Agile. Flexi. Hybrid. Whatever you want to call it, it is a method of working that we have been striving towards over the last 18 months.
Setting our own hours, signing off our own annual leave and self-managing work are all processes that we have put in place to make SEO Travel an even better place to work.
But, things got really exciting last year when a one-month workation initiative was introduced… And you can bet that I was already on Airbnb before Tom finished his sentence!
I soon booked a nice little flat in Lisbon for May 2022. A city that offers a vibrant buzz, close by beaches and lots of sunshine. Oh, and not forgetting really good wine.
Now, having been home nearly a month, and finally weaned off a diet of Pastei de Nata, I thought I’d round up some of the things that I learned during my time away.
A better work-life balance.
When at home, I find it all too easy to shut my laptop and fall straight on the sofa with a Netflix series ready to be binged. And I know I’m not the only one.
Being in a foreign place brings excitement back to your evenings. When I closed my laptop, I instead found myself walking to historical ruins, beautiful viewpoints for sunset and (probably too often) stopping for a glass of wine and plate of caracois in a quaint backstreet tavern.
For me, it was a wake-up call that evenings are ‘my time’, a time to relax, unwind and enjoy myself after work. It gave me a new lease of life and since being home, I’ve explored two new local parks, met friends for a drink after work and only got through one of four seasons of the show I’m currently watching!
Creativity flourishes in new environments.
As comforting as familiar surroundings, familiar thoughts and familiar things are, familiarity will almost certainly stifle your creativity.
When I was in Lisbon, I was inspired. All of the time. Being in a new city, 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.
The very essence of creativity is to embrace the new because if you think about it, how else can we have new ideas?
This is definitely something that I’ll be continuing going forward. My creative sessions from now on will be spent on a walk, in a cafe or even just in my favourite corner of the garden. Or maybe I just need to book a flight to somewhere new each month…
Human interaction is important.
I won’t lie. Sometimes, the thought of going into the office is a draaaag. Having to put something on other than two-day-old trackies feels like too much effort.
But, when it is all stripped away from you and you’re in an unfamiliar environment, you realise just how important that office environment is. Whilst I had a lovely studio flat in Lisbon’s historical district, I signed up for a local co-working space so that I could literally just see people, talk to them and be around others.
I began to find that chatting to people at the coffee machine about bespoke shoes, the craziness of Parisian rush hour and the best place for a Pisco Sour in the city to be an absolute pleasure. One of the highlights of my day, in fact.
It reminded me that whilst working from home can be super beneficial, human interaction is equally as beneficial – even if it is just for uncovering the best bars!
Top tip: Find a co-working space with a resident dog.
Prioritise getting personal with colleagues.
Moving on from the above point… Previously, my ‘office days’ were those when I asked colleagues about their weekends, Netflix recommendations and cracked some (absolutely terrible) jokes.
I very quickly learnt that it can be harder to create or maintain good relationships with co-workers when you are remote and even more so when you are the only one! You don’t understand inside jokes because you weren’t there when they were made, you miss trips to the pub on sunny days.
But this made me take the time out of my day to ask people how they were, how they genuinely were, and dedicate a bit of time to general chit-chat. Doing this helps you feel connected with your colleagues despite being thousands of miles away and it also meant that when I came back, it felt like I never left.
Make sure your job reflects your values.
For me, travel is my passion. No amount of holiday will ever quench my wanderlust thirst. So, working for a company where I’m able to explore new places on top of generous annual leave is an absolute joy.
It really underlines the importance of culture within a company. There is so much more to consider than salary. You could be paid a ridiculous amount of money but if you don’t have the opportunity to enjoy it, what is the point?
I’m not saying that this initiative is right for every company. I mean, I joined SEO Travel because I wanted to work in the travel industry and this opportunity is particularly relevant to a team of people who love exploring.
But creating initiatives like our one-month workation enables employees to do something that they love alongside their jobs, and that’s something that money can’t buy!
And, if after all that, you’re still questioning why I’ve told you all about my month in the sun, this is why. I wholeheartedly encourage other companies to take a look at their perks and ask themselves whether they are genuinely bringing benefits to their team.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all game for pizza and beers on a Friday afternoon (or any other day for that matter) but what gets me up in the morning without dreading sitting down at my desk is initiatives like the one I’ve just thoroughly made the most of.
Ask your team what motivates them. Implement them and well, just wait until you reap the rewards.
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