Coworkation: Work is Changing

Coworkation: Work is Changing

April 9, 2015

Recently I came across on an article called, “Why I decided to go on a cowork vacation in Bali for a month” on Quartz. I was intrigued by a few words in the title of the article: Bali (a place I’ve dreamt about visiting for a long time) and “work vacation.”

A vacation at work? Working on vacation? Going to Bali with my boss? Naturally, I needed to know more.

A coworkation starts with a collaborative working space that can be shared by people from different backgrounds and job positions. The residents may work as much or as little as needed, with access to Wi-Fi and local amenities, and can stay for as long as they can afford (which is cheaper than the NYC alternative). The article I found says it best, “The idea is simple: avoid getting worn down by a European or American winter and build your venture from ‘Silicon Bali’.”

Sign me up!

The trend started about five years ago, according to Emergent Research, with groups creating their own “tribe” in any location they desire. New companies such as Hubud in Bali, are creating the community for these coworkations, and others that are aiding in planning custom projects. The main purpose is to host a space that motivates people in a new environment by culture and discovery, and increases productivity.

On Tribewanted’s website (an organization that helps create these coworkations in Bali), one testimony says it all about his experience, “It was a successful hybrid between a creative business trip and an outstanding adventure holiday. From building websites to climbing volcanoes, pitching new ideas to swimming with turtles, skill sharing to spearfishing, closing clients to camping on a beach and so much more.”

At first I thought, who would want to go to an amazing place such as Bali and work? But then, I realized the majority of employed Americans are still connected while on vacation, never really detaching themselves from their work. 82% of workers connect to the office on vacation and 65% of workers join an online meeting. [PGI]

Fewer of us are leaving work at the office, and more employees want a better work-life balance. Flexible hours are more important than they have been in the past. More and more people are blurring the line between work and life, and this is an obvious example of how the industry is adapting. These new office environments offer a place to work on a temporary basis to boost productivity. The New York Times calls it “the busman’s holiday for the digital age.”

The created space not only provides an inspiring culture and environment, but also encourages collaboration. Tales of coworkations explain how people in the space trade their skills; working on their own projects, but helping others with their creativity. When they aren’t working, people are exploring their surroundings and helping with local community projects.

There are so many proven benefits to going on vacation: taking the time to relax, rejuvenate, and reconnect with family, and explore the world. Personally, I think these new places would not only inspire my own creativity, but give me a little more perspective on what the rest of the world experiences on a daily basis (and I’m not just saying that because I want to go to Bali!).

It reminds me of the times in college when we used to work outside once the winter months ended. My friends and I would sit on the grass with our laptops, surrounded by others doing the same, and work in the sun. I got my work done, got the chance to collaborate with my peers, and it brightened my outlook (literally and figuratively).

The idea behind coworkations is very progressive and as a millennial, very appealing. I think the foundation, however, is the same whether you’re in a huge office building full of cubicles, or sitting in a hut watching monkeys run across rice fields:  create a space where people are motivated and feel productive. The worker reflects the attitude of the workplace, so make sure to inspire creativity, and keep everyone motivated by recognizing hard work, regardless of the environment.