What is a Holiday for Remote Workers?

Working can be exhausting sometimes. 

Although the remote work model has brought some comfort for people, it can still have its own struggles such as losing the line between work and home life balance or feeling isolated. 

There’s one little sweet recipe for employees to get away from tiresome workflow: holidays. However, under remote work conditions, what is a holiday?

When the remote work model first rose to the scene, some of us might have thought “Oh what a relief! Now I can work and go on a vacation at the same time!”. But it didn’t turn out that way did it?

First, it was realized that being at home doesn’t feel like going on a vacation at all. 

With no decrease in workload from pre-pandemic period to the remote work era, working at home can even be more stressful with all the domestic work included. So, it has become very clear for employees that remote working does not equal having a holiday by no means.

Some might have been a little luckier as their companies made it available for their employees to go on a vacation or travel to different places as long as they’re getting their job done. 

And it does bring a fun twist to the nature of working in all honesty; but it’s impossible to feel the freeness of a holiday as long as work is there.

So, what kind of policies should companies follow for the holiday time of their employees? Should they re-define what’s having a holiday? Are there new doors opened? And the most important of them all, did the remote work model completely change the concept of holiday?

What We’ve Seen So Far? 

In the early stages of the pandemic, most of the companies have struggled with coming up with practical solutions for vacation needs of their employees. 

While remote working was a halfway holiday for some companies, most of them were aware of the fact that working from home was not equal to having a holiday. However, the solution was unclear.

One of the most common practices was applying the same policies before the pandemic for remote working employees. Therefore, although people were working remotely, the same rules in the office applied to them and the traditional way was to be followed for vacations.

Very few companies allowed their employees to travel to different places while working and didn’t consider it as a holiday. This kind of approach was under the practice of remote working and allowed employees a flexible environment. 

But then, the problems arose when employees asked for a separate holiday because they were already free to go wherever they wished. And it begged the question, how come it wasn’t a holiday?

Some big companies like LinkedIn and Google came up with a new practice called pop-up holidays and it was the practice of organizing spontaneous holidays for their employees within a short notice. 

Taking a few days off from work was certainly comforting for employees, however the spontaneity of this practice made it very difficult for employees to do actual holiday planning.

Two years down the road, most of the businesses have found their way of managing the holidays for their employees and pre-pandemic practices mostly remained. 

For remote workers, planning a holiday is a different practice from company to company but, it became clear that the flexibility that remote work provides doesn’t equal to having a holiday.

How Should It Be Moving Forward?

Remote working isn’t vacation, that much is clear now. Even though you have the freedom to travel during remote work, having a holiday should mean that you will not be working wherever you are. Just like how it was before the pandemic.

However, remote work is a very flexible model that there might be several ways to incorporate vacation into it. 

For starters, each employee has their own perception of having a holiday and companies can provide different holiday scenarios for them. For example, if your employee is okay with working as long as they have the opportunity to travel, maybe their holiday expectation will not be as much.

Also, employees should not view working remotely something close to a holiday as well. Although remote work provides a lot of flexibility on employees’ part, it doesn’t mean that the expected work will be any less than it was in the office. Therefore, employees should set their discipline accordingly as well.

Pop-up holidays can be a good alternative as long as there’s enough time for employees to get ready to. Each employee’s social status should be considered as well.

 While single people might prefer a flexible schedule as to their holiday planning, people with kids or other responsibilities might prefer a more planned approach from their companies.

In the end, the remote work model is changing the way people perceive what a holiday is. There are a lot of people who moved to another city or country while working remotely and even countries such as Barbados or Aruba provide temporary residency for remote workers. 

However, holiday has always been a way to get away from work stress and the remote work model should not mean anything different.



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