What is a Workation? I Went to Whistler to Find Out

2022 Update: I recently did a short interview on CBC Radio about the factors to consider before taking a workation. This segment is currently running coast-to-coast but can also be found online here!

Like many, my workday routine has become incredibly mundane. With local travel restrictions starting to lift, I was eager for a change in scenery. Not wanting to burn a vacation day, I decided on a quick workation to nearby Whistler. Here’s how it went.

What is a Workation?

Simply put, a workation is vacationing without taking vacation days off from work. This means working your 9-5 then travelling or sightseeing after hours. This also means you can travel on the weekends then bunker down and work remotely before moving on again. This, of course, relies on your job being independent of location. Before the pandemic, a workation may not have been possible for you.

Now with the majority of office jobs forced online, where you perform those tasks is, for the most part, irrelevant. This means that you can be anywhere with an Internet connection during your workday. I am no strange to travelling and working, however, I have not done this with my day job so decided to give it a go.

What to Pack for a Workcation?

One thing that struck me as odd is how many things I forgot for my workstation. I will chalk it up to not travelling for so long. Either way, I spent a day and a half without deodorant and a power adapter for my work laptop. To ensure you have a successful workstation, here is a quick checklist on what to pack:

  • Work laptop or Azure Windows 10 VM i.e. Azure Windows Virtual Desktop.
  • Work laptop accessories (power, cables, mouse etc…)
  • Notebook or daytimer
  • Cell phone and cellphone charger
  • pens
  • Passwords or tokens for accessing work files

What to do on a Workation?

My original workation plan was to head to Whistler after work on Wednesday and back at lunchtime on Thursday. The summer weather has yet to land in Vancouver and the weather on the weekend was decent, so we decided on heading up early on a Sunday and back Monday. The idea was to do a long hike to Upper Shannon Falls before continuing on Whistler.

What we didn’t expect was that popular trails like this were not open yet. So, note to my readers, for your workcation be sure to check the hours and opening of any planned activities in advance!

Also, the downside of doing a workstation over a Sunday is the weekend crowds. At Shannon Falls, we had to wait several minutes just to park.

Feeling dejected, we opted for the short hike around lower Shannon Falls and the connecter between the cable car lot. Although nowhere near the exercise we were looking for, the scenery is still spectacular with old growth and BC’s is the third highest waterfall.

Dine Out

If you have been following along, a big driver for me to travel is the different restaurants and breweries I get to try. This is no different with a workcation.

With plenty of time to kill before checking into our Whistler hotel, we decided to check out Backcountry Brewing in Squamish. Another 45 minutes of waiting and we were in. Again, check ahead as the pandemic certainly does add to wait times.

Aside from the change of scenery, the main driver for this vacation in Whistler was dinner at the Rimrock Café. When I first moved to Vancouver it quickly became one of my favourite restaurants in the region. I’m happy to report that 10 years later, it still holds up.

I highly recommend the lobster bisque, venison, and their amazing sticky toffee putting for dessert.

Out of Office, Office

Monday morning kicked off with a post-Rimrock Café jog around Nita and Alta lakes. By 8 AM, I was signed on to my work laptop. A couple of conference calls and a few emails from the hotel patio and it was already lunch and time to head home.

By 1330 I was home and back in my (home) office. The drive back was a bit longer than expected but did have my phone on for calls and was able to keep tabs on emails when I stopped for gas.

Break Away with a Workation!

There you have it. My Whistler workation helped me break away from the routine at home I have fallen into. Not only did it feel great to get away, but it was also good for my mental health. Like many, it has been a trying few months and was starting to get pretty down by it all. This sample-size test will hopefully pave the way for a workation this fall when I drive across the country!

On top of getting some fresh air, enjoying a great meal, and staying in a nice hotel, I was able this without burning a vacation day. Thus the beauty of the workation.

What say you?
What are your thoughts on taking a Workation?
Let me know in the comments below!

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3 replies on “What is a Workation? I Went to Whistler to Find Out”
  1. Avatarsays: Carola Jain

    Workations are definitely newer in concept but it’s easy to see why they’ve become so commonplace now. Thanks for sharing this insight!

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