With summer just around the corner, it’s time to hit the beach, the links, the cottage … or the laptop.
According to an Expedia poll, half of Americans bring their work laptops on vacation and 41 per cent admit to “frequently” joining office videoconferences while they’re off work.
After the past two years, is it any wonder we can’t disconnect on our downtime? Pandemic WFH has blurred the lines between office and personal time; it changed the way we work, and now it’s changing how we vacation.
The pandemic begat WFH, which then begat work-from-anywhere (WFA). Depending on the company, ‘anywhere’ can mean a coffee shop or a completely different continent.
Both Shopify and Spotify are keeping the WFA policies they introduced during the pandemic. At Shopify, WFA allows staffers to “work abroad for up to 90 days per year.” Streaming service Spotify has a WFA policy that promises “more flexibility when it comes to what country and city each employee works from.” (Since Spotify launched WFA, 150 staffers—or two per cent of its 6,500 global employees—have picked up sticks and moved to different countries for really, really remote work.)
And now, ‘workation’ has entered the lexicon. That’s a trip deliberately planned with working in mind, though not in the sense of traditional business travel. Think ‘vacay with videoconferencing.’ If your boss allows remote work, why not do it from Ibiza or Iceland and stay productive while you still get paid? A survey of 1,000 Americans revealed that:
- 67% took a workation in 2021
- 94% plan to take one again in future
- 86% say it boosted their productivity
- 83% say it helped them cope with burnout
- 69% feel less likely to quit their job since taking a workation
- 60% took a workation to explore a new destination without using paid vacation time
Surprisingly, nine per cent took a workation that lasted two months or longer. To cater to this work-related wanderlust, a cottage industry (pun absolutely intended) has sprung up around workations.
Anyplace is like Airbnb for workations. Travellers can book a minimum four-week stay in fully furnished accommodations “designed specifically for remote workers,” according to the website. You can reserve a room, house, condo or apartment in 65 countries, all with fully equipped office workspace and high-speed internet.
Workation rents out similar accommodations in Europe but offers more perks. Each traveller receives car service to and from the airport, a local SIM card and a public transport pass. Available upgrades include IT equipment rentals, personal training and a membership at a co-working facility in your destination.
Whether you’re carrying a backpack, a briefcase or both this summer, here are some tech-related tools to keep you connected and productive on your travels. We’re not endorsing any products here, merely providing some fun examples to spark summertime inspiration.
Although the weather’s heating up, your laptop shouldn’t. The LapDome sunshade is made of UV-resistant material to protect your laptop from sunny rays (and your eyes from bright screen glare) while you’re working away outdoors. It fits laptops up to 17 inches and has a Velcro opening in the back for power cables and chargers. When you’re ready to ditch your keyboard for a surfboard, the LapDome collapses into a compact little carrying case.
Urbanista’s Los Angeles headphones can self-charge using both sunlight and artificial indoor light. Stroll the sunny streets of Santorini and never run out of power while listening to your sick beats … or, um, your boss’s slick marketing presentation. Features include Siri and Google voice assistance, Bluetooth, noise cancellation and a built-in microphone. Playback automatically pauses when you take the headphones off, then restarts when you slip them back on.
Ever dreamed of documenting your travels in a notebook like Ernest Hemingway did while dashing from Key West to Cuba? The Rocketbook Mini could be just the thing. Jot down your memorable moments on the pages of this digital notebook with the Pilot FriXion pen, then scan your scribbles with the Rocketbook phone app to save them in the cloud. Wipe the pages clean with a wet cloth to erase and reuse them. This pocket-sized device is handy for keeping a travel diary or taking meeting notes by the pool.
Stay in range outdoors
If your workation takes you no further than the backyard or cottage this summer, good outdoor WiFi is a must. Netgear says its Orbi AC3000 mesh WiFi extender is “designed to brave the rain, sun, snow, dust and even sprinklers.” The unit is built to withstand extreme temperatures, from a scorching 50 degrees Celsius to a bone-chilling 50 degrees below. It’ll extend your indoor signal up to 2,500 feet outside so you can ramble freely while mixing work and play.
With the tricked out Nomad tiny house, you can go completely off the grid while hitting the open road. This is not your grandpa’s Winnebago. A solar-powered system runs your tech devices and mod-con appliances. There’s a full kitchen, composting toilet, 54-gallon freshwater tank and two 36-gallon wastewater tanks. Sleeping quarters for four are ingeniously built into 165 square feet of living space. Thanks to top-of-the-line finishes and fixtures, the chic interior feels more condo than camper van. At US$65,000, this is for hardcore road warriors who want to work-and-wander in stylish sophistication.
With a little help from technology, you really can enjoy a summer getaway and still get down to business.