The bleisure trend – blending work obligations with personal getaways – has become a hot trend in 2022.
In fact, 89% of global business travellers have indicated that they wanted to add a private holiday to their business trips over the next few months, according to the American Hotel & Lodging Association’s 2022 State of the Hotel Industry Report.
According to Oz Desai, GM Corporate Traveller, we’re seeing a similar trend in South Africa. “Companies have started to introduce more flexible work and travel policies. This means employees have more freedom to add a few days’ bleisure to their work trip or even plan a workcation. Whereas before companies would ‘consider’ bleisure trips, we see that they are now encouraging it and proactively offering it as an employee perk. Not only is it an important shift in terms of employee wellbeing but it’s becoming increasingly important in terms of attracting – and keeping – the right talent,” he says.
The Bleisure Guide:
Finding the right bleisure formula can take a bit of reflection. After all, you’ll need to find the right balance between work and play.
Desai shares five important tips for planning the perfect bleisure getaway:
1. Business first
Although it’s easy to get carried away by planning the ‘fun’ part of your holiday, never forget the main objective of your trip. Make sure you do the work, prepare for your meetings, and maintain your professionalism.
2. Get the balancing act right
Is it better to take a few days before your work obligations or tag on a few days after your work obligations are done and dusted?
The answer to this question will depend on the context. Although it’s usually advised to first work, then play, this is not always the case. If you’re travelling to meet with a new client for a project that will start straight away, you may want to take a few days’ leisure and catch your breath before the hard work kicks off.
3. Make sure you’re covered
In a world where health and security concerns are top of mind, your company has a legal and moral duty of care to keep you safe.
But before you dust off your scuba gear, you should know there are limits to the company’s responsibility, especially when you’re adding leisure days to your business trip. Your company travel policy should outline your obligations and the permittable activities included in any bleisure trips. It needs to say what activities are off-limits for business travellers in as much detail as possible.
4. Determine who will foot the bill
Make sure the company is aware you are planning to take some leisure days, and that all sides are clear about who is paying for what. It is best to be completely open and upfront about the expenses involved and the expectations about who is footing the bill. This will include issues of travel insurance and S&T credits.
It is very likely that business travellers will want to stay in the same place for their leisure add-on, so the travel agent or travel manager can ask the accommodation establishment to provide an incentive for the extended stay – either a discount or complementary services or meals.
5. Get the timing just right
If you can squeeze your business trip in between a public holiday and weekend, you can easily get three days of traveling in a foreign country without losing a single paid holiday day.
“2022 will see the corporate nomad revolution take off. After all, bleisure or workcation trips are the perfect way to satisfy the needs of employees to meet with clients face-to-face but also to unplug and see the world,” concludes Desai.