Sshhh! Don’t tell your boss: How hush trips are becoming the new workcation

Staycations? Too much drama. Workcations? Too much paper work. Hush trips? Everybody is doing it!

13 February 2024 - 12:46
By Thango Ntwasa
Remote working opens the doors to secret holidays your boss might not know about.
Image: imagehitasia/123RF Remote working opens the doors to secret holidays your boss might not know about.

Hush trips, also known as employee nomading, have caused quite a fuss for some time, thanks to how controversial they are. If you’ve ever pined over off-peak flights and accommodation prices, you’ve probably lusted for the opportunity to work and play without the fear of clocking in for your daily work tasks.

Thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, workcations became the solution to much-needed holiday trips for those who needed a fresh environment to work in while still on duty. The travel trend became popular as it allowed several people in different work structures to benefit from a balanced work life.

Hush trips, on the other hand, are a little more risqué. With some work environments lacking the opportunities to have workcations, some remote workers have turned to taking secret trips without informing their bosses or colleagues. A recent study shared that 56% of nomadic worker bees are planning to take hush trips. This was especially the case for one employee, who told CNBC she took several hush trips due to her boss being in a different region.

While her workplace has a 30-day remote working policy, the hassle behind the paperwork made her feel that she would “rather not go through the hassle of applying and getting approvals, which can take weeks”.

On a global scale, remote working has also seen people migrating to different areas. This has boomed locally, with many flocking to make Cape Town their new home. Reverse emigration is being driven by rising cost of living and those seeking improved lifestyle, which is also in some locations pushing up property prices in SA.

Studies published in Business Times suggest that South Africans are flying back in droves as they leave other countries, especially the UK, which was becoming a hot spot for local expats. The piece also shares that millionaires in the UK are running to South Africa, an element that has seen a rise in the cost of living.

As many workers become concerned with their happiness in workplaces, so do HR departments, who are trying to avoid herding cats with the complications of employees jet-setting on office hours. It becomes difficult for said departments as workplace policies are not updated in time for employees who choose to go on unsanctioned workcations.

Especially when there are no performance metrics or regular check-ins to assist employers in these situations. While many might assume Gen Z is most likely to lean into this “rebellious” trend, the HR Grapevine shares that Millenials and Gen X are leading the charge towards hush trips. 

Insurance group Bitner Henry suggests that workcations and hush trips should stand as a reminder for workplaces to consider the changing landscape of work environments that need to focus more on helping employees achieve a healthy work-life balance and still improve productivity.

“It’s crucial for employers to establish clear guidelines, trust their employees and ensure the necessary technical infrastructure is in place. By doing so, both employers and employees can reap the benefits of workcations, fostering a more productive and satisfied workforce in the long run.”

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