How Remote Workers Vacation
How do you enjoy a vacation when your entire life is travel?
Remote workers have heard it a thousand times. When they explain their lifestyle to others, the response is often, “Wow, it must be nice to have all of that time off to travel.”
If you are a remote worker, this statement can be pretty frustrating. It may even feel as though it invalidates all of the hard work you actually do. (It doesn’t help that even main news sources make the same mistake, such as this article from NBC News called “Permanent Vacation: Digital Nomads Work from the Road.”)
Although a remote worker who is typing on their laptop in a cafe in Paris, a hotel in Buenos Aires or a garden courtyard in Bangkok might look like they are on a permanent vacation – they certainly aren’t.
In fact, freelancers often work long hours to meet deadlines, or to invest in their own projects such as building a blog, an online course or writing a book. Remote freelancers do a LOT of work! The traveling required isn’t always glamorous either. Sometimes weeks on the road are more exhausting than the work itself!
Of course, one of the best thing about being a freelancer is that when you work overtime you are investing in growing your own business, rather than lining the pockets of your boss or a large company.
Let’s take a closer look at the life of a traveling remote worker and how they can stop to take a true break while on the road.
The Remote Work Life Is Not a Permanent Vacation
Remote workers tend to freelance and travel at the the same time. Just because they are in an exotic location, however, it doesn’t mean they are not hard at work.
The routine of a remote worker is not like that of a tourist.
On a typical day, tourists might sleep in late, relax by the pool, drink a few cocktails and work on their tan. They might even go on a tour or enjoy an activity before having dinner.
Traveling remote workers, on the other hand, typically spend the better part of their day working. Sure, they might stop to enjoy a meal, go for a walk or relax in the evening – but their life is pretty rinse and repeat.. Their work days are not too different from someone who works in a more conventional job.
Remote workers will enjoy activities in the destination they are working from, but their days off tend to be spaced out – just like the days of any office worker. (Of course, most digital nomads have a good sense of work life balance, as that is often the reason why they chose this lifestyle in the first place. They have learned to manage the art of getting the necessary work done as well as enjoying their location.)
Do Remote Workers Even Need a Vacation?
You might be wondering if remote workers even need to take a vacation. After all, they are traveling full time, so they may not even need a break? Wrong. We all need a break from time to time!
Taking time out to rest and recharge is incredibly good for you. This is true whether you work in a conventional office position or as a traveling remote worker.
Taking a break from work means that you return to your job feeling refreshed, inspired and ready to take on new challenges again. You might not even realize how tired and unproductive you have become until you come back from a vacation. This is when you’ll find yourself able to complete the same amount of work as usual in much less time.
Some of the mental and physical health benefits of a vacation for remote workers include:
- Improvements in sleep
- Increased creativity
- Reduced stress
- Better perspective
- Improved productivity
- Enhanced family relationships
- Improved morale
In fact, there have been several studies that have highlighted the link between cardiovascular health and vacations. One study found that men who were at risk for heart disease and took no vacations for 5 consecutive years increased their likelihood of a heart attack by 30% compared to those who vacationed for at least one week of every year.
Unfortunately, many American workers don’t take the vacation time they deserve. In fact, according to research data Americans are taking fewer vacations than ever before. The average American worker used to take three weeks off per year in 2000, but in 2015 took just slightly more than a two week break.
There is a stigma within American work culture that people who take their vacation don’t get ahead. The pressure to be productive and competitive in the work environment can make people feel uncomfortable and guilty about the idea of doing ‘nothing’ or relaxing.
It can also be very difficult for freelancers and traveling remote workers to take time off. The freedom of freelance work can be a double edged sword. Yes, you can work whenever you want. However, that often means that it’s easy for the lines between work and free time to blur. Thus, many freelancers find themselves working late into the evenings or on the weekends.
It takes discipline to quit work for the day and not end up checking your business email after you have clocked out.
So How Do Remote Workers Take a Break?
When the lines between work and play are blurred and paid vacation doesn’t exist, how do you actually take a vacation as a remote freelancer? Many traveling remote workers find it difficult to disconnect from work for several days, due to guilt and the pressure of demanding clients.
When remote workers take a vacation, it’s important for them to find a way to completely unwind and disconnect from work. Many like to take vacations in destinations off the beaten track, where they simply don’t have phone reception and are forced to take a break from work emails. (Of course, it’s important to set an email auto-responder to explain where you are so that clients don’t think you are ignoring their emails.)
Also, remote freelancers must be responsible for making up the work time and covering their own absence. For example, those who provide deliverables to their clients sometimes hustle a little bit more before they leave to make up for the time they spend away. A digital nomad freelance writer who delivers one article per week for a client might write an extra article in advance so that they can take a week off seamlessly with no interruption. It takes planning.
Sometimes, traveling remote workers can outsource or delegate their work to others while they go off the grid for a while. This helps their businesses run smoothly while they are gone, but it’s not always easy to do.
It’s a good idea to time your vacation to correspond with the times of the year when freelance work is usually slow. This way, there are fewer demands and less stress.
So, in conclusion, remote workers are not on permanent vacation. They need a break as much, if not more, than any other kind of worker – and should take one regularly to rest and recharge!
Are you a traveling remote worker?
If so, we’d love to know how you manage your vacation time. Also, if you need a break from your job, contact us to get you set-up with a stress-free vacation full of VIP perks and catered to your needs. We’re happy to help!
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