Hey grandma Renate, what the heck is… #workation

September 26, 2022

Our experience is the future! But how does that function in our world of constant change? Where can we get experienced advice about New Work? Very easy: Just ask grandma Renate!  

We found a Power-Woman who not only can inform us about her personal experiences but who also continues to develop professionally, even while she enjoys life as a retiree, copes with changing times, and strives to stay up-to-date. She is eager to learn new things and is interested in her adult children’s  professional concerns, in what interests them in their leisure time, and what excites or worries them in today’s world.  

Renate had multi-faceted obligations for numerous branch offices of her former employer, including personnel responsibilities, flexible work time, several business trips per month, in-house professional development, introductions to new technology of the time, e.g., the computer DMV, the first mobile phones etc. Besides all that, she was a caring mother of three and a housewife. This was the normal craziness in Renate’s everyday life of the time. What sounds like a reasonable goal today, was then almost unthinkable for a woman in Renate’s career path. She didn’t let herself be defeated. Today she still has her Notes-App ready on her phone… for what again? 

As a young woman, Renate actually dreamed of being a journalist, and now we are fortunate that she wants to share her knowledge and experience with us via our Unicorn Blog. We are looking forward to many fascinating topics that our talks with Renate will cover.  

So, let’s start! The first topic is #workation.  

Hello dear Renate, this month we have a New-Work-Buzzword for you, which fits perfectly since it’s summer time now. We are looking into the word #workation. What do you think the word could mean?  

The word “Workation” caught my eye while reading… my first thought: hey, somebody made a spelling mistake! It is certainly meant to say “workstation”. The “old nitpicker” me - discovered it! But no: I got it wrong! The word is spelled correctly. However, I can’t make out the meaning. “-ation” is a common  ending of German nouns, just like in English! Does it have anything to do with “closure”?    

Workation – work and vacation combined  

And, what do you say? Is that what you would have thought? Perhaps #workation existed before, in your previous work environment?  

Within “Workation” I see hidden a work concept that is both “old” and “new”… a working world familiar to me, not only redescribed but newly designed to be fair. 

New word = new content: planning! Schedule work and vacation together.  

Working on vacation already existed during my work days! EXCEPT: completely unscheduled! Vacation with the whole family without any work obligation – that was the expectation then. However, globalization and digitalization made it possible to access employees and responsibilities in my past work environment as well. Accessibility around the clock, including during family vacation! Relaxing during planned time off disappeared; the children were justifiably annoyed and disappointed.  

I see “Workation” as an intriguing resolution for employees and their families, as well as for employers and their clients! It’s a chance to plan with calm and composure, to avoid stress, and to integrate specific and planned work time during vacation. That sounds to me like motivation for “successfully  working together”. But always and only with the awareness: stay consistent! Vacation time must stay free time for family, sports, relaxation, recreation – simply vacation!  

Could you have imagined a #workation back then?  

Had the idea of Workation existed in my former professional life - certainly, I would have very much welcomed it. It would have energized me, and been easier on my nerves! Everybody would have known what to expect – even the kids during vacation: now it’s time for mom to work. Certainty in knowing: we planned this together!  

What would have been your Workation-travel destinations?  

I picture my personal Workation fantasy on the island of Naxos, Greece - my work and vacation image would be: seated with my laptop, on cool white stones in the shadow of a pink colored bougainvillea, participating in a planned video meeting with my work team in their offices. Just a wonderful cheerful  relaxing work environment for me – Workation makes it possible! After planned work time I continue my vacation in the capital Naxos, a picturesque harbor town with an impressively scenic and colorful landscape of plants and flowers, that quickly transports me to the here and now of vacation. While strolling through the town I marvel at antique ruins and their stories. Naxos is surrounded by idyllic mountain villages with welcoming citizens, just an atmosphere of well-being. As a highlight I take in the inviting long white beaches, which guarantees that after work the ultimate feeling of vacation will return.  

Renate, how much sense does it make in your opinion to have a #workation?  

Considerting that behind “Workation” the combination of vacation + work + planning is included… honestly, I wouldn’t come up with that solution myself. After all, because vacation means “holiday” for me… does it need a newly created word? Once you know the origin is “work” and “vacation”, the combination of the words make sense to me! Especially the solution behind the word!  

I give the word a 3 out of 5 Boomer Rating.