Remote work has grown in popularity in recent years, especially since the beginning of the pandemic. It has become an essential component of many organizations’ operations and a primary component in attracting and retaining top talent. Employees are experimenting with new ways to integrate work and personal life as remote work expands. One such emerging trend is the concept of “hush trips.”

What are hush trips? In general, they are brief getaways taken by remote employees to get away from home while bringing their work along. Rather than going through bureaucratic procedures, submitting forms, and seeking permission from their managers to work in a different place, they’re acting without prior approval.

Workers may choose to work from different remote locations for a few days or a week at their destination, but sometimes they’ll stay for longer. With options for backgrounds during virtual calls, and most communications occurring online, employees may manage to pull off their trip without their coworkers and employer catching on.

Hush trips can provide a reprieve for individuals whose employers are strict about vacation days. However, most employers frown upon the notion of secrecy and prefer their staff work only from their home offices or an approved location. It seems that some employees may wonder if it makes a difference whether they disclose their location if their work is getting done.

Taking a hush trip may seem exciting but consider these potential risks and problems that may arise.

What are the issues that could arise from hush trips?

#1. It is all too easy for hush trips to cause friction between employees. When one employee takes advantage of the generous work-from-home policies and goes on a hush trip, the other employees may find out and feel that their colleague is not taking their responsibilities seriously or not pulling their weight. This can easily lead to conflict and tension between employees. Therefore, managers should consider introducing policies regarding working locations to ensure all employees are aware of the expectations of remote work.

#2. A breakdown in trust between employees and managers can detrimentally impact the team dynamic. When information is concealed from leaders, they often discover it later, which creates a sense of deception. This can foster mistrust between you and your employer and undermine unity. To prevent the trust from deteriorating within the team, it is best to avoid a hush trip all together and be open and honest about your plans.

#3. Many employers are skeptical of employees’ productivity when working remotely outside their homes since there can be all sorts of distractions. The loss of structure and greater flexibility may cause a worker to be less productive. This rate of productivity may decrease even further if the employee is away on a trip. Plus, in the event of an emergency meeting or problem, it is not always easy to find a solution if an individual is in transit. This can cause major problems for the employee who is away, other team members and the employer. The potential losses in productivity and quick problem-solving capabilities might outweigh the advantages of allowing employees to work remotely at all.

Of course, there are many employees whose productivity wouldn’t skip a beat while working remotely from a vacation home or rental property for an extended period of time! This makes company policy and decision-making even more complicated for the business owner and the management team.

#4. Finally, there are internet security and tax implications to consider. When your business is conducted online, you must ensure that your data and devices are secure from cyber-attacks. You also need to be aware of any tax implications that may arise when working remotely for long periods, as there may be different rules for taxation depending on the country in which you are based. Before committing to a long-term remote working arrangement, it is essential to do your research and understand any potential financial and legal implications.

How can businesses better support their employees who prefer to travel?

If employees are unable or unwilling to disclose their travel plans to their employer, it may indicate a mismatch between company policies and employee requirements. The necessity of keeping this information secret can have a considerable emotional impact on employees and weaken the trust between the company and its team. Instead, companies could recognize and even encourage distant remote work by creating guidelines that support it, thus eliminating the need for hush trips altogether. This would not only help build trust, but it would also protect the company from potential tax and legal challenges.

There is no disputing the value of taking time off. Stepping away from the usual routine and changing surroundings can have significant advantages. It can spark fresh ideas, boost productivity, uplift morale, and create an environment for higher-quality work. In addition, taking time away can enhance your employees’ work-life balance and let them effectively handle personal and professional obligations. However, we recommend communicating your plans to do so.

In today’s fast-paced society, prioritizing self-care and taking breaks have become more vital than ever. Vacations and time off serve as a reset button for employees, enabling them to return to work with a sense of rejuvenation and renewed energy. This, in turn, can boost motivation and foster better collaboration among colleagues. Taking breaks has positive implications for both physical and mental well-being. By dedicating time to relax and recharge, your employees can enhance their focus, enthusiasm, and creativity when they return to work.

Over to you

Have you or someone you work with considered taking a hush trip? Or perhaps you’ve already taken one? Would you have felt more comfortable if you didn’t have to keep your location hush-hush?

Distant remote work can be a terrific way for your employees to enjoy new locales, avoid burnout, and improve their mental health as long as it does not interfere with job performance. To avoid hush trips, consider discussing these options with your employees. As employers, you can help by ensuring your staff is aware of any safety and security measures and ensure they are taking all necessary precautions. That way, they can make the most of their time away without compromising their performance at work.

Written by: Jennifer Hanford, MYOB Blogger