Why work in a grey window-less office, when you could work from a beach bar, and sunbathe on your lunch break?
It’s no secret that the pandemic has changed the way we view work.
More job hunters than ever are looking for remote working opportunities, and in a recent ONS survey, 84% of workers who had to work from home due to the pandemic, said they planned to have a hybrid working set up.
So with the standard nine to five in the office becoming a thing of the past, it’s no surprise that ‘hush trips’ are on the rise.
The phrase, coined by Glassdoor, is a catch-all term to describe an employee working remotely in a different location than where their employer thinks they are.
While the company usually allows flexible work, here, the worker is actively hiding where they are working from and/or pretending to be in a location close to work.
Jill Cotton, careers trend expert at Glassdoor, said: ‘The pandemic proved that employees don’t have to be physically present to be productive and for companies to be successful.
‘And with labour shortages impacting nearly every industry, workers have the leverage to demand greater flexibility and autonomy over how and where they work.
‘The pandemic also sped up technology adoption across many businesses, enabling more roles to work remotely.’
And it’s not hard to see the benefits of getting a change of scene. ‘Switching up how and where you work can be a great way of keeping a job fresh and exciting, allowing you to bring your best self to your employer,’ says Jill. ‘It can also be a great way to keep your mental health in check.’
But while taking a hush trip but seem like a no brainer, it could damage your working relationships.
‘Workplace transparency is a hallmark of a great company,’ says Jill. ‘Embracing openness is proven to breed long-term success as trust between employees and employers is established, morale is kept high, and this increases employee happiness and productivity.
‘Hush trips can break the trust companies install in their employees and feed into ‘productivity paranoia’ – the belief that workers are less productive when they are not in the office.’
Top tips for a successful hush trip
- Confirm you can legally work from another country.
- Make sure you have all you need with you to work successfully away from home (ie. stable wi-fi).
- You might be in a different location, but you still have a job to do. Quickly get into a new work routine to ensure you don’t lapse on any responsibilities. And just like at home, ensure a separation between work and personal life.
- Think differently about how you work – if you are on a different time zone you might need to work early mornings/late evenings to fit in with other team members.
It’s also important to note that working whilst on holiday can blur your work life balance. Just because you can go away, and still work, it doesn’t mean you should.
Jill says: ‘A 2022 Glassdoor survey found that nearly half of employees (47%) find it impossible to disconnect from work while on holiday, with heavy workloads and financial worries the key concerns. We also saw discussion amongst employees around burnout reaching record levels last year.
‘Using your holiday allocation in full each year and actively disengaging from work while out of the office is essential to achieving a good balance between your personal and work lives.’
Then there’s the legal side of things. In some cases, it’s not as simple as just logging in from wherever you are. Working abroad may also carry with it tax and visa implications – for both you and your employer.
‘Also, your company might be unable to support you to the same levels out of the country, and the risk of safety and cybersecurity concerns also increased,’ says Jill.
Still keen on taking a hush trip? It’s wise to think about why you need to keep it quiet.
‘Will the hush trip go against company guidelines or is it that you fear your boss won’t trust you to work from a different location?’ asks Jill.
‘Being transparent isn’t always easy but often it’s the right thing to do. If your company allows flexible working and being somewhere other than home doesn’t impact your output or have financial implications for the company, bring up the conversation with your line manager.
‘If the workplace is steeped in respect and trust, you might just get an answer you are happy with.’
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