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The sneaky work trend that could get you fired

Aussies are jetting off without signing off in a new work trend that could cost you your job.

A composite image of a laptop showing someones work and a beautiful hotel in Bali.
Aussies have been jetting off for a holiday and taking their work with them. (Source: AAP)

Aussies love a good getaway and, with remote work being more commonplace, a growing number of employees are taking their job on holiday.

For many Aussies, the freedom to work remotely has been game-changing, but experts warn not keeping your boss in the loop could cost you.

Whether it’s at the office or at home, statistics say those with hybrid or remote work report greater happiness levels and are more productive than their in-office peers. Increased flexibility has also given rise to the ‘workcation’ - the ability to work while away from home.

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And the workcation is here to stay, according to CompareTravelInsurance.com.au managing director Natalie Ball.

“With revenge travel on the rise, more and more travellers are sneaking leisure into their business trips and blurring the lines between work and play,” Ball said.

“We’ve seen a shift towards workcations, for example, through a rise in longer trip durations and an increase in cover for high-value items such as laptops and electronics.”

And sure, by plugging in during work hours while enjoying a dip in the pool on evenings and the weekend, employees can enjoy the best of both worlds. But HR may not agree.

What is a ‘hush trip’?

By taking a hush trip, workers can travel and explore new locations, all while on the job and without telling their employer.

Whether it’s an extended long weekend - by ‘working’ Monday or Friday - or a few weeks away, the hush trip is meant to provide the perfect antidote to burnout while enhancing your mental and physical well-being.

Who’s taking a hush trip?

Nearly half of employees wouldn’t share their workcation plans with their employer, according to a recent poll by CompareTravelInsurance.com.au.

The survey revealed up to 48 per cent of remote workers would take a hush trip, while a further 22 per cent said they would only confess their remote-working travel plans if it was a requirement.

Ball said that, while a getaway could do wonders for workers, the hush trip had its risks.

“It’s clear from our survey that workers are keen to maximise their flexible working arrangements,” she said.

“Time away can certainly enrich and enhance one’s well-being. However, the fact that employees are not being upfront with their bosses can pose complications.”

What’s the downside of a ‘hush trip’?

Ball said keeping quiet about your travel plans may not seem like a big deal if you were getting your work done, but it could negatively impact your working relationships.

“If word gets out, the consequence of not sharing your location with your employer could sever trust between you and your manager,” Ball said.

“There may also be legal ramifications if employees work abroad without the consent of their boss and without travel insurance, the appropriate visa, or a work permit. Being honest and upfront with your boss is the simpler choice.”

There can also be security concerns if you are using a company-issued computer on an unsecured network.

Noel Allnutt, cyber security expert and managing director of Sekuro said these risks were indeed real.

“By its very nature, remote work moves system access and data outside of conventional enterprise perimeters,” Allnutt said.

“Travellers can unwittingly put an entire company’s security at risk if they haven’t adequately secured their devices.”

How to take a workcation without upsetting your boss

Ball said that, with work-from-home policies here to stay, workcations should be planned with intent.

“Travel is fun, and a change of scene can spark inspiration, innovation and increase productivity. On the other hand, the hush-trip phenomenon can indeed spark resentment and distrust in colleagues and higher-ups,” she said.

“If you are planning a workcation, we recommend that you be up front as most employers do not unreasonably deny time away.”

Ball also noted that, while there was still room for the traditional getaway, a workcation could be equally beneficial when everyone was on board.

“It’s important not to let workcations replace actual holidays, but if there is an opportunity for you to fulfil your professional duties whilst spending meaningful time with family and friends, talk to your manager.”

Tips for the ultimate workcation

1. Consider travel insurance

Even if you are only headed interstate, a domestic travel insurance policy could save you a headache should your laptop go missing or a weather event affect your travel plans.

2. Check your equipment

Make sure you have adequate IT support that can help should you have any technical issues. Consider security risks and a back-up plan should your Wi-Fi drop out.

3. Set a routine

Having a clear outline for each day is essential for making the most of your workcation. If you're overseas in a different time zone, make sure you adjust your schedule accordingly.

4. Take regular breaks

Ensure you’ve left some space in your schedule to get out and explore your surroundings. There’s no point in taking a workcation if you can’t enjoy the destination.

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