Holidays & Travel

How to ask your boss for a ‘workcation’ – and get the most out of it

Workcations have become increasingly popular as businesses embrace remote working.

(Alamy Stock Photo)

Whether it is Spain or Canada, people in the UK are increasingly more likely to work overseas to have a break from home and improve their work-life balance.

Dubbed ‘workcations’, employees are seeking to work remotely – often from a sunnier location – for a short period, or an extended one, while getting their job done at the same time.

According to a 2023 YouGov poll, more than a third of remote workers in the UK are interested in taking a workcation.

They can also benefit employers help retain top talent and improve  morale and productivity.

How to ask your boss for a workcation

Spain is the most popular destination for workcations according to research
Spain is the most popular destination for workcations according to research (Owen Humphreys/PA)

You might feel hesitant about asking your boss for a workcation, but there is a right way to approach the situation.

Claire Renee Thomas, founder of mental fitness company Reaching My Best, said: “Think about what your boss’s concerns are going to be. For example, how will you keep in touch, how will you manage any time differences, poor internet coverage etc?

“If you have upcoming deadlines and work commitments how will you ensure that you can still deliver them on time and to an expected standard?

“Your manager needs to feel like there will be no material impact on their work life, nor the team’s if you take a workcation.”

Thomas added that is important to remember that a workcation is a “win-win,” as it may have a positive impact on your mental wellbeing.

She added: “Think about how a workcation is a win-win for you all. From your perspective working somewhere else may have a positive impact on your mental wellbeing.

“It may mean you are less distracted by personal events and more focused when you are working.

“Above all, approach the conversation with an awareness of your and their needs. Don’t take them saying yes as a given and be prepared to listen to their point of view as well.”

However, Thomas says your boss may say no as there is information “above your pay grade.” If you do not receive a yes from your boss, then there is always another time to request for a workcation.

But there may be alternatives. Molly Johnson-Jones, chief executive of Flexa, said: “If workcations are too much of a leap for the business currently, there are alternatives.

“For example, staff could pitch hybrid working policies (which offer a mixture of home and office-based work, either according to set days or on a flexible basis) to their boss, to make the most of long weekends and staycations without having to rush back to be in the office on Monday morning.”

(Alamy Stock Photo)

What are the best workcation destinations?

Research of 2,000 UK adults conducted by international payments app Zing shows that Spain is the most popular location for overseas work. But working overseas can trigger tax, social security and other legal consequences for you and your employer, so do your research on what’s allowed and where.

Spain is an ideal destination for remote work as it offers a visa which allows individuals from other countries to work remotely for a year.

Canada ranks as the second most popular workcation destination, according to the research carried out by OnePoll, followed by the United States in third place, Australia fourth, Italy fifth, New Zealand was sixth and France seventh. UK citizens are able to work in Canada without a visa for six months.

Kavita Bhuller, head of talent at Publicis Pro, said there are a number of things to consider when picking the best destination to work from.

She said: “Is the country safe to visit and is there good infrastructure to ensure one can work effectively there without fear of disconnection?

“It’s not critical, but as a global organisation, it’s also a plus when employees visit countries where other offices exist so they can benefit from local infrastructure and meet others working in their field from around the world.”

How to make the most of it

Tom Bourlet, head of marketing at The Stag Company, spent a week working remotely in Barcelona last year and recently had a workcation in Corfu for five days.

Bourlet suggests that those on workcations should book off their afternoons as it provides you with more time to explore a country.

He says: “One aspect to consider is to book off the afternoons, so you work through the morning and then get to head out in a new country from lunch time and explore. This makes it feel like you’re not really having to work.

(Alamy Stock Photo)

“If you don’t have time available, then you can enquire about whether you can move your hours forward, starting at an earlier time so you have more of the daytime to explore.

“Alternatively, you can agree an extended lunch break by starting earlier and then having a long two hour midday break. Of course, you’ll have to resist the temptation to get a tipple at lunch while abroad as your productivity will decrease afterwards.

“Taking a longer lunch is something we regularly have already in place in our office, whether people want to get a haircut as well as time for lunch, or they might want to head out on a long dog walk after eating, therefore this wouldn’t be an issue if someone was abroad,” Bourlet added.

“We trust all the staff members to work the hours and as long as everyone keeps delivering great results then we’d rather give everyone the benefit of the doubt and allow them to manage their hours accordingly.”

Adjusting to time zone differences between two countries can pose a challenge.

But Bourlet said: “Settling into the time difference doesn’t often cause much of an issue, but it’s best people arrive [to their destination] over the weekend, so they can get a good night’s rest before starting work the next day, rather than an early morning arrival and having to go straight into working (which can also be an issue with getting the internet setup and everything working).”

He added that bed and breakfasts provide a great alternative to hotels, offering the advantage of enjoying private outdoor spaces (which are quieter for working) without having to share them with others.

Planning your activities beforehand is also a good idea. Bourlet said: “I’d strongly recommend planning out what you want to do when abroad and what can be fitted into your working day, as you will have less time than a normal holiday break, so you have to be very tactical with it.”