and more employees are starting to extend their holiday experiences by working on location for an extra week or two, or slotting days off around a stint of business travel.
Some people are even going abroad for long or undefined periods of time, with digital nomadism continuing to rise as a lifestyle choice for freelancers that want to explore the world as they work.
Imagine swapping your commuting trip to Costa for an early morning walk in Costa Brava. Or replacing the noise of the Lizzie Line with the sound of waves on lapping Lisbon’s beaches.
At SEO Travel, we offer our employees the opportunity to work abroad for up to one month each year.
Because we think that flexible working is the key to having a great team and that the opportunities it offers can broaden employees’ horizons and recharge their batteries.
As serious travel enthusiasts, we also want to actively encourage our team members to explore the world too.
With this in mind, we wanted to put together some information about workations for prospective employees, the companies that we work with, and anyone anywhere who is considering combining a holiday with their job!
What is a Workation?
‘Workation’ is a combination of the words ‘work’ and ‘vacation’ and involves taking a break from your usual workplace, but not from the work itself.
On a workcation, you either work remotely from a new town, city, or country and integrate elements of a holiday around your day-to-day responsibilities. This eradicates the need to take annual leave to explore the world and allows people to have new experiences that can boost their productivity and wellbeing.
What is the Difference Between a Workation and Being a Digital Nomad?
With a workation, a person typically works whilst travelling for a period of time before then returning to their regular place of work, whether that be an office or their home.
Digital nomads, on the other hand, tend to work remotely constantly. Whilst they may have a ‘home’ location, they usually spend most of their time in different destinations.
A workation is a temporary trip, whilst being a digital nomad is more of a lifestyle.
The Workation Trend
The workation concept has really surged since the pandemic, with many workplaces shifting towards a more hybrid approach and remote working becoming more commonplace.
- Almost half of office workers (46%) have taken a workation in the past year whether this be abroad or in the UK.
- Searches for ‘working remotely from another country’ have increased by over 5000% in the last five years in the United Kingdom.
- Worldwide, searches for ‘workcation’ have increased by 4900% over the same period.
- Vacancies for digital nomads have increased by 8% month-on-month in the UK, at four times the rate of the country’s job market.
- Over a third (35%) of people are ‘likely’ to take a workation in the next year.
- 46% said that they had already worked abroad in the past year.
- The average workation trip lasted two and a half months.
Which Nationalities are the Most Interested in Taking a Workation?
Workations are becoming commonplace in all corners of the world. But when it comes to working abroad, which locations have the keenest employees?
These are the countries that are most interested in workations:
- Italy: 68%
- New Zealand: 54%
- Brazil: 53%
- Colombia: 53%
- Vietnam: 52%
- Sweden: 50%
- Argentina: 48%
- USA: 42%
- Japan: 36%
- Thailand: 36%
- Netherlands: 35%
- Australia: 34%
- Canada: 33%
- France: 33%
- UK: 29%
- Mexico: 20%
- Germany: 19%
- Denmark: 18%
- Croatia: 15%
- Spain: 14%
The Most Popular Types of Workatians
When it came to working remotely, employees that expressed interest in the opportunity were most interested in:
- Almost half (49%) want to visit lakes, mountains or countryside.
- 48% are keen on visiting the beach/coast when on a workation.
- Over two-fifths (45%) would be interested in working remotely from a big city.
- 38% would visit a historical town.
- Just over a third (36%) of people would visit an island
- The same amount would be interested in working from a remote natural destination.
- 14% would want to visit somewhere where they could partake in winter sports.
The Impact of Workations
Why Do People Take a Workation?
Workations are a post-pandemic trend that we only expect to continue growing in popularity over the coming years. But what are the main reasons that people want to work abroad in the first place?
- Two in three (67%) people went on workation to recharge their mental and emotional batteries.
- 61% said that they wanted to explore a new destination without having to use annual leave.
- Over two in five worked abroad to meet new friends, business contacts, or love interests.
- 31% per cent did so for a change in environment.
- Over three-quarters (28%) took a workation to visit friends or family.
- 26% did so to obtain a ‘better quality of life’.
What is Stopping People from Taking a Workation?
Clearly, there are lots of reasons that are encouraging people to work remotely. But what are the things that stop employees from taking a workation?
- Over two in five (43%) said that they are still unable to work remotely as their employer does not allow them to.
- More than a third (34%) of respondents are also hesitant to request a workation from their employer, due to a belief that they would react negatively to the request.
- 37% said that the rising cost of living was discouraging them from taking a workation.
- Almost a quarter (23%) cited accommodation costs as being a discouraging factor.
- A further one in five (20%) highlighted that childcare responsibilities are stopping.
Negative Perceptions of Workations
One of the key factors stopping employees from taking a workation is the belief that they would be met with resistance if they requested a workation. There are clearly preconceptions about how other people view workcations, so we dived deeper into some of the negative perceptions within the workplace of this kind of holiday.
