Emily Smith was working at two jobs, one at a hotel and one at a store when she realized that she needed a break. Smith, who is based in Vancouver (British Columbia), claims her employers wouldn’t approve of her vacation time so she created a fake emergency and claimed she would need to work remotely. Instead, Smith went to Las Vegas.
She says, “I had meetings poolside and scheduled my flights so that they would occur outside of working hours.” “All of my work was done in a timely fashion so my bosses never asked span>
This was 2012 when most jobs required an in-person presence. Approximately 10 years later, there are more people working remotely (or poolside as Smith). U.S. Census Bureau data from 2022 shows that more than 27.6 millions people worked primarily at home in 2021, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. This is more than triple the number who worked from home in 2019, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some workers don’t want to inform their employers if they are planning to work remotely. They have started to take “hush trips” where they work in a vacation location without telling their boss whereabouts. These workers often take advantage of their leisure time to combine work and play.
Wakefield Research conducted a survey about RVshare’s recreational vehicle rental site, asking questions about hush trips in September 2022. The survey found that 56% of American adults are likely to take part in a hush-trip. 36% of Generation X, millennials and others claim they have one in the works for 2023.
Hush trips are an option for those who have employers who don’t allow vacation days. Some employers don’t like the idea of workers leaving their homes and prefer to keep it that way. Is it really important if workers reveal their location?
Problems that may accompany hush-tripping
Amy Marcum is a human resources manager at Insperity HR service provider. She warns that hush-tripping can lead to friction.
“Some employees might feel that their coworkers are taking advantage the generous work-from home policies, which could lead to conflicts,” she said.
Robin Pou, executive coach, points out another negative outcome: the loss of trust between employees (and managers).
He says, “The leader always discovers the truth and drives them to question why the employee tried to hide it.” “This erosion can be a cancer of team dynamics .”
Lisa M. Sanchez, an ArtCenter College of Design human resources executive, said that employees can’t be effective on hush trips.
Sanchez says, “Who is motivated to work when there are a turquoise beach and a fruity beverage waiting for them?” What should one do if called to an emergency meeting and are already in flight span>
There are security concerns about employees taking employer-issued computers outside of the area or accessing unknown Wi-Fi networks. Employers could face unexpected tax consequences if workers work too long from another country or state.
Hush trips aren’t always a bad thing
A hush trip could help to expose workplace problems.
Pou states that leaders need to take a look in the mirror and ask themselves what kind of environment their team members have created.
Mariela De La Moura, a business and leadership coach, says it is unnecessary to know where your employees are at all times. She also says that she finds it patronizing when they don’t.
She says that remote work did not increase their productivity or dedication to their roles. This is particularly important when you’re employing Gen Z or younger millennials, who expect freedom from their roles and won’t abide by outdated span policies.
How employers could better support employees who travel
No matter your opinion on hush trips or not, everyone agrees that time off is vital.
Marcum states that a change of location can lead to new ideas, productivity and morale improvements, as well as a higher quality work environment.
Sanchez believes employers must provide clear rest opportunities to employees.
She says, “Don’t unreasonably deny employees time off, don’t create a 24/7 work-from-home grind, and try to engage employees after hours.”
Smith has since left her two previous jobs and is now her own boss. The Female Abroad is her travel planning business. She says that even if she had a report to make, she would still be open to hush trips.
This article is by NerdWallet. It was originally published in The Associated Press.
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