Blurring the Lines Between Work and Play: The Workcation Trend is Taking Off in the American Workforce
At the beginning of each year, I plan out my entire vacation schedule. This company is very generous with vacation days and I make it my mission every year to maximize every single moment. And, one of the best things about my job is that I can do most of it remotely. I am in the office most days but I certainly don't have to be. My doctor's offices always laugh at me because you won't catch me without my laptop. If I'm waiting, I'm working.
I also sometimes schedule "workcations." For instance, last year during the 4-H fair, I worked half days. The other half of the day, I spent tending to my daughter's horse and watching her compete. It worked out GREAT. I didn't get behind on my day-to-day tasks and I only used three days of vacation time instead of five.
How Many Americans Take 'Workcations'?
I'm not the only one who likes to take hybrid PTO. According to gocity.com out of 1,000 American workers that were interviewed, 27% planned to take a work/PTO blended trip in 2023. Fifty percent of those who are planning on taking a workcation are Gen Zers. It makes sense though - this group grew up in virtual school. Might as well roll that into your workplace as well.
According to the article, "More than 1 in 3 (35%) have taken a blended work and travel vacation before and nearly 60% say they’re just as productive as they’d be at home. When on these blended trips and not working, the top things travelers want to do are relax, try new restaurants or cuisine and sightsee."
What's the Downfall of a 'Workcation'?
So, what's the downfall of all this? Well, plenty. First off - PTO is there to help us escape the demands of work. We are human and need time to relax and recharge. We also need time to tend to our personal appointments and challenges. If you are working while you are PTOing, can you do any of those things fully? The truth of it is, though, is 39% of the people surveyed were already responding to emails while they were on PTO - they just didn't get to count it as time worked. On the flip side, your co-workers need a break from you - no matter how great you are to them.
Why Someone Would Want to Take a Workcation?
So, if you've never considered a hybrid vacation before, you might be wondering why anyone would want to do this.
Well, like I said before, you can stretch out your PTO time. If you work half days or even a couple hours a day over the course of a week, you can use that time later in the year. A hybrid vacation can also let you vacation longer. If you only have three days of PTO left and want to spend a week on the beach, you can. A workcation can also make travel easier. You can fly on a day with cheaper airfare, you can do that. And finally, you can stay on top of things that would overwhelm you when you come back to the office.
And yes, there are those who can't work remotely. In fact, I'd say most of the workforce has to deal face-to-face with their clients or physically be present in some way but for those who can, it can be a blessing.
What Should I Have Prepared for my Workcation?
There are a few things you'll need to maximize your output.
- A laptop. Does anyone even have desktops anymore? Is that a thing? Seriously though, I have a Mac and it's like my sidekick. She goes everywhere with me.
- Wifi - sounds dumb but not everywhere has reliable wifi! I actually make sure that I have good working wifi before I go anywhere on vacation. I love camping but if the campground is too remote for me to get a few things done, it's a no-go. I'm not going to be Robin Williams in RV. I'm just NOT!
- A sturdy laptop bag. When you are going thru TSA and other forms of transportation, you want to make sure your laptop is protected. And a backpack can really be a lifesaver.
- Printed papers that you'll need.
- A hotspot - just in case!
How to Ask to Take a Workcation
First of all, you have to be a stellar employee if you don't already work entirely remotely. If you are goofing off and not making goals and deadlines, there's a good chance you won't be trusted to go off-grid and do what you are supposed to do. Second, create a plan. I always plan out what I want to accomplish in my hybrid days. I line up all the things I do on a daily basis and then complete a couple more things that will help me increase my output. If it's your first time workcationing, it might be helpful to outline these things on and give them to your supervisor.
What If I Want to Workcation, Like, All the Time?
If this all sounds like your cup of tea, there are lots of remote jobs out there. You can always go to a site like indeed.com and search remote work.