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Jump on board the ‘workcation’ trend to step up flexibility

By Jack Campbell | |6 minute read

As employees continue to push for flexible working options, many are opting to undertake “workcations” as a way to unwind while staying on top of work.

Studies have shown that this phenomenon is on the rise. Leaders could benefit by embracing this opportunity, and boost flexibility in doing so.

“Workcations have become increasingly popular as more and more employees embrace hybrid working. Our research shows 88 per cent of those who adopted hybrid work arrangements took the opportunity to ‘work from anywhere’ last year,” said Damien Sheehan, IWG Australia country head.


“More and more people are becoming confident that they can maintain their productivity and job performance while working from new locations. We found that 71 per cent of people would prefer job opportunities that grant them the option to work remotely, and an improved work/life balance is the leading advantage associated with working from anywhere. Workers also appreciate the opportunity to spend more quality time with friends and family abroad and save money by travelling during less crowded times.”

Some areas have been noted to be better suited for these types of working arrangements, as listed by IWG. But what makes a city suitable to catering for workcations?

Mr Sheehan explained: “Twenty-five leading cities were compared across nine key criteria, including climate, culture, accommodation, transport, food and drink, happiness, broadband speed, and the availability of flexible workspaces.”

“Barcelona and Toronto came joint-top of the pile, registering particularly strong scores in broadband speed and accommodation prices. Closer to home, Sydney scored highly in categories like climate and the happiness of its visitors.”

The need for employers in the present workforce to promote flexible working is crucial, as we’re at a point where flexibility is one of, if not the most, important considerations for workers.

“Hybrid working allows travellers to work from wherever they feel most productive. With the help of cloud technology, this can be practically anywhere, if there’s a reliable internet connection. As a result, it’s not surprising that more people are embracing the concept of blending work with travel. Whether it’s adding a few workdays to a vacation or spending a few months as a digital nomad, the possibilities are expanding,” Mr Sheehan said.

Companies that leverage this demand for flexibility can help to stay ahead of competitors by keeping their workforce happy and engaged.

“Around the world and in Australia, companies of all sizes are making the permanent shift to hybrid working, resulting in rapidly growing demand for flexible workspaces and hybrid work solutions,” commented Mr Sheehan.

“These companies recognise that by adopting hybrid work policies, they can attract and retain the best talent, maintain, or even improve workplace productivity, and lower costs to increase their bottom line. Consequently, their employees are happier and experience an improved work/life balance by spending less time commuting.”

Mr Sheehan recognises the concerns surrounding hybrid working as being unfounded: “Research by Stanford University’s Professor Nicholas Bloom found that due to improved focus, reduced commuting time, and increased working hours, hybrid working results in a productivity boost of around 3 per cent.”

“IWG’s research backs this up, with 31 per cent of workers feeling their productivity was enhanced by adopting more flexible working practices.”

While fully remote practices are not always the best option, as collaboration takes a hit, hybrid working models allow for the best of both worlds by providing variety.

“In-person collaboration is critical for brainstorming, team bonding and building a strong company culture. The majority of business leaders have embraced a flexible approach, with very few rejecting hybrid practices.”

Mr Sheehan concluded: “We encourage all employers to adopt the hybrid model for their workforce – dividing time between the HQ, home, and a local co-working space in order to attract and retain the best talent as well as leverage a lower cost model for their business.”


Hybrid working

In a hybrid work environment, individuals are allowed to work from a different location occasionally but are still required to come into the office at least once a week. With the phrase "hybrid workplace," which denotes an office that may accommodate interactions between in-person and remote workers, "hybrid work" can also refer to a physical location.

Remote working

Professionals can use remote work as a working method to do business away from a regular office setting. It is predicated on the idea that work need not be carried out in a certain location to be successful.

Jack Campbell

Jack Campbell

Jack is the editor at HR Leader.