'Workcation' allows woman a week's holiday in Spain without taking any annual leave

Amy Irvine and her colleague, Olivia Smith recently went on a workcation to Spain without taking annual leave.  (Amy Irvine/SWNS)
Amy Irvine (left) and her colleague, Olivia Smith recently went on a workcation to Spain without taking any of her annual leave. (Amy Irvine/SWNS)

A woman has shared how she managed to go on a week's holiday to Spain without using up any of her annual leave.

Amy Irvine, 27, from Kendal, Cumbria, spent seven days soaking up the sun in Marbella in April 2023 and didn't use up a single day of her annual leave allowance.

As head of digital at a PR company, Irvine's workplace has a policy allowing all employees to work from anywhere in the world.

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This enabled Irvine and her colleague, Olivia Smith, 27, to jet off to Spain, where they spent their days working from the balcony of their apartment just a stone's throw from the beach.

Lunch breaks were spent taking a quick dip in the pool before the duo headed out for drinks in the evening.

Irvine has used the policy to take two other trips around the UK - Kielder Forest in Northumbria for her mum's 50th and Whitby in the North East to extend a holiday - but this is the first time she's used it to venture abroad.

The PR worker says she would recommend a workcation to anyone. (Amy Irvine/SWNS)
The PR worker says she would recommend a workcation to anyone. (Amy Irvine/SWNS)

"After the pandemic we realised that everyone could work from anywhere and it became a company policy," she explains.

"If the job allows, then everyone should ask their boss if they can work remotely - and use the opportunity to head abroad.

"Chances are if you can work from home, you can work from Spain, France, anywhere with a similar timezone to the UK."

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Irvine says she would "100% recommend" combining work with a trip abroad.

"It's nice to get away, but not have to use up your holiday allowance," she explains.

"I just wanted to go and get some sunshine and it was nice to have a change of scenery.

"We went for drinks and tapas in the evenings and it made you feel like you're on holiday again - we even went to a beach club one evening."

Irvine worked in the day and soaked up the Spanish sun in her lunch break. (Amy Irvine/SWNS)
Irvine worked in the day and soaked up the Spanish sun in her lunch break. (Amy Irvine/SWNS)

Irvine says the working holiday and new environment benefitted her productivity too.

"I definitely felt more productive and it increased my motivation," she explains.

"It was nice to work with my colleague - who is usually in the London office - as well."

Irvine believes being able to work remotely from other countries could also lead to employees having a better work/life balance.

"If you work in a job where you can do it, it's a really nice benefit."

While she doesn't have any current plans for a future trip, she hopes to work abroad again in the summer and autumn months.

Watch: 80% would work from vacation if it meant they could extend their trip

The rise of the workcation

Though not necessarily a new concept, the idea of the workcation has been gathering steam since the pandemic put working remotely firmly on the radar, with a recent survey from HomeToGo revealing three quarters of participants would like to take a working holiday this year.

No longer confined to either the office or the home, employees are now choosing to hot desk on holiday and save their annual leave in the process.

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"The pandemic has given people a realisation of how important life is and how quickly it can change," explains Adam Butler, workplace solutions expert and CEO of Officeology.

"Making the most of every opportunity is a big priority for many people, more than ever before, including goals such as to travel more and experience new cultures."

From Zoom meetings beside the pool to sifting through emails on the beach, aside from the obvious scenery upgrade on a stifling office, there are many other benefits to taking your work with you on vacay, including giving your wellbeing much-needed boost.

Workcations are on the rise. (Getty Images)
Workcations are on the rise. (Getty Images)

A recent survey by instantprint found that four in ten UK employees (40%) believe having the flexibility to be able to work their current job from another country could have a positive impact on their mental health.

"By stepping away from the routine and immersing oneself in a new environment, individuals can rejuvenate their minds, resulting in improved mental health and overall wellbeing," explains psychologist Barbara Santini.

A working trip can also offer improved clarity and purpose.

"Workcations, especially when free from the distractions of family obligations, offer a unique opportunity for self-reflection," Santini adds.

"Being alone in an unfamiliar environment allows individuals to find clear answers and gain deeper insights into their own ambitions and goals. It provides a chance to focus on personal growth and define future paths without the distractions commonly found in familiar surroundings."

And surprisingly jetting off to foreign climes could also help bolster productivity, with more than a fifth of Brits (22%) believing that working from another country would help their productivity levels to spike.

Before you hit up the Internet to search for cheap flights, it's worth having a chat with your employer to find out if you are able to take a workcation.

And for those companies who are willing to support you packing up your laptop, Butler says employer/employee trust is key to making working from your sunlounger a reality.

Additional reporting SWNS.