The workcation life: Stay creative, stay safe and enjoy the new normal

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December 6, 2020 8:00 AM

Bored and stressed with work from home, many professionals today are opting to break the monotony by travelling to scenic locales to work and play

Travel services company Thomas Cook introduced workcations in a range of short breaks and mid-week escapes, starting at an attractive price of Rs 2,299 onwards.Travel services company Thomas Cook introduced workcations in a range of short breaks and mid-week escapes, starting at an attractive price of Rs 2,299 onwards.

With work from home becoming the definitive normal, a new trend is emerging: the workcation, wherein professionals are choosing to migrate to scenic locales to work while enjoying a vacation. And why not, as there seems to be no end to work from home (WFH) for the near future. A KPMG 2020 Covid-19 HR report states that 68% organisations in India have incorporated WFH policies. As per Willis Towers Watson India, 55% companies in the country have no end date on WFH arrangements, while Knight Frank indicates that over 70% companies are likely to continue WFH for at least the next six months.

In such a scenario, a workcation makes perfect sense. Not surprisingly, a large chunk of the population today has migrated to hometowns or tourist spots to stay creative and motivated. Many of them sat in front of the computer within the same four walls all the time for the past few months, which resulted in boredom and stress. Working from a scenic mountain home or beach has naturally helped.

According to a 2020 ixigo travel trend report, there has been a change in preferences of travellers after domestic flights resumed operations in May-June. With a majority of Indian companies announcing WFH, 30% travellers revealed that they have been working remotely from a leisure destination. “We have seen a 27% month-on-month increase in search queries for popular getaways such as Goa, Jaipur, Shimla, Udaipur and Uttarakhand. Most of the travellers have opted for home rentals/service apartments/villas as their preferred choice, followed by resorts and eco-friendly cottages. Attractive hotel deals and flexible cancellation policies are also encouraging travellers to embrace this trend,” says Gurugram-based Aloke Bajpai, CEO and co-founder, ixigo, a travel e-commerce website.

For Delhi-based social entrepreneur Shailza Sood Dasgupta, who works closely with local rural communities to augment the village economy by generating alternative income streams, opting for a solo workcation worked wonders. “Homestays are a big hit for workcations, especially in Himachal and Uttarakhand, as they are cost-effective and provide 40-50% discount on monthly stays… it is someone’s home, so safety and security is not an issue. There’s no worry about cooking, as I relished fresh organic home-cooked meals every day. The host family maintains all hygiene measures. The booking lasts from 15 days to a month, so this idea helps one to work in a pollution-free environment and at the same time explore a new place on weekends. It not only improves productivity, but also improves physical and mental health,” says Dasgupta, who stayed in Mukteshwar, Uttarakhand.

Destinations like Uttarakhand offer one the opportunity to work from the mountains. “Workcation is a therapy for the body, mind and soul. What makes it unique are the essential facilities: high-speed internet connectivity, power backup, comfort stay, first-aid facilities, healthy food… office-goers can attend calls, kids can attend online classes,” says Uttarakhand Tourism secretary Dilip Jawalkar, who has introduced several schemes to revive the sector.

A good number of travellers also took to driving holidays with cost-effective getaways close to the cities. “Safety is a function of the enhanced protocols a resort or holiday home offers. Given the huge drop in occupancies, homestays have created special packages to attract a workcation-seeking audience for longer stays. This has resulted in fairly attractive room rates, meals at heavy discounts and also a high-quality Wi-Fi experience, so that work can continue without interruption,” says Bengaluru-based Ashok Lalla, an independent digital business adviser.

Travel services company Thomas Cook introduced workcations in a range of short breaks and mid-week escapes, starting at an attractive price of Rs 2,299 onwards. “WFH has become the new normal. Thus, the opening up of domestic aviation and easing of travel restrictions have helped in witnessing strong pent-up travel demand,” says Rajeev Kale, president and country head, Holidays, MICE, Visa, Thomas Cook.

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