Why working holidays are here to stay

blog· 7min

August 31, 2022

You may have heard the business buzzword workation or workoliday. It means exactly what it sounds like: a combination of working while being in a vacation spot.

There are numerous benefits said to be associated to this post-pandemic trend that was previously frowned upon. By escaping monotony, you can lift levels of productivity, whip up wellbeing or increase inspiration.

But is it really worth the hype? I decided to put it to the test.

At Form3, we operate in an 100% remote environment. Thanks to this (and to a travel Wifi router), I was able to work for a week from our family home at the beach where we have spent half of our summers ever since I can remember. I decided to use some of my holiday to make the most of this time. But rather than booking full days off, I benefited from the option offered at Form3 and took it by hours. Which means I temporarily worked part time and got to enjoy more daily sun, beach and coffee. All while continuing with my everyday routine - just somewhere else.

I’ve always wanted to work remotely; that’s just a personal preference. So that’s why, for me, workations need no selling. But it’s not all sipping pina coladas from a hammock on the beach while taking your next meeting. Working holidays are not for everyone.

Clara Diaz · People Partner

You have to stay focused and avoid other distractions; the line can become blurred between leisure and work. So, it’s good to stay at the same spot for a while to accomplish your goals. It’s also vital to unplug from work and not get this mixed with time off, which may be hard for some – annual leave exists for a reason. I recently wrote another blog post “Give your brain a vacation” where I talked about how important it is to take holiday and disconnect from work to reconnect (and you can read it here). But precisely because I thought it would benefit my own mental health, which is as important as physical health, I decided to take a working holiday.

However, for those who think this idea sounds appealing and nevertheless still need that extra push, here is a non-exhaustive list of things I was able to focus on during my week on top of other daily tasks:  

  • Held not one, but two productive 1-to-1s with my manager
  • Participated in our weekly meeting with my wonderful People Team <3
  • Started working on an improved version of our Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Policy (DEI&B)
  • Completed a draft for a second series of DEI&B training for our managers we are looking to implement as soon as the first series comes out!
  • Began designing the same version of the above training but for non-management team members - because even if change starts at the top, we can all make a difference!
  • Spent a ½ a day as a “Learning Day”, which is paid time off to learn, up-skill and develop at Form3. I paused my all my notifications for a whole morning and used this focus time to research about DEI&B and Inclusive Leaders in order to put together the new piece of training for our managers mentioned earlier (did you know that companies with inclusive leaders see 140% increase in team engagement (according to research by BetterUp)?)

Monday meeting at Form3

I also took our Form3 weekly Monday meeting from a spot different to my usual desk at home (hey there, Form3 team!). These were my preferred daily views, although I did have another indoor working station. Not bad, right?

Another thing that I love about Form3 is the possibility to work in a fully flexible environment, regardless of your personal situation. While this may be particularly important for parents, I’m an advocate that child-free people need it too. Some days I feel like an early bird, some days like a night owl. And I get to choose.

Clara Diaz · People Partner

Evening sunsets

During my working holiday, I especially enjoyed the vibes of working late pm / sunset when the temperature was much cooler, and the relaxing ambience allowed me to calmly review some of the things I had worked on earlier that day and look at it with a fresh set of eyes.  Dolly Parton was probably onto something with her famous “9 to 5” song. But is this schedule necessarily still relevant for the XXI century workforce? Not at Form3, that’s for sure.

Another highlight of my week was playing a virtual chess tournament with some of my colleagues at Form3 (don’t worry, Info Sec team - we used our personal laptops for this…). Because we operate in a remote environment, connection is such a key aspect for us at Form3. We have an assortment of virtual activities (and of course cherish face to face time any chance we get), which include a wide variety of Slack channels for every one of us here – they range from book clubs to current music vibes!

We hadn’t done a chess tournament in a while at #chess-social, so we decided to organise a quick one during one of our lunch breaks. It was a great opportunity to spend time together with some colleagues I never get to work with (and have never previously met) while doing something we all enjoy. Check mate.

One of my other big take-aways of this working holiday is that it’s important to get a change of scenery every now and then when you are working remotely because it gives a fresh perspective on your ideas.

Clara Diaz · People Partner

For example, I noticed that this year, for the first time, the lifeguards at the beach were using new beach flags to indicate the sea conditions. On top of the usual and most common colours (red for no swimming, yellow for caution and green for safe to swim) this year they incorporated a symbol. I then found out this symbol was not the lifeguard’s personal choice, but rather it belongs to ColourADD sign language. Citing from their own website, ColorADD is a unique, universal, inclusive and non-discriminative language that enables the colourblind to identify colours, with a wide spectrum of use on companies/entities whenever colour is a factor of identification, orientation or choice. This inspired me to adjust the colour range and add textures of some internal documents I was creating to launch for our Form3 team. I aimed to make them more accessible for individuals who may be colourblind or present some type of sight loss. And it was particularly relevant as my week had a great DEI&B focus!

Lunch with a view

During my working holiday, I also switched off and enjoyed amazing food and of course, great company of my family and friends. Here is one of our lunches circa 3.30 pm, in true Spanish style.

I gained a lot during my working holiday. But what did I lose? Absolutely nothing!

So yes, I’d say that working holidays are here to stay.

I look forward for my next adventure!

by Clara Diaz People Partner