The pandemic has certainly impacted the way we work, shop and travel, but trends like the ‘workation’ could make up for any lost mobility. But what is it?
So, you thought that people learning to work remotely with Zoom, spells a reduction for future air travel? When it comes to business trips, you could be right. But it’s a little bit more complicated than that. The pandemic has given new life to what we might start to refer to as a workation.
It really isn’t a new idea. A workation is a vacation that you can take, without getting time off work. Obviously this can only happen if your work doesn’t depend on you being in a specific place. The idea is at least as old as WiFi. Hoteliers around the world know to expect the occasional agonizing query from new guests: “Is the WiFi good enough? I need it for my work”. I guess if you’re a literary author, workations could be older than the Internet for you.
What changed in the pandemic is how acceptable remote working has become, both from management and work colleagues. Previously, a ‘workation’ was a business trip that your company gives you, where you bring along your spouse or friends, and have some fun while you’re at it. Now, remote working is seen as a matter of efficiency and flexibility. What was once something only available to self-employed people, could now become a commonplace company perk.
The Pandemic Changes the Workation Concept
This still applies only to certain people, with certain jobs. It also has potential security implications, since you’ll be using your personal computer and hotel WiFi. But VPNs are becoming another normal thing, nowadays. Many companies have approved VPNs for their employees, for security reasons. Working from home has already shown their value, so applying them to your workation would be a natural progression.
The workation concept is poignant for the future of air travel. Many believe that remote working means less travel, as companies cut down on business trips. Others disagree. While remote meetings can facilitate day-to-day operations, a lot of business travel is done for other reasons. The pandemic may well have a greater impact in ‘normalizing’ day-to-day remote working. Summer demand for travel could be a precursor to this.
And as people demonstrate their ability to work from home, the practice can expand much further. Going on a family flight for a summer or winter break, while still working from 9 to 5, could really be a bigger effect on the aviation industry, after the pandemic, than any loss from business travel.
If this applies to you, just be careful with the background behind you, as you start your work meetings. A workation may be acceptable to your colleagues, but avoid having a beach and palm trees, visible behind you…