The term workation is currently considered one of the hottest topics in the field of new work. But can work and vacation really be combined? And: What is important for Workation to succeed? We tested this during a multi-day trip to Croatia.

Workation: About the compatibility of work and vacation

Digitization has permanently changed the world of work. The trend is towards more individual and flexible work models. The corona pandemic has accelerated this development again. Above all, the topic of working from home and buzzwords such as new work, remote work or workation are playing an increasingly important role.

The latter means the compatibility of work and vacation. In concrete terms, this means that the term workation – a made-up word from the English words “work” and “vacation” – is about working where others go on vacation. But is that even possible?

Workation: Working where others go on vacation – is that possible?

Due to the pandemic, many employees have moved their workplace – as far as possible – to their own four walls. The past two years have accelerated the development and the trend towards individual and more flexible work models.

The term workation has also become more and more established. After all, why shouldn’t you be able to work from a holiday location if you can work anywhere anyway? BASIC thinking has always enabled such a 100% remote approach.

Reason enough for a multi-day trip to Croatia to take a closer look at the compatibility of work and vacation. On the way we were there with one VW T6.1 California Ocean of the Munich start-up Roadsurfer. But for Workation to succeed, there are a few things to consider – a personal report.

Foto: Roadsurfer

What is important for mobile working to succeed

If you want to temporarily move your place of work abroad or to a holiday destination, you should first discuss this with your employer. It’s easier for freelancers, the self-employed or employees with a contractually agreed, location-independent workplace.

But even with a 100% remote approach like BASIC or a mobile working model, there are a few things to consider so that collaboration with colleagues, supervisors or clients works. In addition to communication, infrastructure also plays a role.

Workation test in Croatia: Internet and infrastructure

If you plan to work in a hotel, holiday accommodation or similar location, a sufficient internet connection and power supply should usually not be a problem. On the go, on campsites or in the great outdoors, however, things are quite different again.

Workation travelers who depend on a constant and fast Internet connection for their work while on the go should therefore prepare themselves with a mobile router and a corresponding SIM card with sufficient data volume. A separate WLAN hotspot can also be set up in some modern campers such as the VW T6.1.

This allows users to connect their mobile devices such as smartphones and laptops to the Internet. However, this requires a special CarStick from Volkswagen and a separate SIM card3. In turn, the stick can only be used with the “Discover Media” navigation system.

Overall, however, this is a much more expensive undertaking than a mobile router including a SIM card, which can also be used independently of the vehicle or location. That’s why we used exactly such a device during our Wokation test in Croatia.

The Vita Mia camp in the Croatian region of Istria, the place where we were, also has its own WiFi network. Our router was still used, but more as a support than predominantly.

Mobile work: communication and team

In addition to an adequate internet connection, the power supply is also crucial for communication with your own team or business partners. While there are enough sockets and connections in the hotel or holiday home, it looks a bit more spartan in the camper.

As our test has shown, however, the power supply in a camper can be absolutely sufficient. Charging smartphones via USB or USB-C connection is usually not a problem.

With a laptop, however, things are a bit different: Many modern campers have a standard 230-volt socket, but this usually only works when the vehicles are connected to the mains. In turn, various 12-volt connections run via the vehicle battery, such as with the cigarette lighter.

If you want to do workation with the camper, you should take care of the necessary additional technical equipment in advance. In addition to adapters and a mobile router, spots should also be regularly visited where the camper can be connected to the power grid. There are several apps to find suitable parking spaces, such as Park4Night (for Android). Roadsurfer has its own app (for Android) for its campsites.

team communication

In order to charge laptops and the like in the camper, you need the appropriate adapters or special chargers, which you should take care of before you travel. In addition to an adequate power and internet supply, the topic of time differences often plays a role in communication with the team.

We didn’t face any major problems in Croatia because the time zone is the same as in Germany. However, if you want to work in countries with a time difference, you should first clarify any time differences so that communication can be successful.

Of course, if you are traveling with the whole team or part of it, communication is easier. Many companies now offer their employees such team trips. However, there is a fundamental risk that you and your colleagues will take work topics with you after work.

Workation: distraction and focus

Of course, when it comes to concentration, distraction and focus, everyone ticks differently. However, if you need a lot of quiet to work, you should be prepared for a few distractions on Workation: either from other people or the holiday destination itself. However, the decisive factor here is which place you choose.

A cruise ship or a huge all-inclusive hotel seems less suitable at first glance. If you don’t mind the waves or the large number of people, even that would be an opportunity for workation. However, traveling by camper has a decisive advantage: you can change location spontaneously.

The topic of distractions and the right focus also play a role. On the one hand, some distractions from everyday life are eliminated, on the other hand, a vacation spot has new distractions ready. In order for workation to succeed, a high degree of self-discipline is required.

Good time management and setting goals can also help. In addition, the work is influenced by the location. Our spot in Croatia was particularly suitable because it is a rather small campsite. It was also the low season, which means there was relatively little going on everywhere, so we were able to focus well.

After work and free time

After work, the holiday begins at Workation. This is the basic principle of the working model. Croatia has a number of options in this regard. The Croatian region of Istria is not only considered a wine and truffle region, but also has a special flora and fauna.

Whether vineyards, waterfalls, cliffs or the sea, which was only a few kilometers away from our location: Istria seems predestined for Workation. Above all, the end of the day offers the opportunity to escape from everyday work and to discover new countries and places.

However, a workation is not necessarily relaxing, because it is not the same as a classic holiday, since you take your work with you on holiday, so to speak. Ultimately, a workation can bring variety to everyday work and promote motivation and creativity, but it cannot replace a holiday.

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