What is context switching?
Ever come across context switching? Even if you haven’t heard the term, you have likely experienced it at some point. ...
It’s a hot Tuesday in July, the weather’s nice, and I’ll soon finish my work for today. I’m just about to close my laptop and go on a walk in the Polish city of Zielona Góra. What direction should I take?
The botanical garden would be nice to see, but the palm house in Winery Park also sounds like a good idea. A sea of infinite possibilities it is! Or to be more precise, the Workation perk I’d like to tell you more about.
If you would like to read more about the benefit, you can read the previous article. Today, I’m going to look at its practical sides and talk about my adventures, lessons learned, and how Predica helped me with organizing the trip.
Before I start talking about my experiences, let me add that all the photos below come from my private collection.
Intentions alone may not be enough if you do not meet those two requirements:
Luckily, remote work has been part of my professional career since I joined Predica, that is in 2013.
The company provides all necessary tools, such as encrypted drives and systems in the cloud. We even sign documents electronically.
As for getting a green light to go on Workation, it has never been an issue either. What matters is the job well done and being available at critical moments in a project.
Of course, staying in a different time zone may be a challenge. However, this is not something impossible to handle either. At the end of the day, each project and its requirements are different.
As far as the place goes, it is entirely up to you where you will spend your Workation.
Before you choose it, there are 3 important questions you should ask yourself:
These questions helped me choose the place and the length of my first adventure.
The capital city of the Czech Republic, Prague, was the first place where I stayed on Workation.
Why? Although it is not so far away from my home, I have never had a chance to visit it. A seven-hour drive did not seem long, but it was enough to arrive at a large, bustling city.
Also, it would not be easy to discover everything Prague has to offer on a one-week holiday, and I prefer to spend my long vacation in some more exotic places.
After choosing the city, finding an apartment was the next task on the list.
There are many different platforms available online. I mainly looked for a place on Airbnb, where I chose the following filters: dedicated workspace, Wi-Fi, kitchen, and free parking.
The last one was especially important. I wanted to go in my own car to have enough space for work hardware and clothes for three weeks and needed private whereas finding a parking spot in Prague is next to impossible.
As for apartments with a dedicated workspace, you need to be double careful. It often happens that the kitchen table is an equivalent of a desk for many hosts while it rarely offers enough space for two people to work.
Next comes the Internet speed.
As of today, Airbnb is working on a solution that will enable the hosts to share the results of a Wi-Fi speed test, but there is no option yet for filtering searches by Internet speed. Although there are browser extensions to measure it, the data is not always accurate.
The only thing left to me was to ask the host about the Wi-Fi speed myself. But the problem is that not everyone knows how to do that. One Airbnb flat owner sent me the Wi-Fi results… of a phone connected to the router (200mb/s), but the Internet speed itself was max. 5mb/s.
In such situations, you may ask the host to send you a screenshot with the test results (download, upload, and ping). When two people are working and taking part in online meetings at the same time, a download of 10mbits/s and an upload below 3mbit/s will not be enough. Not to mention turning on a camera during a call.
To work without difficulty, you will need at least a download of 30mbit/s, an upload of 15mbit/s, and a max 100mbit/s ping.
Also, when you plan to visit countries with high temperatures or go on Workation in mid-summer, make sure to choose an apartment with air-conditioning to feel comfortable while working.
My first three-week Workation adventure was a huge challenge because I did not know what to take with me apart from the obvious things like documents, clothes, cosmetics, and medicine.
As for the non-obvious, I have prepared a list of obligatory and optional devices to pack. I tested all the solutions myself but remember to choose devices that will meet your requirements and needs.
It’s a must-have! You never know how many power outlets there are in the apartment and where they are located. Five outlets should be enough for some standard equipment.
Before setting out on the journey, I recommend checking mobile Internet packages for visitors. For example, in Croatia, we used the T-Mobile package with limitless LTE for tourists, which cost us around $9.
Another idea is to take a portable Wi-Fi router (for example, this one LINKZONE 4G LTE Cat4 Mobile Wi-Fi, which will be your backup plan when working outside of the apartment or when sightseeing.
The best Wi-Fi hardware doesn’t necessarily mean having fast Internet. If the router is covered or hidden in a small corner, even the best connection won’t help.
But when a router is kept in plain sight or has an external Wi-Fi card, then you can boost the speed with an Ethernet cable and a wireless adapter. A solution that has already worked all the three times we went on Workation.
It may sound funny but having no coffee maker at hand in an apartment complicates things. I especially recommend coffee makers that are suitable for all types of cooktops (gas, ceramic, induction).
This portable monitor is one of our latest purchases. It does not take up too much space, but it significantly increases comfort and efficiency at work.
Two people working alongside, running workshops, and meeting with clients pose a challenge. A set of noise-canceling headphones with a good microphone will be a huge relief.
With so many devices in use, a compact charger will come in handy. Right now, I am testing a charger designed by Anker.
So, when we add up the cost of the above (and especially the optional devices), we get a pretty large bill, don’t we?
Luckily, at Predica, each employee receives a renewable hardware budget that will cover most costs.
One of the biggest challenges is staying focused on the job under new conditions.
To make sure that changes don’t affect you too much, it is good practice to prepare your workplace beforehand to do the job easier and without delay.
Here’s a ready checklist for you:
As with other trends, Workation also has its fans and opponents.
It is an ideal opportunity for those who:
I wouldn’t recommend Workation to people who:
Workation is an excellent way to catch up on travel adventures after numerous lockdowns and restrictions got lifted.
Although I was skeptical about the work comfort, access to the Internet, and the general viability at the beginning, my doubts were cleared up on the first trip. To say that it was awesome would be a huge understatement!
In the morning, we worked (sometimes it was as natural as working from my own house), and in the afternoon, we explored new places and tried local specialties.
Obviously, you need to remember that it requires finding a place suitable for working and living in, which does incur some extra costs and effort. However, I can recommend Workation to anybody who wants to try it and form their own opinion.
If for some reason you cannot take part in Workation at your current company, check what Predica can offer you here.
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