Anybody who has not too long ago booked a aircraft ticket or lodge room is aware of that the demand for and price of journey skyrocketed after many COVID-19 restrictions had been lifted. Mix this with the rise in distant work, and you’ve got the proper motivation for workers to merge their enterprise and leisure journeys, which is usually known as “bleisure” journey. Now’s the time to weigh the professionals and cons of permitting staff to mix work and play and take into account creating a transparent coverage on what kind of journey is permissible on firm time.
Defining the Newest Developments
Maybe your staff are tacking on a couple of trip days on the finish of a piece convention in Orlando. Perhaps they’re working remotely for per week from Puerto Rico and studying to surf of their off time. However what in the event that they’re secretly sampling the digital nomad life in Portugal whilst you suppose they’re working from dwelling in Denver? Employers ought to acknowledge the next widespread journey traits which can be anticipated to proceed by 2023:
Bleisure journey. The portmanteau could also be new, however the idea has been round for a very long time. This time period is used when an worker takes a scheduled enterprise journey and both brings family and friends alongside for the experience or extends the journey for some private break day. Usually, the employer covers the airfare, in addition to the lodging for the workdays, and the worker covers any added prices.
Workcation. This buzzword has been popping up extra since many staff shifted to distant or hybrid work. Fairly than including some paid break day to a enterprise journey, staff who take a workcation proceed doing their distant jobs from a great location that they discover of their free time.
Hush journey. This is the place the waters get a bit murky. A hush journey is rather like a workcation, besides the worker would not inform their employer that they are touring in any respect. The employee may be attempting out the digital nomad life for per week or two overseas or escaping a chilly winter at dwelling for some sunshine, however typically it is non permanent, and an worker who takes a hush journey is not essentially touring overseas full time.
Weighing the Burdens and Advantages
When updating office journey insurance policies, employers ought to begin by contemplating their message and the way such journey choices might or might not match into their firm tradition.
Such insurance policies may even have a constructive impression on retention efforts. Staff could also be extra motivated to stick with an organization that extends this belief and offers them accountability to handle their work and free time. Moreover, these insurance policies can ease the burden on staff who wish to go to relations who dwell far-off.
Figuring out Authorized Dangers
Employers might want to work by a number of potential compliance points, together with the next:
- Well being and security. Whether or not an worker is working from a most important office, a house workplace or someplace else solely, employers nonetheless have an obligation to make sure a protected and wholesome work surroundings.
- Wage and hour points. Will each exempt and non-exempt staff be allowed to mix work and trip? Mixing enterprise and leisure journey is extra sophisticated for non-exempt staff, and you will have to rigorously assessment the relevant wage and hour legal guidelines and set clear parameters for such staff.
- Payroll and tax compliance. Employers want to contemplate the tax implications when staff work from one other state or a international nation. Whereas a quick enterprise journey with a couple of trip days tacked on the tip won’t elevate any purple flags, longer workcations or hush journeys may create some points.
- Knowledge safety. Will staff be working from airports and prepare stations? Will they entry public WiFi? Will they be sharing lodging with fellow vacationers? Employers ought to guarantee staff know the best way to shield their company-issued gear and confidential data from theft, cyber-attacks and viruses.
- Legal responsibility insurance coverage. Does what you are promoting legal responsibility insurance coverage cowl international journey? You may have to assessment your protection and guarantee your journey coverage aligns with it.
- Written insurance policies. To make sure consistency, you may wish to develop a written journey coverage and clearly talk it with staff. You might have considered trying staff to signal an settlement earlier than their journey begins.
What Coverage Matches Your Office Tradition?
Maybe you are snug with bleisure journey and can enable staff so as to add trip days on an current journey, however you are not snug with a workcation that blurs the strains between work and play. Perhaps you absolutely help such journey and wish to encourage or sponsor a workcation. Be clear in your coverage and take into account the next further questions:
- Will you enable international journey or solely home?
- Will you restrict the time zones for journey?
- Will you determine clear working hours to separate firm time and leisure time?
- Will there be penalties for taking a hush journey? How will you reply if you happen to uncover an worker is working from someplace aside from their designated location?
- Who will cowl the price of journey? For instance, will you cowl all bills for a bleisure journey or ask staff to trace and pay for bills incurred on their leisure time? Will staff be required to pay the distinction in airfare if their prolonged return date ends in the next fare?
- Have you ever set clear efficiency expectations? How will you measure productiveness? What actions will you are taking if staff aren’t assembly their targets?
- Have you ever outlined eligibility necessities? For instance, are exempt and non-exempt staff eligible to journey? Should sure efficiency targets be reached previous to eligibility?
- Are your insurance policies honest and utilized persistently? Be clear about your causes for denying a journey request and guarantee you aren’t unintentionally discriminating in opposition to staff based mostly on a protected attribute, corresponding to gender, race, incapacity or age.
- Do you’ve gotten a course of for addressing emergencies, diseases, and accidents?
- Will you restrict the period of time staff can spend per journey or every year on bleisure journey or workcations?
Workcations, bleisure journey, and hush journeys are gaining recognition as staff regulate to new office norms and distant work preparations. Whether or not or not you enable, help or encourage such journey, it is a good suggestion to set clear expectations for workers and work by the potential points with skilled authorized counsel.
Courtney Legal guidelines is an legal professional in Fisher Phillips’ Memphis, Nashville, and Gulfport workplaces. Emily Litzinger is an legal professional with Fisher Phillips in Louisville, Ky. Lisa Nagele-Piazza, SHRM-SCPis authorized content material counsel for Fisher Phillips in Atlanta. © 2023. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.