Are ‘Workcations’ the New Vacations?
The Harris Poll recently released its yearlong survey of life during the pandemic and uncovered a startling discovery — many Americans were opting for ‘workcations’ over traditional vacations.
As the pandemic unfolded, The Harris Poll began sending out weekly surveys to understand the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on Americans, particularly in regards to our societal priorities and new ways of living and working.
This poll found that more than half of all Americans (55%) who were asked to work remotely found they didn’t miss the office workspace as much as they thought they would. In fact, 67% of respondents noted that remote work allowed them to live a healthier lifestyle, and 41% found their relationships with their jobs were much more balanced.
On the downside, the rise of remote work over the last year has led to a significant blurring of the boundaries between job tasks and everyday life. The Harris Poll found that 74% of Americans polled would willingly take a ‘workcation.’
Workcations refer to working during your vacation, which has become much more prevalent and in some jobs, even expected. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, American workers now work 50% more than those in Germany, France and Italy, even though there’s no sign that the U.S. is more productive than these countries.
“The kind of work that more and more people do doesn’t fit neatly into time and place,” Michael Leiter, a professor of psychology at Acadia University said to Axios. “It’s not like you stop thinking about it when the clock hits 5pm.”
The pandemic has made using vacation days harder for some remote employees who are either trying to help keep their companies afloat or don’t feel like they can take time off without anywhere to go. According to the Harvard Business Review, the number of hours people work is “soaring” but work quality and the ability to focus on tasks is declining.
Workcations could be a new trend that many remote workers experience, which could lead to unhealthy work habits.
“It starts at the top,” Darren Murph, head of remote work at GitLab told Axios. “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.”
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