Because of the pandemic, most of us have had our suitcases tucked away for the last two years. Traveling has been near-impossible—data shows that in October 2019, over 900,000 Australians left the country, whereas in Oct 2020 and 2021, it was under 15,000 people. Many employees do not want to use their vacation time on something that is less than ideal—if you can’t get away, why take a vacation?
This lack of international travel coincided with the rise in remote work, where employers and employees alike have realised that they can work from just about anywhere. Getting out of the city or where you live and exploring a new place suddenly became possible without taking off time from work.
Enter the workcation. It’s work with a side of vacation, or working while kind-of-vacationing. This new phenomenon is on the rise, embraced by both workers and companies.
But is a change of scenery really as good as a holiday?
Pros of Workcations
Workcations or hybrid holidays have a number of positives them, the biggest being the chance to get away from the normal day-to-day and have some fun while still getting work done and bringing in a paycheque! Here are some other pros:
- Higher employee engagement. Employees feel like they’ve been stuck at home for two years, so new scenery can boost employee satisfaction and engagement.
- Potentially good for tourism. Most countries are struggling after the pandemic decimated tourism industries, so this new trend may boost struggling industries.
- Projects don't stop when key dependencies are not available. If people can work while on vacation, key projects don’t need to be on a two-week hold while the key person is away.
- More attractive place to work. More employees will be attracted to jobs with flexible work schedules and the ability to travel and work at the same time. They will also love their new office at the beach or a fun, new city!
Cons of Workcations
Despite these positive attributes of the working holiday, there are some downsides that also need to be considered. The cons of workcations include:
- Increased leave liabilities for businesses. This is the amount that the employee is owed upon leaving a position based on the leave they have accumulated.
- Lack of a real break and inability to switch “off.” Some employees might not be able to get the mental health break they need because there is no true downtime.
- Distracted from work. Employees may be distracted by their new environment and, therefore, just not do their best work.
The Way of the Future
This is a fairly new phenomenon and it will be interesting to see how it unfolds as we put the pandemic behind us. However, the idea is that this is a positive shift for employees, away from being measured in hours and time-in-office. Instead, their output and results will matter, both of which can be achieved pool-side.
A workcation can be an effective and rewarding way of measuring employees and may inspire them to be more productive. The flexibility of a workcation is a way to reward employees and allow them autonomy over their schedule and lives, ultimately creating a win-win situation.
By Luke Jamieson
Keywords: Culture, Customer Experience, Future of Work