TLDR; yes. But let us explain why bleisure is becoming so popular.
When was the last time you were traveling for work and went beyond meeting rooms, or came back feeling absolutely refreshed? If you don’t remember, it hasn’t happened yet and you now need a different take to business travel. That’s where bleisure comes in and in this post, we’re talking about why industry giants are now embracing it.
What is bleisure and where did it come from?
A term that combines the words ‘business’ and ‘leisure’, bleisure describes travel that is prompted by business but is extended by leisure. In other words, it is business travel that nudges you to make the most out of the free time you have for leisure.
Now before you say it, bleisure is not an excuse to use a business trip for sightseeing. It only means taking advantages of the resources that your company and you have already invested in a trip.
Let’s take an example here. You’ve been working for 5 hours straight. So you take a break and step out for coffee. By the time you come back, you’re supercharged to work a few more hours because your mind is refreshed. That’s exactly why bleisure is gaining popularity for maintaining a work-life balance.
While bleisure was predicted by a trend analyst for British think tank The Future Laboratory in 2009, it has taken a while for it to take a foothold in the industry.
The reason? A lot of employees felt that going on vacation meant falling behind at work, resulting in forfeiting nearly 50% of their paid vacation. Out of those who did take a vacation, 60% were working while away.
Bleisure just takes the best out of both and combines them in a beautiful way.
Are companies really adopting bleisure?
Don’t go by predictions. The rise in bleisure trends has just been reinforced by travel brands.
Back in 2016, Airbnb alone saw 14,000 new companies every week signing up for their business travel services, including giants like Google. Fast forward to 2018 and Airbnb for Work has seen a 280% increase in companies using their platform.
Airbnb’s Regional Director of APAC, Julian Persaud, explained how this shift came about— with millennial business travelers.
“Particularly, millennial employees have higher expectations of how they spend their time and wanting to move away from traditional methods. They’re the ones knocking on the doors of their boss, saying, ‘hey we want to do this.’ ”
In the past year, Airbnb saw London, Paris, Los Angeles, New York, South Bay, Toronto, San Francisco, Boston, Sydney, and Washington become popular destinations for bleisure.
Simply put, yes, just like remote working, companies are adopting bleisure rapidly.
If you don’t believe us, take a look at tech giants like Google, Twitter, and Facebook. They are following the bleisure trend and nailing it already!
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But just like every trend, bleisure too has its own set of pros and cons – for both the employees and the company.
- Creates a better work-life balance for employees
- Demonstrates commitment to employees and boosts retention
- Happier employees result in higher productivity levels
- Experiencing local culture helps businesses bond better with partners and clients
- Can result in non-compliance and overblown expenses if not documented
- Requires end-to-end travel planning to implement policies
- Demands effective expense management
Adopting bleisure is much easier (and fun) than you thought!
It just requires a bit of planning and methodical approach before being implemented. Here are the key steps to get you there.
Create a bleisure policy
Considering how 72% of business travelers add leisure days to business trips, the very first thing you need to do is lower the risk of sending employees on business travel. Having a documented policy will help you prevent non-compliance and overblown expenses.
Here are questions that your bleisure policy should definitely layout and get answers to:
1. Do you want to encourage bleisure?
First things first, do you want to even encourage your employees to add bleisure travel to their itinerary or would you rather add a few terms and conditions to it?
For instance, you could incentivize bleisure and offer a personal day off for departments that optimize their budget targets. The gamification will keep your employees motivated and goal-oriented, doing better work.
2. Who is eligible for bleisure?
If you want to keep your employees motivated, go beyond just creating a policy for employee business travels. You can go on to define who can avail bleisure and who needs to work towards what to be able to do so.
For example, an employee is traveling a number of times in a year. Once a certain number of trips are completed, the company can repay the employee by covering the cost of their significant other once every six months or a year.
3. What information do you need?
If you’re letting employees extend corporate travel for leisure, remember to list down things you need to know for calculating deductible expenses.
For example, the number of days they want to extend the trip, who and how many people will they be sharing the booked room with, their rough itinerary if it includes visiting places close by, etc.
4. What is covered in your travel and expense policy (who is paying for what)?
Remember to clearly lay out what is covered and what is not covered in your employee travel policy. You don’t want to increase your overhead expenses for incorporating bleisure into a business trip.
For instance, you have sent your team for a two-days meetup. While the to and fro costs of travel in cabs are covered for the two days, you should clearly state that the next three days added for leisure are expenses to be borne by the employee.
5. What are the start and endpoints?
Another important aspect for your policy to cover are the starting and end dates – when does the business trip get over and when does the vacation start, and end. This impacts the insurance liability, shift planning at work and more.
A good idea is to ask your employees to submit the details in writing before the trip.
6. Who are the decision-makers?
Since it starts with a business trip, bleisure needs a sign off from the decision-makers – it could be the HR, the project manager or the CEO of the company. Lay out the steps clearly in order to let the employee get clearance in a timely manner and at the same time be able to notify the important stakeholders at work.
Once you have a documented policy in place, the next step is to let your employees know about it. The email should layout from when the policy is in place, give a quick summary of what the policy includes, link to the documented policy for further reading and encourage employees to come to you with questions if the need be.
On the flip side, as employees, you should let your team know about when you’re heading out for a business trip and the number of days you will be off work for leisure. Not sure how to craft an email? Check these examples by Mailbird.
Make shift planning easy
No matter what, bleisure does mean breaking your usual work routine. But it doesn’t just impact your work, your team has to work around your schedule as well. That’s where the need for effective shift planning comes into play.
With AttendanceBot you can do this with ease. The smart app plugs into your team chat – be it Slack or Microsoft Teams, and allows you to:
- Plan shifts in advance with a highly visual dashboard
- Keep track of employee check-in and absentee during these shifts, built into your work communication tool
- Reassign shifts without any hassle
- Set up automated reminders so that employees can be notified before their shift starts
- Track employee time quickly with auto-generated powerful timesheets based on these shifts
- Better shift planning, lesser roadblocks. Lesser roadblocks, faster growth and of course, more time for bleisure!
Is bleisure for you?
Of course, it is.
In times when the millennial workforce wants to be able to do more, learn on the go and still have their freedom to travel, the bleisure trend is the one thing that gives them all. And it’s not only for them.
When you embrace bleisure, you enable your employees and their families to win at work-life balance. At the same time, happier and motivated employees lead you to achieve your business goals faster. We like to call it the perfect win-win situation!
Ready to create a happier and productive work environment? We want to hear your bleisure stories!