Remote Work in the Summer Time
No matter how much we love our work, we have to admit that we often dream about the next summer holidays – an oasis of freedom and total detachment. On average, we’re talking about two blessed weeks per employee. Automatically, we come to an uncomfortable question: what about before and after? How do we keep the good vibes at work in the summer months, especially when our vacation has not yet begun or has just ended? Companies that encourage remote work can respond surprisingly effectively to this challenge.
Your coveted place in the holiday grid
When summer is in full swing, holidays produce a special change of pace in all organizations. Most of us have experienced it frequently while working 9 to 5 at the office. Although when we talk about holidays, we talk about days off, they also involve a certain amount of overwork. We need to cover the absence of our colleagues during their vacation. Just before our own vacation, we’re striving to leave everything in order. After coming back, we need to quickly get up to date with what’s happened in the meantime.
If we are among the first on the holiday grid, by mid-July we already feel like we need another long vacation, which is rarely possible. If we book our leave towards the end of August, summer turns into a long, hot wait. If we are among those who leave in the middle of the summer, we probably don’t experience these extremes so oppressively, but we join the overall opinion anyway: two weeks of freedom are not enough when everything around us calls for having fun.
With the flexibility to work from anywhere, remote allows us to leave behind these summer angsts. In addition to the coveted two weeks of total freedom, remote offers us daily portions of smaller freedoms, which, combined, can make our summer long, happy and productive.
Summer time in remote fashion
Among the most interesting articles I’ve read about remote work, Mike Elgan’s has easily remained in my mind because it starts with an original personal example. A digital nomad, Mike has been working remotely long before 2020 imposed the mass spread of this concept. In 2006 he made a special trip with his family: he visited five countries in six weeks, during which time he did not take a vacation, neither did he tell his clients or collaborators that he was away. He continued to work throughout the journey, taking care to have regular access to an internet network. He explored Mayan ruins, ancient cities and forests in the Guatemalan jungle and managed to respond efficiently to work requests, brilliantly respecting the deadlines of the projects in which he was involved. His experiment was a success: no one realized he was out of the country or that something had changed in the flow of his work.
5 countries, 6 weeks, 0 days off from work. Maybe this is not something all of us would venture into, and probably even the more adventurous wouldn’t do it every year. But how does working with a sea view from time to time sound to you? Mornings at the beach, hot mid-days working from a quiet place, evenings back at the beach? You can replace your destination according to your preferences: the mountains, a countryside or other cities. It’s just a matter of flexibility, both in the organization’s policies and in the way each employee manages his work and time.
Refreshment by small steps
Obviously, we are not talking about replacing vacations with the permission to work from the beach, nor about being less performant during remote summer days. However, having the choice of doing our jobs from anywhere allows us to use work time and space creatively. We can plan short trips easily, avoid crowded destinations on weekends and take more breaks from the office during summer. Basically, by working remotely we can keep our batteries constantly charged, without going through the pre- or after- rest leave exhaustion.
Here are some tips to effectively combine relaxation and remote work:
- First of all, make sure that you will have access to a good internet connection and that you are equipped with all the gadgets or devices you need (laptop, cables, adapters, external batteries etc.).
- You will also need to clearly delineate your work time and space. For example, a nice café, a hotel room while the rest of the family is out or even a place in a coworking space if you are transiting a major city.
- For a few minutes, you may feel distracted by the new environment. Organize your work well, stick to your schedule and focus on your tasks.
- Set firm limits for your free time. After all, the point is to combine travel, work and relaxation.
When our organization supports remote work, we have flexibility throughout the whole year. But perhaps the need for flexible work and freedom is most acutely felt in the summer months, when two weeks of total detachment are, most often, insufficient.
How about you? Where would you like to work from during this summer?