“Workcation” – will this become the norm?

We are now several years post-pandemic, and it seems remote working, at least in part, is here to stay. Employees, however, are taking things one step further and last summer, we saw a growing trend of workers interested in working remotely from a holiday property, either in the UK or abroad. We started to see the increasing popularity of the ‘workcation’ where employees work remotely in their location of choice, combining work and leisure. Will we see this trend continue throughout 2024?

There are many reasons why employees are choosing to stray from conventional nine to five office work, not least the ‘workcation’ concept allows employees to save on annual leave days and maximise their time away with family and friends. It seems like an attractive opportunity if work deadlines can still be met, and productivity remains consistent. But will employers welcome this type of working?

It is only really effective if employees can fully perform their duties when working remotely. There is obviously the concern that productivity will reduce if employees are not fully focused on their work when the beach is just a few steps away. Different time zones could also be an issue if the employee works in a customer facing role or needs to be available between certain times of the day in the UK. What happens if the employee wants to work from the US or Australia?

There will also need to be consideration given to internet connection as it will often be too late to rectify any connectivity issues by the time the employee has arrived at their destination. In this scenario, employers will therefore need a plan B – does this result in unpaid leave for the employee? Employers may wish to consider introducing a formal policy on working away from their usual home location if the employer is happy for employees to do this on a temporary basis.

This type of arrangement could also create divisions within the workforce and potentially unintentional discrimination. If some employees can work remotely whereas other roles dictate the employee must be office-based, is it fair that some can benefit from a temporary change in location and save their annual leave?

Employers would also need to be sure work demands can be met and productivity is not lost. There will obviously be less (or no) opportunity for face-to-face meetings if the employee is working remotely. Employers will need to consider this and what impact this may have on client relationships. While the concept of a “workcation” is an attractive one for the employee, it does need some serious thought from employers before allowing employees to combine work and holidays.

Our next piece in this mini-series will consider the employment and immigration law aspects of this type of arrangement.


This information is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given. Please contact us for specific advice on your circumstances. © Shoosmiths LLP 2024.



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