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The Upsurge of “work-cation” in a Pandemic


The Covid-19 pandemic has popularized “work-cations” — going on a vacation, but working while there.

Just because work-from-anywhere means we can work on vacation doesn’t mean we should. Experts warn that the pandemic’s upending of work-life balance could drastically worsen burnout.

The kind of work that more and more people do doesn’t fit neatly into time and place. It’s not like you stop thinking about it when the clock hits 5pm. Pandemic-era remote work has only accelerated the uncoupling of work from time and location, and that means the line between working and not working is increasingly blurry. And when work can happen anytime and anywhere, boundaries aren’t automatically set.

It’s not just on individual workers to prioritize vacations, experts say. Companies and managers need to encourage their employees to unplug — especially during times of economic strife like the pandemic, when workers may be worried about job security and are reluctant to take time off.

Strategies include implementing company-wide days off and encouraging workers to take time off for mental health even if they don’t have trips planned.

It starts at the top. Disconnecting from work has to be celebrated at the highest level to set the tone for everyone else in the organization to recognize that recharging is supported and encouraged.

Vacations improve your potential to contribute at work. When you stop thinking about work, it just opens your mind in a whole different way. That distancing is part of how you recover your energy. You can’t reap any of those benefits on a work-cation.

Remote work may seem more enticing with a beach view, but is a work-cation worth the risks?