Work From Holiday: The New Compromise of Work From Home

If 2020 was the year we learned how to work from home, 2021 is a year where not only are employees and customers continuing to do business from their basements, but a new factor has been added in: WFH, or “Work From Holiday.” 

Last year, in the middle of the pandemic, we noticed many of our neighbors weren’t at home for weeks at a time.  Knowing many had kids in school, we found it kind of curious, and when we saw them weeks (or months) later, we asked them where they had been.  The answer surprised us, although it shouldn’t have.  They told us if they were working from home, and their kids were attending school remotely, why should they hang around Michigan in the winter and instead, headed for warmer areas of the country and continued on without missing a beat.

Let’s face it, after a year where we’ve been stuck at home, Americans are chomping at the bit to get out of town, hit the beach, go on a cruise, open up their cottage, or simply go somewhere. A study just released by World Nomads found that a whopping two-thirds (66%) of Americans plan on taking a trip this summer. And it’s a safe bet many will apply the WFH skills they learned in 2020, and apply them so they can continue to work while on holiday.

We’ve even witnessed this trend right in our own office. Our team of developers have taken the opportunity to spend some time completing their work outside of Michigan this past year. To learn more about the “work from holiday” experience, we reached out to one of our Android developers, Kyle, who shared his own insights with us:

What was your motivation for “work from holiday”?

I do all my work from a laptop, so why not work from anywhere I want to? It’s a good way to escape and explore. Everything is mobile these days, so we should be mobile too.

What was the biggest challenge, if any?

Sometimes communication was a little tricky, but we were already communicating with Slack before the pandemic, so not much changed there. Also, using Zoom for video calls was helpful.

What tools became essential to you while working from holiday?

Definitely Zoom for video calls. Other than that we were already set to work remotely with a VPN, Slack, and Git/SVN.

What helped you with productivity during this time?

Working in a space where I control noise/interaction helped. No distractions or interruptions. When I did want to listen to something I used Spotify for music or podcasts.

Will you continue to travel and work from holiday?

I’ll probably do it sparingly. If I’m running out of paid time off and need a vacation then yes I will. When I’m on vacation, I prefer to be on vacation and not have to worry about work. It’s convenient to be able to do so if necessary though.

You might have noticed a trend while reading through Kyle’s answers above. Some of his most valuable tools (and productivity boosters) were mobile apps. These apps were key to keeping team members connected with each other and ensured workflow remained uninterrupted during time away.

So where does this leave other businesses looking to keep disruptions minimal as the workforce is out of town?

The answer is simple: become as mobile as your employees by putting your company in the palm of their hands with a mobile app.  A well-designed app can keep customers in touch with their project, explore inventory, place orders, and manage the relationship from the beach or the bedroom.  For management, a mobile app can manage staff communication, enhance project management, and more.

work from holiday

The days of having a team gather for coffee and doughnuts at the same time and location each morning simply isn’t going to happen in the near future for many companies.  So the solution is to adapt the way your company communicates and be present in people’s lives, no matter where they are.

And for those employees interested in working from holiday, Kyle has some advice:

Make sure you’ll be near a good WiFi signal, if you have an internet connection you’re pretty much set. Find a comfortable space, throw on some music, and work away.

Originally published by Jacobs Media