As another year greets us, people around the world have started finessing their New Year’s resolutions. Here's one surprising resolution, reported by an AmEx Trendex travel trends poll conducted in October 2021: 52% of respondents have a desire to take more vacation time in 2022 than 2021.
But for those who want to get away, is travel likely? As more companies return to the office and flexibility dwindles, we’re left wondering how possible it will be for people to accomplish New Year’s resolutions that involve travel.
Let’s take a look at the likelihood of more travel being taken, how employees can balance their work and vacations and whether it's worth it to stay online while on the road.
Will people travel more often?
Although it’s true that more people are heading back to the office, it looks like remote work is here to stay. According to a September 2021 Gallup poll, 45% of full-time U.S. employees worked from home at least some of the time that month, a rate that's similar to the two months prior. An overwhelming majority of employees who work remotely to some degree want to retain this system, with 3 in 10 stating that they’re very likely to look for employment elsewhere if their employer mandates a full return to the office.
Increased flexibility with work makes it easier to travel — and relaxed border restrictions help pave the way for working long-distance. As vaccination rates increase and COVID-19 tests become easier to find, the ability for remote workers to hit the road at home and abroad is also growing.
Of course, not everyone can take part in this flexibility. Those whose careers rely on in-person interactions, such as health care workers, have far less ability to maintain a remote or hybrid work environment. In these cases, earning and using vacation time will be the key to getting out more often.
Not to mention, international travel restrictions in response to coronavirus variants can be reinstated quickly, making working remotely from abroad still a roll of the dice.
Balancing work and vacation
If your job allows you to work remotely, now may be the time to squeeze in some extra travel. However, learning to balance your vacation with your job isn’t always easy, and spending too much time on holiday can land you in hot water at work.
Instead, consider optimizing your work time to be as productive as possible while traveling. This means lugging your laptop along on travel days, where airport lounges and in-flight internet can allow you to work. Several different credit cards come with complimentary airport lounge access.
You can also get your computer ready in case the internet isn’t great: Download your documents to have offline access and pull up any pages you’ll need on your browser beforehand.
Sitting at a streetside cafe with your laptop may sound idyllic, but consider crowds, noise levels and other distractions while you work. A more suitable option may be “work from anywhere” packages offered by various hotel chains. Ranging from a day pass to multimonth stays, brands such as Hyatt and Marriott offer these specialized packages to those looking for a calmer work experience.
Joining a coworking space may also be a good idea. Organizations such as WeWork and Regus grant access to thousands of business locations around the world via membership plans. Prices vary, but you can expect strong, stable Wi-Fi and a place to spread out.
Finally, unplug during your days off. Working remotely can offer thrilling new ways to explore life, but it can also mean that you bring your work home with you. And although you may think this makes you a model employee, it doesn’t.
A 2016 Baylor University study found that failing to clock out mentally leads to greater burnout and less commitment to work. So when it’s time to turn off the computer, do it and don’t look back.
If you’re looking to travel more
Is your New Year’s resolution to take more vacations in 2022? If your work allows it, take advantage of remote work and increased flexibility to spend more time away from home. Maximize your remote work days by logging in from airport lounges, specialized hotel rooms or even on board your flight.
If your job requires in-person interaction, you’ll have less flexibility to travel, but make sure to take your vacation days. You’ve earned them, after all.
One last thing to note, no matter your job: Unplug during your time off. Doing so makes you a better employee and reduces burnout. And whose employer will be upset about that?