Yeah, I finally took my first workation! For some — these digital nomads people — this is a usual experience but most would ask
What is a workation?
so I want to explain and share my experience to enable you to think outside your box and maybe give it a try someday, too.
A workation is a merger of work and vacation: so you still work while you’re on vacation. How’s that possible? By not making work dependent on the location, that is by working remotely.
Workations at mindmatters
Since my employer mindmatters became a remote ok company a few years ago, some of my colleagues took workations already: to Spain, Italy, Canada and Thailand. So I did not need to convince anyone that I would still provide good work while being in a vacation destination — I knew I had the backing of my colleagues and my boss and just needed to announce that and when I would take the workation.
Choosing the place
Because I wanted to take a workation before I would take a vacation with my husband on Mallorca — so that he needn’t be too jealous — I already knew that my destination was Mallorca. I researched co-working spaces there and found bedndesk that would not only provide a co-working but also a co-living space in El Arenal, close to the beach Playa del Palma.
I did not regret my choice: Matias, the host, was super welcoming and made an effort in providing a homely place and connecting people in the co-working and co-living community. He invited everyone into a WhatsApp group, provided a special easter breakfast in the office and put a photo of every co-worker to the wall so that everyone knew the other people around. He even arranged for another co-worker and me to meet with a Spanish teacher for a lesson over coffee.
The rooms are not luxury but provided everything I needed. The Wi-Fi — the most important asset for a remote worker — was blazing fast and enabled me to attend all video conferences I had without any problems.
Meeting the community
Some time ago, a digital nomad from Spain attended the ruby user group in Hamburg, where I live, and did a talk on something interesting. He told us that he was travelling through Europe and sharing his experiences to meet the local developer communities, get to know new people and learn new things.
I recalled this event when I was preparing my workation and thought maybe I can attend a developer meetup in Palma and if there's no meetup scheduled, offer a talk myself.
I found the group Agile & Lean Illes Balears and exchanged some messages with the very friendly organizer Luis. He was very glad I reached out, was super responsive, picked one of the topics I proposed and scheduled a meetup which took place in Habitissimo who were so kind to provide the space and snacks.
It was a pleasure to meet the local agile community in Palma and I really enjoyed sharing my knowledge and thoughts on a topic I’m really excited about. The conversations I had and the feedback I got were so rewarding and I would definitely recommend meeting the local community when you’re on a workation.
So, right now you're probably wondering
What about the vacation part?
And yes, even though I worked the normal amount of hours as if I would have worked in Hamburg, I still enjoyed some vacation perks: I rented a bicycle at Ciclos Quintana (good price and quality and just around the corner from bedndesk) and explored the surrounding area in the morning or evening. I also brought neoprene clothes — because in April the Mediterranean is still cold — to go swimming during lunch break.
Two people I met on the meetup, Adria and Luis, even invited me to join their local runner group for another evening: they call themselves the Beer Runners Mallorca and it’s not what you might think. They seriously run for 6 km near Palma Cathedral and then sit down for a beer afterwards. And there’s beer without alcohol too. The five of them were super nice and really supportive during the run. One of them could not speak English, so I used the event as a Spanish lesson as well and really enjoyed their company. If you like running and go to Palma, join them for an evening!
Would I go on workation again?
Definitely. I really enjoyed the whole experience and I think Palma was an easy place for it because it has a good internet connection, the same time zone as Hamburg and offers many activities outside. However, mind that if you’re inside because you’re working and it’s not summer yet, the houses get very cold. They don’t have good insulation and mostly no heating, so bring your warm clothes for the working hours and be prepared to amuse your colleagues back home.