- A third (33%) of office workers think colleagues on a workation are less likely to do the same amount of work.
- 67% also felt irritated about the idea of doing extra work to cover for a colleague on a workation.
- Almost half (47%) say they would feel frustrated about changing the time of a meeting to suit someone in a different time zone.
- 40% would also be unhappy to receive emails outside of working hours.
The Benefits of Employee Workations
Workations actually have lots of benefits for both the employees planning to work remotely and the workplace as a whole. Here are some of the advantages that benefit both employees and the companies they work for.
- As many as 83% agree or strongly agree that a workation helped them cope with burnout.
- 86% of employees agree or strongly agree a workation boosted their productivity.
- Four-fifths (81%) felt they were more creative at work after taking a workation.
- Nearly 69% are less likely to quit after going on workation.
- Over four in five (84%) are now more satisfied with their job.
- Millennials and Gen Zs, particularly, are more likely to explore options that allow them to travel and see the world while having a full-time job.
- Employers who allow employees to work from anywhere can save up to £8,600 per year per employee.
- Search interest in “employee wellbeing” has increased by 288% over the last 5 years.
Amelia Selby, PR Manager at SEO Travel, explains: “For me, working for a company where I’m able to explore new places on top of generous annual leave is an absolute joy and really underlines the importance of culture at SEO Travel.”
“Alongside the opportunity to explore new destinations, I also found that my workation had a positive impact on my work because, as comforting as familiar surroundings, familiar thoughts, and familiar things are, familiarity almost certainly stifles your creativity. When I was away, I was inspired pretty much all of the time.”
“Being in a new place, having new experiences, and meeting new people made me much more creative. I found that I was coming up with new ideas left, right, and centre and figurative roadblocks became much less frequent as I quickly found ways around them.”
SEO Travel employees have worked from the likes of Lisbon, Tenerife, India, Mexico and Brazil, and the initiative has been so successful that SEO Travel has now extended the opportunity to let staff work abroad for up to two months.
Often, the hardest decision when it comes to workation is not actually deciding to work abroad but deciding where to go. Here’s some inspiration if you’re considering a trip.
The Best Destinations for a Workation
According to a widely-published study from Holidu, the below cities are ranked as the best for working abroad based on a variety of factors including the average wifi speed, the average cost of accommodation for one month, and the price of after-work drinks.
- Bangkok, Thailand
- New Delhi, India
- Lisbon, Portugal
- Barcelona, Spain
- Buenos Aires, Argentina
- Budapest, Hungary
- Mumbai, India
- Istanbul, Turkey
- Bucharest, Romania
- Phuket, Thailand
And for those who don’t want to venture outside of Europe, below are the European cities ranked best for a workation from the same study.
- Lisbon, Portugal
- Barcelona, Spain
- Budapest, Hungary
- Istanbul, Turkey
- Bucharest, Romania
- Madrid, Spain
- Sofia, Bulgaria
- Krakow, Poland
- Belgrade, Serbia
- Prague, Czech Republic
Working Abroad Visas
Over half (54%) of people feel that ‘visa and/or work permit issues’ are a challenge of taking a workation. This is typically only an issue for workations that will last over 3 months, but there are still options if this is your plan.
- Around 50 countries worldwide offer digital nomad visas allowing people to live and work in a country for up to one year.
- Many of these digital nomad visas only require proof of funds to sustain you whilst in the country, proof of no criminal record, and valid health insurance.
- For shorter time frames, working abroad is possible on a tourist visa.
- As of June 2023, UK passport holders can travel visa free to 153 countries and territories.
- Most territories with visa-free or eVisa access for British citizens permit travellers from the United Kingdom to spend between 14 and 360 days there.
What to Consider for Workation Destinations
Whilst planning to work abroad can be a super fun experience, there are some considerations that you need to take into account when deciding where to base yourself. Before you book a trip, consider:
- A reliable internet connection is considered the most important aspect (65%) for workationers when choosing accommodation.
- 63% of people believe that a suitable workspace is one of the most important factors when choosing a workation.
- Time-zone differences that could harm work communication were outlined as an aspect to consider by almost half (48%).
- More than a third (37%) say the rising cost of living will make them less likely to take a workation considering they will still have to pay bills at home.
The Cost of a Workation
So, how much does it actually cost to take a workation?
- The cost of a workation will depend on the length of travel, the city/country you are visiting, and the lifestyle you want to lead whilst there such as luxury accommodation and high-end restaurants.
- Research highlights that the average cost of a workation works out at £1,828 per person for the average two-and-half month duration. This works out at around £24 per day.
- You can save money by staying with family or friends, or by renting a room in someone’s house.
- If you really want to visit a certain destination, going during their ‘off-season’ is also a good way to keep down costs.
If you’re interested in learning more about workations and how they can benefit you or your business, drop us an email at email@example.com.
Also, if you’re looking to join a company that offers the opportunity and you think you’d be a great fit for our team, we always want to hear from talented, passionate people so get in touch!
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