Two strategies to vacation without taking PTO

Getting time off is an important need to maintain a work-life balance and these two tactics can be quite handy.
People seen walking on the beach during the sunset at San...
People seen walking on the beach during the sunset at San... / SOPA Images/GettyImages

The COVID-19 global pandemic shook many of the foundations that were central to society. One of those was the idea that employees needed to be in the office from 9-5, five days a week. With remote work becoming a bigger benefit and draw for staffers, leveraging that remote work for vacation experiences is a common practice as well. When planned right, an employee can head out on a vacation, while working and limiting how much PTO is used, giving them another tool towards true “work-life balance.”

Let’s say you’re an East Coast employee, but you want to travel out to the West Coast to get in some great weather and beach fun this summer. While one option would be to take off some time from work, what if you configured your work schedule to be online during the “regular” office hours as your East Coast colleagues? That means if your day typically starts at 9 a.m. EST, you’d have to be online by 6 a.m. PST.

Don’t let those numbers throw you off, however. When the office closes at 5 p.m. EST, it will be 2 p.m. on the West Coast, giving you much more time to enjoy your day and the great weather as you see fit. Configuring your work schedule to fit the hours of home base is one tactic that many employees with remote work are using to get the most out of their earned PTO. This step allows you to be away, without having to use a chunk of your earned time off.

The challenge is negotiating with your employer the ability to work a certain number of days remotely each year. Some employers put a cap on the number of days you can work from a different state, while others do not allow it at all. The same is true for working overseas. This requires further discussion with your boss to set up an option that works for you and should also come up during negotiations to take the position.

There’s another, riskier trend that is also creeping its way into the heads of remote workers. That is known as the “hush trip.” This is when remote workers go to different locations and work from there without informing their bosses. This is entirely different and can lead to repercussions if this falls outside of company policy.

Pulling off the hush trip gives you another opportunity to get away from the office for both business and leisure travel. But if you get caught, there could be trouble. Especially as some employers look for ways to drive staffers back into the office on a full-time basis.

Employees shouldn’t have to work the system in order to find a way to enjoy their earned time off and maintain some type of mental health balance. But that is the world that capitalism has pushed upon us. If you get the benefit of remote work, perhaps one of these tactics will allow you to get away with time to spare.