Summertime – workation time? Yes, of course, but without surprises!

The summer holidays are just around the corner and HR managers and supervisors soon will be overrun with workation requests for flexible and location-independent work from anywhere. As an attractive employer, many companies want to meet the wishes of their employees in order not to lose them in times of the skilled workers shortage. They therefore want to enable their employees to work from (almost) anywhere in the world, be it for a few days, several weeks or even months per year.

The below article highlights, what is meant by workation, which risks exist for employers and their employees, and what needs to be considered for the workation to become a rewarding and successful experience for everyone involved.

What is workation?

Workation is a new form where work and vacation are combined. Usually, an attractive holiday location is chosen for a workation, where work is performed during the day or on an hourly basis depending on the flexible daily or weekly schedule. The remaining time during the day, after work and on the weekends can be enjoyed at the desired location to pursue the individual life-work balance.

Often, employees wish to extend their vacation by a few days or weeks in the vacation country after their usual vacation and work from there. In this way, despite working, more time can be spent e.g., with the family in a beautiful place. Generally, companies grant their employees a workation for a period between 1 to 12 weeks.  

Workation primarily serves a specific purpose: namely, to combine recreation and leisure with work which results in a higher recovery effect. With a mix of work and leisure, the stay in the desired location can be extended without having a salary cut and using up too many vacation days.

These flexible working agreements not only have a positive impact on the work-life balance of the employees but are also an attractive benefit for attracting future talents.  

All that glitters is not gold!

Of course, there are also disadvantages in a workation that should not be underestimated but differ greatly from individual to individual.  

People who are not able to focus well on their work might quickly be distracted by the attractive holiday destination and/or the closeness of the family. This can lead to stressful situations and fatigue, especially as the person wants to please the family and employer. Precise planning of a working day and separation between work and leisure time is therefore highly recommended.

The employer rightly wants to ensure that employees have a safe and comfortable workplace during workation, have a secure internet connection and comply with data protection. This is associated with higher costs, which are usually not covered by the employer, unless it is a team workation. A regular exchange with the employee can be more difficult than expected (time difference, conflict between work and leisure of the employee vs. team meeting, etc.).

What does the employer have to consider?

The legal and organizational implications of a workation or job relocation should therefore be carefully considered before being approved by the employer, especially when it comes to cross-border locations. We recommend that the following topics are clarified beforehand:

  • What permits/visas are required to be allowed to work in the desired country, if any?
  • What tax implications could work in this location have for the company and the employee, if any? 
  • What activities are employees not allowed to perform in this country? 
  • What needs to be considered with regards to social security requirements?
  • What labor law implications need to be considered?  
  • Do the employees have sufficient coverage in case of an occupational accident?
  • What needs to be considered with regards to data protection regulations in the holiday destination?
  • Which requirements does the employer need to have in place for a workation?   

What are the pros and the cons for a workation? – A summary:



  • More time for family, leisure, and relaxation
  • Better - work-life balance
  • Possibility to reduce overtime
  • Less/no use of additional vacation days
  • No wage reduction
  • Be an attractive employer
  • Satisfied employees and higher productivity
  • Prevention of health aspects
  • Risk of being distracted from work 
  • A too busy day can lead to fatigue and stress
  • Difficulty separating work from leisure
  • Additional costs for infrastructure, secure data transmission and mobile phones
  • Clarifications regarding compliance lead to additional costs 
  • Regular exchange with the employee can be more difficult than expected
  • Risks relating to the various aspects of immigration, social security, taxation etc. to be clarified beforehand and managed during the stay


Workation is a trend and will remain popular in the future. There are many advantages and good reasons to approve a workation, and such flexible approaches to working hours are indispensable for attracting or retaining talents.

Both employers and employees must also be aware of the disadvantages mentioned above and, in particular, of the legal provisions to be complied with. If this legislation is known and the employer creates clear rules, a workation will be a rewarding and a positive experience for everyone.

Our recommendation

Before approval or introduction of workation in your company find out about the applicable legislation in the destination, its risks and impacts  

  • Then carefully consider the advantages against the disadvantages
  • Make sure to have a workation policy in place 

We would be happy to support and advise you on workation and other cross-border employee assignment topics or in the workation guidelines or any other policy developments.