With the rise of remote work and an increasing number of people working from basically anywhere, the companies need to adjust their policies and open for both remote work and workcation.
The idea of telecommuting or remote working is not that new. Actually, it is far older than the on-site work. Before the industrial era craftsmen like carpenters, smiths or potters worked in their homes without the need to go anywhere.
The industrial revolution changed the game, with factories being a central point where the employees meet and work on machines provided by their employer. Thus, ironically, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced people around the world to go back to their roots.
The revolution of remote work and hybrid work
The COVID-19 pandemic was a game-changer, at least when it comes to the speed of adopting new trends and ways of working. The Eurostat data shows that before the pandemic no more than 5.4% of EU-based employees were regularly working from home. The first lockdown was a shock therapy that has transferred 40% of the workforce to the work from home model.
The details regarding this shift were delivered in Calamari’s blog post about the remote work in Europe before and after Covid. The reports delivered by EU institutions claim that remote work has been seen as the privilege of management and highest-skilled workers as well as upsides of freelancing. The typical white-collar worker had little to no access to remote work or telecommuting at all.
But not anymore.
Hybrid work is here to stay
The Owl Labs report shows that remote work and hybrid work are new normal in the post-pandemic world. The report states that 84% of US-based employees claim that working remotely after the pandemic would make them happier to the level of accepting the pay cut in exchange for the possibility of working remotely.
The same is true for Europe. The Owl Lab report states that 89% of European companies plan to have a hybrid workforce when the pandemic will be over. On the other side of the same coin — only 11% of employers expect employees to come back to offices full time when the pandemic will be over.
Another interesting change — 32% of companies plan to hire employees who can work remotely, based on their skill rather than their proximity to the office. With that, a talented programmer or graphic designer from developing countries can be a better pick than an average one known from the neighborhood.
This sudden shift toward remote work came with something new — the workation trend.
Read more about the trends in our “ 5 HR trends 2022 “ blog post!
What is workcation
Workation or workcation is a new phenomenon and interesting vacation trend, where the individual is either traveling or just relocating while working remotely. By that, it is unnecessary to take the time off — the travel and sightseeing are done in the spare time.
On the other hand, though, the work is done using the job equipment and tech tools to keep productivity. The lockdowns have shown that it is not crucial to be in the office to do the work and on the other hand — clicking on the computer can be done from anywhere — starting from the bedroom and ending with the beach on the remote location. As long as there is a good internet connection.
Due to the low popularity of hybrid work and remote working in the pre-pandemic world, the workation was not popular and hardly affordable for an average employee. With over 40% of employees able to work remotely in the EU, the concept of workation has gone big.
Benefits of workcation
Workation is a great way to get the benefits from both vacationing and working. One can change the environment and do some sightseeing while not getting out of the loop.
Also, the worcation is an interesting way to tackle the post-vacation blues. A slight depression after getting back to work is seen among 57% of employees. The overwhelming after-vacation is one of the key triggers and working while on vacation ensures that all topics are secured and there is no stacked work to do.
Considering that, workcation done right has no drawbacks — apart from the fact that it is not a “real” vacation.
How a company can get ready for workcationing employees
Workation can be considered a type of remote working, with no visible differences. On the other hand, though, there is “work” in “workcation”, so there are several things to consider before encouraging employees to work from some remote location.
Prepare a clear policy
Similar to the remote work, the workcation needs to be done in a transparent and safe framework shaped by company policies and customs. These need to include several aspects like security, transparency, and accountability.
This comes both as a way to ensure the company is not giving the employee time off without giving him or her time off. Also, it provides the employee with a clear situation regarding the remote work when being away.
Time tracking is an essential part of remote work and hybrid work. It provides both parties, the employee and the employer, with transparency that facilitates trust and mutual respect. And also — keeps compliance with time tracking laws in Europe and US.
Workcation can be effective only when there is time tracking software used. It is an effective tool for the employee to set boundaries to be sure that “-cation” part will remain. On the other hand, though, the employer gets proof that the “work” part is also done.
Remote leave management
Remote leave management comes with some uncommon challenges. First of all — it needs to be done fully remotely, with little to no paperwork. Also, one needs to be able to inform the employer about sick leave or ad-hoc day off. Also, if one is currently workcation it doesn’t mean he or she loses the right to other available leaves like maternal or menstrual leave.
If there is or there is no work done, the situation needs to be clear for both parties.
A tricky one — if the employee aims to work from the location with shifted time zones, both the employer and the employee need to find a shared time for necessary meetings and information exchange. The time zones are both a challenge and an opportunity. The company suffers from some members of the crew being unlooped. In fact, having people during workation can be comparable to building an international remote team — for a while.
On the other hand, these members can work on their tasks during the hours the rest is sleeping. Thus, it may be common to ask for something necessary when leaving the work and get it done the next morning without a single over hour worked.
Transparency and mutual trust
Last but not least — as long as there is no mutual trust in the company, the best policy will remain dead. The best way to tackle this risk is to deliver a good example and show support. Thus, the employees who dare to have a work vacation need to be shown and invited to share their experiences.
Also, having some top managers at the company work from remote locations from time to time can be also an inspiring example.
Workcation (or workation) is a new interesting trend that influences the modern workforce. With the remote revolution forced by lockdowns and the COVID-19 pandemic, the company can find new benefits and provide the employees with new ways to keep a work-life balance and mitigate burnout.