HR headache | Workers are taking secret 'hush holidays' - what are they?

Workers are taking secret 'hush holidays' - what are they?

According to the ONS, around 44% of workers currently do their jobs remotely. This usually means working from either a home office, a dining room table, or a coffee shop.

However, an emerging trend is gaining traction, as employees identify the ability to work remotely from any location they choose, with or without the permission of their employer. Often this may be a holiday destination.

This rising phenomenon, dubbed a ‘hush trip’, poses a fresh set of challenges for HR in the ethics of truly ‘working from anywhere’, maintaining productivity and engagement levels, and ensuring a healthy work-life balance.

According to recent studies, an increasing number of employees are embracing this novel approach, capitalising on the flexibility offered by remote work arrangements. According to data published by the Evening Standard, 56% of adults say they’re very or extremely likely to go on a hush trip this year, while 36% of Gen-X and Millennials already have one planned.

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It’s easy to see the appeal for workers; if remote working proves that professional obligations can be carried out anywhere – providing an internet connection is available – then the allure of picturesque beaches, tranquil mountainsides, and cultural landmarks can tempt many who are frustrated with working from the same location day-in-day-out.

Workers, armed with laptops and Wi-Fi connections, are now trading in their makeshift home offices for beachside bungalows or cosy cabins. However, this arrangement comes with its own unique set of considerations.

HR professionals must navigate various aspects to ensure a smooth transition to this work-from-holiday paradigm, if such trips are to be embraced or tolerated. Here are key areas HR should focus on:

Policy and guidelines

HR departments must either decide if these ‘hush holidays’ are punishable offences, or revisit and update existing remote work policies to address the implications of employees choosing to work from holiday locations.

Establishing clear guidelines regarding appropriate destinations, duration, and expectations will help maintain transparency and set boundaries while safeguarding the organisation's interests, and the interests of staff.

Productivity and accountability

With workers enjoying the scenic backdrop of a holiday destination, ensuring productivity and accountability becomes paramount. HR professionals could explore remote monitoring tools, performance metrics, and regular check-ins to foster a results-driven culture, balancing autonomy with the need for supervision.

Communication and collaboration

Maintaining seamless communication and collaboration channels is crucial in a dispersed workforce.

HR teams should evaluate their digital platforms that enable real-time interactions, virtual meetings, and shared document collaboration, to bridge geographical gaps and foster team cohesion.

Legal and compliance

A key headache for HR is ensuring that compliance with local laws, tax regulations, and labour standards in various holiday destinations is followed through.

Collaboration with legal experts and consultants can assist in navigating the legal intricacies and potential implications of remote work from international locations.

Realistically, with the proliferation of remote working, it’s inevitable that businesses may find themselves facing issues with the locations of their workers.

However, getting ahead of the policy implications of employees working from foreign countries will save innumerable headaches further down the line.

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