The pandemic has considerably impacted our work-life balance over the past two years. The work-from-home and lockdown policies have forced many to spend countless hours on devices, away from the physical company of their colleagues and friends. Today, many workers feel the need to be together again, work on projects with a team, and take time off screens.
Many companies and business owners also feel the need to change. There is an awareness to reward their employees after a very tough period. They also understand that no matter how important technology is, other factors are just as paramount for the success of their brand. These include the motivation, creativity and well-being of their employees. For example, some tech companies are investing money and time in planning innovative bonding trips.
These challenges and changes have led to a new concept, the ‘workation’. As the name suggests, it’s a mixture of work and vacation. It stems from the possibility of working from anywhere worldwide thanks to technology and being flexible with one’s time management. But as with all trendy words, it can have a different meaning according to the company that uses it.
For example, we recently read an article explaining how foreigners were offered to work remotely from Venice to repopulate its historical centre and enjoy its beauty. While we appreciate the ultimate goal, we think that instead of making the workshop spaces available to foreigners, something should be done to help the local artisans and keep their traditions alive. Giving the possibility to foreigners and not to the Venetians to repopulate their city is not a solution. We don’t think that Venice needs more people: its delicate environment and heritage needs more sustainable tourism that respects the local community. That’s why a workation means something very different to us and why we propose beautiful destinations that are off the beaten path.
What is a workation all about according to Italian Special Occasions DMC & Events?
We are thrilled to explain our approach through ISO Workation Experiences, created around the concepts of culture and sustainability.
For us at ISO, a workation is an opportunity for employees to discover unknown or forgotten parts of Italy so that:
- the local culture enriches them – this makes a vacation extra unique and memorable;
- the destination and its heritage inspire them – this also helps to boost the employees’ creativity at work;
- they give back to the local community – in addition to making the participants feel good and valuable, this is also great for corporate social responsibility (CSR);
- they embrace the concept of sustainability and respecting nature, the importance of which the pandemic has made very clear to everyone.
Another critical aspect is the length of the stay. Planning a long-stay workation is ideal because it gives participants time to work, relax, learn and experience the destination in an enriching way. That’s why we like organising workations that last at least one week and up to a month—staying only four nights is not enough, as it would feel more like a quick bleisure trip.
Longer stays can also positively impact the environment and the local community. Why? Because they create less mass of visitors that come and go in very short amounts of time; and less travel produces less pollution and has a positive impact on tourism’s carbon footprint. Finally, a long-stay workation is a fantastic way to use our Seasonality concept at its best! We propose the ideal season-region combination for your employees to savour time and place at a slow pace.
Who are the protagonists of an ISO Workation Experience? They are:
- A coach;
- The locals, including an environmental guide and artisans;
- Your employees!
Let’s go practical: how to plan the perfect long-stay workation?
Note: This approach can be applied anywhere around the world!
During the long-stay workation in Italy, your employees get to spend some quality time in a beautiful venue where they work on a business project and relax. All the attention is on the well-being of the employees, their work project, and the educated exploration of the destination.
For example, the morning starts with a yoga session in an Italian-landscaped garden, a healthy breakfast with fresh local products, and a meeting with the coach to strengthen the team’s productivity with precise goals.
The employees will then work on their project, using technology and meeting with their co-workers when needed. In what kind of office? The possibilities are endless! One idea is to work from a historical villa with modern workspaces set up expressly for ISO Workation Experiences to meet all of your requirements and guarantee a wellbeing-focused and creativity-boosting work environment.
Depending on the workation programme that we design with the Client, the employees enjoy alternative activities during the week and weekends. Examples include cooking classes with a local chef or handicraft experiences such as pottery, embroidery, painting or any linked to the local tradition.
All leisure activities have the objective of helping the employees rediscover their senses, the spark of creativity, the focus and passion needed to meet a purpose – whether it’s a work-related goal or a personal mission. Birdwatching is one of our favourite activities that best exemplifies what we describe. It helps us to observe, listen and be patient.
Eco-friendliness and sustainability are paramount for ISO Workation Experiences, and that’s why we always work with environmental guides for educational treks. The more you know and understand nature, the easier it is to appreciate and respect it.
We also suggest using the workation to organise corporate social activities. They are great for your CSR programme, for the employees and the locals. A positive and natural exchange between the latter groups can happen when ‘workationers’ clean a beach or a street with the help of their environmental guide. It’s a beautiful and inspiring moment!
|Location, location, location|
Here is how we help you identify the best location for your workation with a positive impact on the destination:
● Depending on the number of employees involved, the ISO Team selects and proposes different options off the beaten path and according to our Seasonality approach.
● For example, for 15 employees, we suggest one of the stunning and authentic hamlets in a rural area along our Heritage Paths. This network has historical venues in beautiful hamlets where to stay, and some are perfect for workation experiences. Choosing this type of venue will help to preserve these precious monuments.
● We make sure that the chosen location has a good internet connection for your employees to work comfortably. But at the same time, the area will be characterised by nature, ancient traditions and an authentic lifestyle. This will help your employees have the much-needed contact with Mother Nature and be enriched by the local culture.
● Great workation destinations include Mount Amiata in southern Tuscany, the Amalfi Coast in Campania, Sicily, Marche and Umbria. The best seasons for these regions are winter, spring and autumn.
Would you like to incentivise and reward your employees with a long-stay workation in Italy? With ISO Workation Experiences, we guarantee an authentic trip that positively impacts their motivation, creativity, and team resilience. Let’s chat about the best way to achieve it sustainably!