Looking to Reignite Your Professional Motivation? Plan a Workcation.

It doesn’t take burning through precious PTO in order to experience the world and feel reinspired.
Written by Tyler Holmes
December 9, 2021Updated: December 9, 2021

When 2020 forced most of the tech industry into a newfound remote routine overnight, many companies began implementing a “work-from-anywhere” philosophy once the productivity results came back as beneficial. As long as employees had access to a laptop and a stable internet connection, anywhere could become a workspace — from the beaches of Bali to the mountain lodges of Alaska — without burning through precious PTO. Thus, the workcation was born.

Today, remote work is becoming an invaluable asset to active job seekers and loyal employees alike, partly due to a focus on mental health and burnout prevention by leadership teams. In fact, according to Milyli Senior Project Manager Marko Iwanik, switching up his schedule and work environment has been essential to fueling work-related inspiration.

“To stay engaged and actively interested in my work, I apply Bill Larson’s ‘Calvin & Hobbes’ mentality of ‘Let’s go exploring!’” Iwanik said. “Moving from city to city every few days gave my work week the variety I needed for creative problem solving.”

To learn more about the positive possibilities of the newfound workcation, Built In Chicago caught up with Iwanik to discuss how traveling while working has changed his professional perspective — and the most helpful tips he’s learned about reigniting his motivation along the way.

 

Marko Iwanik walking along the water in Croatia.
MARKO IWANIK

 

Marko Iwanik
Senior Project Manager • Milyli

Where did you go for your workcation and what did you enjoy most about your time there?

To “Make It Like You Like It,” I arranged to work in Croatia for three weeks in August and September of 2020. I loved the change of pace, as I typically live and work in Chicago and have many commitments that pull me in a ton of different directions. The ability to remove my regular distractions and explore a new country was a real privilege.

It’s hard to feel inspired spending more than 20 hours a day in the same four rooms.”

 

How did your workcation change your perspective on your professional life?

Some people need a consistent routine to be productive or efficient. To stay engaged and actively interested in my work, I apply Bill Larson’s “Calvin & Hobbes” mentality of “Let’s go exploring!” I thrive from an occasional switch-up to my schedule or working environment. It’s hard to feel inspired spending more than 20 hours a day in the same four rooms. Moving from city to city every few days gives my work week the variety I need for creative problem solving, but also affords opportunities to really focus while in isolation.

 

Iwanik’s Standard Travel Rules

  • Plan ahead
  • Travel with a work bag that includes extra monitors, keyboard, surge protector and more
  • Ask locals for their recommendations (or help)
  • Stay active by integrating workouts into your sightseeing
  • Look into kayaking if you’re on the water, hiking if you’re somewhere remote
  • Choosing a big city? Try a running routine on a route of famous landmarks

 

For people thinking about taking their own workcation in the future, what would you recommend to ensure a healthy balance between relaxation and exploration while staying motivated by work?

I advise anyone who considers this working arrangement to set clear expectations for working hours and when you are available for calls. Make time for regular conversations with your manager discussing expectations, your performance or any other relevant topics during your workcation. This was a new experience for all of us, and frequent conversations helped ensure the process went smoothly.

The Milyli IT team really enabled me to be successful from a productivity standpoint. I traveled with a bag exclusively with work equipment: extra monitors, a keyboard, surge protector and more. I kept everything plugged in, so setup time was five minutes whenever I got to a new place.

 

 

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