In addition to on-site yoga classes and ergonomic desks, companies may have a new wellness initiative in store that gives workers annual remote working hours.
Remote working has proven popular with many workers. According to a survey by the Pew Research Center, 54% of employees say they want to continue working from home after the pandemic has ended.
But that probably won’t happen. Far more companies are expected to switch to hybrid work arrangements this year to get the best of both work environments – flexibility with an office environment focus, less loneliness and less commuting.
However, a hybrid schedule of three days in the office and two days out of the office does not allow for any of the greatest benefits of the work-from-home program: the extended workcation.
Workcations – and their lesser-known cousin, the wellness sabbatical – are blurring the lines between work and vacation. You are sure to work, but with a better view. Research shows that it can be a therapeutic change that complements the regular vacation time rather than replaces it.
Is annual remote working the norm?
“A block of time is an interesting concept,” said Lynne Cazaly, a workplace specialist and author of “Agile-ish: How to Create a Culture of Agility.”
She said the idea might be attractive during certain times of the year (summer, yes, but also during snowy winters), school holidays, and other “difficult times of the year”.
If you don’t offer these evolving advantages, there is a competitive disadvantage.
Workplace specialist and speaker
Short duration of remote working would also allow employers to compete with companies that are introducing perpetual flexible working arrangements, Cazaly said.
“Many leading indicator companies – like Spotify, Twitter, Square, Unilever and Atlassian – have declared that their employees can work from home forever,” she told CNBC. “Corporations … know that there is a growing war for talent … if you don’t offer these evolving perks, there is a competitive disadvantage.”
Just take a look at google. In an email to employees last week, CEO Sundar Pichai announced that employees would now have four “work-from-anywhere” weeks (of two) to give “everyone more flexibility on summer and vacation travel.” to offer.
Less pandemic-style problems
The problems many employees have had while working from home over the past year – such as isolation and lack of social interaction with coworkers – are less likely to be encountered with short-term stays away from the office.
In fact, workers who use time to travel can improve their mental well-being instead of harming it, said Susie Ellis, CEO of the Global Wellness Institute.
“Academics have actually studied the wellbeing effects of sabbaticals, whether it’s the traditional one-year academic variant or a sabbatical lasting a month or more,” she said. “Research shows [they] Decrease people’s stress, increase general well-being, and help people be more creative. “
Google announced last week that 60% of its workforce will be working in the office three days a week, 20% in new office locations and 20% from home.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Employers’ concerns can also be manageable. According to a survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers, 68% of executives said that employees should be in the office at least three days a week to maintain the corporate culture once the pandemic has subsided. For employees following this schedule, one month of remote work equals the requirement of 12 additional external days per year.
Additionally, moving to hybrid schedules could make the old way of working (with everyone in the office) and pandemic-style work (with everyone online) a thing of the past, said Cazaly, adding that a mix of “people here”, there and everywhere it is where it is “now”.
Will it work for your industry?
While some industries cannot simply work from home – retail, construction, entertainment, and healthcare to name a few – Pew’s research has shown that the majority of workers in these industries:
- Information and technology: 84%
- Banking, finance, accounting, real estate, or insurance: 84%
- Education: 59%
- professional, scientific and technical services: 59%
Yet another obstacle awaits you in these sectors – the buy-in of corporate governance. From Facebook to Google, tech industries are embracing the flexible work trend, while the titans of banking have begun publicly rejecting it.
JPMorgan Chase Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon said last week he wasn’t a fan of the work-from-home trend, while Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon described it as “a divergence we’re as soon as possible to correct “.
Jaya Dass, managing director of the Randstad recruitment agency in Singapore and Malaysia, warns employees to perform a “reality check” before requesting remote work opportunities.
“It is not that easy to collaborate and discover work results in a remote environment as it sounds,” she said. “If your manager has not performed as expected over the past year, he may be waiting for you to return to the office to assess whether remote work is the variable factor affecting your work.”
At the same time, Dass noted that it would be inadvisable for companies to unnecessarily reject annual employee remote work requests, as otherwise “they could run the risk of losing their trust and loyalty to the company”.
Tips for annual remote work
1. Don’t wait
When is the right time to ask about annual remote work? “Now, now, now,” Cazaly said, adding that some companies may resort to pre-Covid labor practices over time.
2. Do your research
Check your employee handbook or speak to someone in human resources to see if your company already has a remote working policy, said Amanda Augustine, career coach with resume writing service TopResume.
“If there is no such directive, don’t let that stop you,” she said. “Instead, look online for messages from other organizations – ideally competitors, companies with similar traits, or that your CEO admires – that have indicated that at least some of their employees will be allowed to continue teleworking after the pandemic.”
3. Be strategic
Take your manager’s personality into account when deciding how to start the conversation.
“If your boss prefers direct people, schedule a meeting with a clear goal: ‘I want to schedule a time with you to discuss extending my remote work,'” Augustine said.
Use video chat to request annual remote work hours to assess your employer’s body language, advises career coach Amanda Augustine.
Alistair Berg | DigitalVision | Getty Images
If your manager is less direct, bring up the topic in your next one-on-one interview. Either way, make sure the conversation is over video and not over the phone, Augustine said.
“That way, you can observe your manager’s body language and assess whether your proposal is well received,” she said.
4. Equip yourself with data
Through research, explain how remote working can be a win-win situation for you and your employer.
“Studies have shown that companies offering work flexibility options can reduce employee burnout, increase retention rates, decrease absenteeism, improve productivity, and improve overall work morale,” said Augustine.
Cazaly agrees, “Organizations know that happier employees stay more engaged, productive, and longer.”
5. Show that you are a hard worker
Although remote working has shown productivity gains over the past year, companies can decline short-term remote requests if they fear employees will not be working efficiently away from the office, Cazaly said. To combat this, show that you have a great work ethic and are committed to your role, she said.
Augustine calls this sharing “Your Professional Profits”. Remind your boss of the goals you’ve met or exceeded since working from home, she said.
6. Prepare for objections
Eliminate possible objections from your employer before bringing your case forward. Upgrade your WiFi, buy a new router, fix lights for video calls, and buy noise-canceling headphones, advised Augustine.
Then reassure your managers that you will be available during your absence and that you will not compromise on quality work, said Dass of Randstad.
If companies don’t move, try another option
If employers decline a one-month request, ask to combine two weeks of remote work with two weeks of vacation time.
Kristen Graff, a Singapore-based sales and marketing director, negotiated with her employer to spend a month in Hawaii this summer, with time evenly split between vacation and remote work.
“I know I’m probably the exception, but I didn’t want a four-week vacation,” Graff said, adding that one of the things she wanted most was “a change in the environment … from a productivity standpoint Inspiration “was. “”
Graff said she would be interested in an annual period of remote work, but she believes the idea “really depends on the person”.
“It takes a lot of self-motivation,” she said. “You have to work or you will ruin it for everyone.”