Everyone’s ‘Quiet Holidaying’ Now – But Should They Be?

Can you ever really switch off?

Photo by Armin Rimoldi / Pexels

‘Quiet holidaying’ seems to be the new trend that has captured the minds of Millennials and Gen Z.

Quiet holidaying is simply when employees take time off work without communicating it with their boss. One might question whether this is just another trend like ‘quiet quitting’ a few years ago or whether there is a deeper meaning behind it.

Are we beginning to see the toxic culture around taking some much-needed R&R and the office workarounds that are oh-so common these days?

Ok so let us set the scene, you have secured your private VPN, you have set your Zoom settings to blurred, and you have your trusty mouse mover by your side, you sip at your overpriced matcha (cheaper than Dublin though might I add) as you look over the beautiful city of Lisbon from your hotel room.

This kind of alternative traveling has become an enticing option for workers, especially the younger workforce, to combine travel and work. Although it may seem great being able to work from your hotel and then explore your new location in the evening, this ‘quiet holidaying’ has sparked the question: Why do we need to be sneaky about time off? and Why don’t we just take the annual leave we are entitled to?

According to a recent Harris Poll Survey conducted on the American workforce, 37% of Millennial workers admit to taking time off without asking their manager first. In the U.S 60% of workers are given more than ten paid days off a year (20 days in Europe). However, 78% of workers don’t take their maximum amount of paid annual leave.

Image via Pexels/ Antoni Shkraba

The Harris Poll found that the main barriers preventing employees from taking their holidays were “feeling guilty when taking time off” and the “fear of impacting their chance of a promotion or pay rise”. Other worrying facts found in the report were 76% of workers “wished that their workplace culture placed a stronger emphasis on the value of taking regular breaks and utilising paid time off” and 47% are “nervous about asking for time off”.

Libby Rodney, Chief Strategy Officer for the Harris Poll told CNBC how there is a “giant workaround culture at play” in the workplace. Millennials would rather secretly go away and schedule emails outside of work hours to appear they are going above and beyond for their employer, compared to Gen Z who are a lot more likely to be straightforward and campaign for a better work life balance.

Quiet holidaying has seen a significant rise since the Pandemic with a large portion of corporate employees working remotely or having hybrid positions. These positions give a lot more flexibility to workers but also require more trust from the companies allowing it. For legal reasons, some firms do not allow employees to work abroad or use public Wi-Fi to complete their work. So quiet vacationers could land themselves in some serious trouble if they are caught out.

Quiet holidaying also has its drawbacks. If employees are only taking so called working holidays are they ever really switching off? Often being deterred by the mountains of backlog they are faced with on the return of their annual leave, many Millennial and Gen Z workers find it difficult to completely disconnect. However, if your employer is flexible and you are one of the lucky few who can benefit from some quiet holidaying, there are plenty of places you can combine the art of work and travel.

From Bali to Porto, Nomadlist.com gives you plenty of options to work and travel. The site lists locations as well as the cost of living and most importantly the rating of the internet connection. With Millennials and Gen Z now making up a big portion of the workforce, there is little doubt that there will soon be a big shift in workplace culture as the new talent make themselves known.

Happy quiet holidaying folks!

Words by Olivia O’Dwyer