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It’s healthy to get out of town for more than just a few weeks of vacation a year. In this article we discuss how to do that and keep your job.
The recent global health crisis and social isolation negatively impacted my and my wife’s mental and physical health, and we needed an escape. So shortly after the travel restrictions were lifted in our area, we took a “work location(work + vacation). We drove from New York to Boston and enjoyed several days of great food and activities – without any risk to our income.
We’ve had countless work sessions since then, but this one was special because it kept us from going crazy when it felt like the whole world was crazy. Today, workplaces continue to help us stay healthy and avoid burnout in a remote-first environment.
I have been lucky enough to have worked remotely for the past 20 years and can sense when I need time. But many people are new to the work-from-home lifestyle and need help adjusting. A major benefit of remote working is the flexibility to travel virtually anywhere, anytime, as technology makes it possible to work from a hotel, a coffee shop, or even the back of a van. If you want to travel while on the job, your goal should be to have as much fun as possible while disrupting your productivity as little as possible. Try these tips to plan your next work session:
Related: How to Spend Half Your Time Out of the Office Without Getting Fired
Plan your destination and itinerary wisely
Van-lifers can travel whenever they want, as they take their home with them. The rest of us have to consider logistics, costs and available technology to optimize our workplaces.
First, try to pick a hotel with excellent Wi-Fi. At a recent workplace in Austin, our hotel’s Wi-Fi was spotty and work became impossible. Luckily the hotel across the road had excellent and open wifi which we took advantage of. Check online reviews and call reception for connectivity insights before booking your room.
My family is privileged to live in New York City, with several destinations within driving distance. Choosing road trips over flights saved us a small fortune. But flying offers more flexibility in destinations, and there are plenty of ways to save money on air travel. According to travel organization Hopper, bookings are cheapest on Thursdays, followed by Tuesday. And the cheapest days to fly domestically are Tuesday and Wednesday. Reduce costs further with a connecting flight and work through your layover. Also travel light – only carry carry-on luggage and your laptop bag to save on checked baggage fees.
I like to schedule work that starts on Wednesday and ends on Tuesday. This has the added benefit of encompassing a full weekend of activities. Just don’t forget your laptop and take an extra battery with you for the beach or when you’re not near an outlet.
Book your trip with meetings
You can do your work at any time of the day or night. But conference calls limit your mobility. Try to empty your meeting schedule as much as possible by moving meetings to just before or right after your trip. Then try moving any remaining meetings to the early morning so you can be flexible for the rest of your day.
Related: The Workplace Is Changing — And Getting One Can Boost Your Business
Be transparent with your boss or customers
Don’t surprise your boss or customers with a decor of palm trees. They may react negatively to your trip and feel that you are taking advantage of it. Instead, let them know your plans and agree on expectations. Let them know it’s a working holiday and you don’t expect any productivity disruptions other than the need for flexibility around meetings.
I mean the palm trees. Stick to a simple video conferencing background to minimize jealousy or distraction among your colleagues. The last thing you want is for people to talk negatively about you when you’re not there to defend yourself.
Set expectations with your travel companions
You may decide to do your job with a spouse, romantic partner, friends, co-workers, children, or any combination thereof. Each of them has different flexibility, budgets and interests that may not match yours. So make sure to set expectations with them before booking the trip. Make sure you all agree on when, how long and how often you will enjoy the local festivities.
Take your company with you
It’s good to take time out from your colleagues, but you can also plan outings that involve them. Pitch a workcation for your team or company management as a team building activity.
This can be great for companies that have gone almost 100% remote to build rapport in person. You’ll strengthen relationships and team bonds, and people will likely appreciate time away from home. Book a co-working space for your entire team in advance and plan daily activities that you know most people will enjoy.
Related: Related: 5 Ways to Travel the World and Work Remotely from 5-Star Hotels, Luxury Resorts, and Vacation Homes This Year
The purpose of your workplace is not just to do your work in a different physical environment, but to enjoy yourself. So plan ahead for at least one good meal and one activity per day, with more on the weekend. Don’t lose precious travel time trying to figure out what to do.
Many people stick with the old model of a few weeks of vacation a year, when they pull the plug completely. Traditional vacations are great, but you have the opportunity to travel more often and enjoy life. So take workstations whenever you can. You lower the risk of burnout and you are happier and healthier in the long run.