Workation models: When work and vacation merge

Workation models: When work and vacation merge

Workation models allow work and leisure – and thus also holidays – to merge. This is what you need to know on the topic. […]

The pandemic has changed our working world. More and more companies are including the topic of home office in their location decisions. Nestlé, for example, firmly expects employees to work more from home in the future. Therefore, only 700 office workstations are planned for 1000 employees in the new Germany headquarters, the Lebensmittelzeitung reports.

The new working culture allows work and leisure – and thus also holidays – to flow together more and more. As an Expedia survey shows, almost 50 percent of the professionals surveyed would like to be able to move their office workplace to another place every now and then, for example to the sea or to the mountains. Appropriately, there is the term Workation – composed of the English words “Work” and “vacation”. While it was previously reserved mainly for self-employed and freelancers to be able to work with a laptop and Wi-Fi from anywhere in the world, hybrid work models now also offer employees this opportunity. But not everything that is possible is allowed.

The following tips help HR managers to organize workation models:

1. Set up a process that is as standardized as possible

Before employees on their own move their workplace to a vacation spot, they should inform the personnel department. If the number of inquiries increases, companies can set up a largely standardized process for workation applications, which describes what is allowed and possible within the framework of social insurance. Certain guidelines, such as a lead time, can also be set in advance.

2. Communicate uniform rules clearly

Employers should consider whether they want to enable workation in general, or only under certain conditions, such as a maximum number of working days. Instead of individual special agreements, there should be clear rules that are communicated to all employees. For example, in team meetings, newsletters or via the intranet. It may also be useful to include basic rules for the mix of work and vacation in the employment contract. The important thing is: equal rights for all those who can do their work remotely.

3. Observe applicable tax and labour law

Shorter workation stays in countries of the European Union, such as working for three weeks in a holiday apartment in Mallorca, can usually be arranged quite easily. If it is to be a country outside the EU, there are often country-specific special rules regarding payroll tax and pension insurance to be observed. Then the external support of a tax consultant or employment lawyer can be helpful to define the legal framework.

4. Define competencies and accessibility

Employees who are going to workation for some time should know which decisions they can make on their own and when it is necessary to consult with superiors. It should also be clarified at which times remote workers must be available and at which meetings they participate digitally – especially if they are in a different time zone.

5. Think about technical requirements

Working from home is no longer unusual in many companies at the latest since the corona crisis. The use of mobile devices, meeting tools and digital communication has become established, most of it can also be used without problems abroad. Nevertheless, it must be ensured that there is a good Wi-Fi connection, the VPN connection works and all the important tools that are needed for work are available. Employers should have “workationers” confirm in advance that the technical requirements for remote work are right on site.

If companies get involved in the “adventure” workation, both sides usually benefit from it: employees broaden their horizons, improve their language skills or discover new trends. Employers benefit from the fact that motivated and loyal teams usually have a positive effect on the company’s results.

*Simone Stargardt is the owner of the continuing education academy carriere & more, an educational institution for continuing education courses with IHK degree, with locations in Fellbach near Stuttgart, Mannheim and Würzburg. The trainer and consultant is an expert in employee leadership, modern personnel management and UQ entrepreneurial intelligence.

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