Remote workers quietly take 'workations’ without telling the boss

Remote work has allowed for the rise of hush “workations,” when employees work remotely, often from a holiday location, without telling their boss.
Remote workers;- Remote work has allowed for the rise of hush “workations,” when employees work remotely, often from a holiday location, without telling their boss.[VOA]
Remote workers;- Remote work has allowed for the rise of hush “workations,” when employees work remotely, often from a holiday location, without telling their boss.[VOA]

Remote workers;- Remote work has allowed for the rise of hush “workations,” when employees work remotely, often from a holiday location, without telling their boss.

The COVID-19 pandemic helped drive the trend, not only because it prompted the rise of telework, but also because the pandemic gave people time to reassess their lives, according to high-performance coach Rudi Riekstins.

“They started questioning who they were, what they wanted, who they were dating, married to, what jobs they had, how much money they were making,” says Riekstins, who works with companies and employees. “And so, people started to really feel the uneasiness of what was not working in their life that previously, the rat race kind of made them avoid. And so, as everybody's gone back to work, they've started to say, ‘You know, I'm going back to work, but I'm going back to work on my terms.’”

One study finds that nearly one in three people say they’ve used remote work as a chance to work from a vacation location without telling their bosses. The poll of 2,000 employed Americans found that 29% had used their vacation travels as a chance to work remotely and did so without notifying anyone at work. The poll was commissioned by Mews, a hospitality cloud system, and conducted by OnePoll.

Riekstins says workations can be good for the worker and the employer because workers can become stagnant when life is mundane.

“Productivity goes up on average 70% when people are more happy when they're doing their work. And we're seeing happy people when they're traveling because they're being stimulated,” he says. “You start to be stimulated emotionally, mentally, physically, and then when you show up to work, you're significantly more creative.”

Some in the hospitality industry offer workation specials to help boost their bottom line, especially during the slower seasons.

Sandy Wieber owns the 17-room Bayfront Marin House in St. Augustine, Florida. She also rents out eight beach cottages. Wieber worked remotely for eight years and now offers workation amenities she would have found useful.

“Nice lighting, a good workspace and access to a printer made it easy for the employee working away from home,” Wieber told VOA via email. “I also wanted something for the spouse to do during the day, which is why I included tickets to our town’s trolley, as well as recommendations for things to do alone, and something for them to do together, which is why I included a couple’s massage.”

Wieber says they’ve hosted remote workers for years but that it’s become more prevalent since the pandemic.

“We recently had a gentleman come with his entire family,” she said. “He stayed at one of our large cottages on the beach. He had some fairly specific requests, including having a space to work on his second-floor porch, so that he could hear the ocean as he worked.”

The 13-room Gray Havens Inn, located by the water in Georgetown, Maine, is interested in attracting younger workers.

“We do have a lot of younger travelers, as well, but not as many as we would like, which was part of the reason that we've kind of embarked on this program,” says innkeeper Ali Barrionuevo. “I read about some other hotels doing it … so we put it out there to see if we could attract any folks that were [teleworking].”

Gray Havens offers a workation special that includes 25% off a seven-day stay, as well as daily breakfast, a welcome pack of snacks and drinks, and, like Weiber, personalized afternoon itineraries.

“So, when they're done working, we work with them to find out what they like and then create itineraries that help them get to the things that they want to, or should see, with limited time,” she says.” We can help them be efficient.”

But so far, Barrionuevo says, only one visitor has taken advantage of their “Hush Trip Extended Stay” package.

2023 study found that 51% of Gen Z workers [employees up to age 27] who took a hush trip while on the clock, did so after their request for time off was not approved.

But not all workations have to be secret. Riekstins says some of his clients accept workations, as long as the work gets done.

“A number of the organizations that I do currently work with don't care where their employees work, as long as they produce the results and it's done within the office hours,” he says. “Companies should really be asking, ‘Are my people happy? And if they have the ability to work anywhere, as long as they do their job, am I going to get a better product and a better result out of the people that are working with me? And will I retain them longer?’” VOA/SP

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