Despite our different backgrounds, everyone at Antologic loves to travel. Whilst we love working from our wonderful Wroclaw office, sometimes we dream about a change of scenery. So, therefore, we decided to start the Workation programme.
Combining work with travel is no new thing. Being a digital nomad is no longer a trend, but a lifestyle that many adhere to. The only limitation in this lifestyle is good access to the internet.
So, what’s the benefit? According to Adam Galinsky, professor at Columbia Business School: those who have lived in a foreign country are more creative. Psychologists confirm that a change of environment is one of the best things we can do for our health: both mental and physical.
“Foreign experiences increase cognitive flexibility as well as the depth and relationality of the thought process, and the ability to create lasting connections between different forms.” – says Galinsky.
So, a typical tourist may not get a chance to talk to the locals, and get involved in the new community. They don’t get a chance to immerse themselves in the culture, or to adapt to local ways. By staying in one place for a longer amount of time, we can be stimulated to be more creative and productive.
The most important thing for us was to make sure our employees would benefit. Whether it stimulates their creativity, or develops their soft skills, everyone is a winner in the workation game. Most importantly, though, was making sure they got plenty of sun, sea, and sand, instead of suffering through the darkness of the mid-winter months.
What’s the risk?
Sending employees to a new location might be seen as a huge risk for many companies. Will the employees do their work, or will they spend their time discovering their new location? Well, why not both? We trust in our teams, as they are passionate about what they do. As for our employees, the chance to be given autonomy in what they do, and where they work from, is very important when encouraging their productivity. We believe in the ownership of our work.
On top of that, the experience of a workation can really get the creative juices flowing. Getting to know a new culture can help us learn new practices that, perhaps, we’ve never encountered before. It offers us a chance to network outside of our usual circles. Who doesn’t like making new friends? Plus, the shared experience of living abroad with your colleagues helps make great shared memories. The benefits of leaving your comfort zone, whilst being surrounded by work friends, can help us learn about ourselves and how we handle new conditions. So, even though we’re not physically in the Antologic office, we’re still immersed in our business whilst benefitting from a global lifestyle and mindset.
Did it work?
On that note, how did our group of developers cope when living in Malaga for a whole month?
Workation mode brought them a chance to form a bond that has strengthened their communication skills. Were we worried that there would be a knock-on effect on the continuity of projects? That the rest of the company, and our project partners in Switzerland, would think that they were in holiday mode? Sure. But soon our worries were proven unfounded.
The workation crew chose a location which shared the same time zone as us, and our clients. Their communication response time increased, as they were excited to answer every message whilst working in a milder climate.
So, on the 1 February, 2018, 5 of our developers took off for Spain. Destination: Malaga. Any doubts we had were soon dismissed. Jakub, Piotr, Maciej, Arek, and Krzysztof made sure that we were all involved. How? With a photo of mussels in wine, sent via Slack. A vast improvement on the pizzas they usually ordered in.
Everyone at Antologic was relieved. The start was a success.
How does it continue? And how did it end?
You can read more about their trip and what they thought about being digital nomads here.