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From Work to Play: How to incorporate more bleisure into your life

Bleisure—the trend of adding vacation time to business travel—is on the rise. Find out how you can incorporate bleisure into your workplace.

Published on

March 27, 2023


There’s nothing like sunny weather to spark a desire for more work/life balance—more opportunities to combine business with leisure.

This could be why bleisure—the trend of adding vacation time to business travel—is on the rise. In fact, according to one U.S. survey, 89% of business travellers planned to do so.

But wait, what if you don’t travel for business? Turns out, you can still enjoy bleisure without ever getting on a plane. In this blog, you’ll read about the ways bleisure is evolving, how our team member took it to the next level and some of the ways employers can bring a bit of bleisure to their workplace.

What is bleisure?

Originally coined back in 2009 when growing numbers of work travellers began adding vacation time to their business trips, it has since evolved to reflect today’s workplace and the many changes introduced since the onset of the pandemic. Flexible work options and a growing desire for social connection have spurred workers to take the boardroom to the beach for a day, work from a friend’s house for the afternoon or head out on a hike over their lunch break. It’s all about making more space for joy in our day-to-day lives.

Bleisure in action: Crystal’s Canadian adventure

For Crystal Boudreau, a Senior Account Executive on our team, the switch to remote work in 2020 planted a seed that would lead to a 10,000 km bleisure road trip across Canada.

After two years of pandemic-induced isolation, Crystal and her husband began dreaming of a cross-Canada journey to reconnect with friends and family living in different provinces. The more they thought about it, the more doable it seemed and before they knew it, they had a plan.

Excited to pursue this adventure, Crystal got approval from her leader and got ready to pack up the car and hit the road. Our remote-by-choice work model enabled Crystal to kick off her journey westward without missing a beat. Although she may have missed sleeping in, especially the further west she travelled. To maintain her work schedule and stay in contact with clients and colleagues back in Ontario, she had to get used to getting up much earlier, but it was well worth it for her.

This cross-country road trip helped her find more balance in her life, increased her productivity, and changed her perspective at work. On the road, she was able to see beyond her local community and explore new possibilities—including prospective new clients to add to her national portfolio. And for the first time, she also had the opportunity to meet face-to-face with existing clients based in other provinces, helping strengthen her business relationships. With adventures awaiting her after work, she found herself getting more done each day. “I knew what time I needed to wrap up to be able to fit in activities after work,” she says. “It's like they say, when your plate is full you manage to make even more things happen.”

Curious about bleisure? Crystal’s advice is to start small and keep an open mind. You don’t need to plan a cross-country road trip; instead, extend your cottage vacation by adding a working week or keep it local by making plans after work to attend a community event. Most importantly, be open to the possibilities that bleisure can offer both you and your team.

Five tips to help employers navigate bleisure

As more employees look to find balance between their work and personal lives, creating a culture that supports bleisure is one way to stand out as an employer. For example, KPMG introduced a remote work and travel program that allows employees to work up to eight weeks from anywhere in Canada, or up to four weeks from pre-approved countries abroad. While this approach isn’t feasible for every employer—or for every role, it’s still possible to look for ways to help your team find more balance.

Here are a few tips to help you get started.

  1. Champion flexibility. A fully remote work environment isn’t necessary to foster bleisure, but flexibility is important. For some workplaces, this could mean introducing flexible work hours and extended lunch breaks to accommodate local outings like hikes or community events. For others, it might involve making short-term remote work allowances, so team members can add an extra week to their vacations. Be open to exploring new opportunities you can support.
  2. Foster a culture of trust. Historically, employee productivity has been measured by how many hours they spend at their desk. As we enter a new era of work, we’re seeing more employers focus on outcomes rather than hours. Like Crystal said, “My story shows what trust can bring to the lives of team members and organizations. I was able to try something different because my team trusted I was doing the work I needed to do.” By fostering a culture of trust, your employees will feel supported when approaching you with bleisure plans and ideas.
  3. Consider the organizational implications. For employees looking to work from different provinces or countries longer-term, be aware of how they define their chosen “Place of Residence.” If it is outside of your company’s main jurisdiction, there are a range of organizational implications, including taxation, payroll and employment standards to health and safety, benefits and more. For more information, read our blog summarizing considerations for employees working in Canada.
  4. Security. If any of your staff members are planning to work in another province or country, it’s important to assess how they will access your networks, systems and data. This may involve providing employees with secure remote access to corporate networks and encrypting sensitive data. Beyond systems and data, employers need to ensure that their employees are using secure communication channels when working remotely to protect sensitive data. If you provide remote work options, be sure to train your employees on best practices for secure communication.
  5. Define expectations. Whether you plan to introduce extended lunch hours, flexible schedules, or remote bleisure policies, it’s important to set expectations for work performance and communication. Set policies that establish guidelines for core working hours, deadlines and response times to minimize misunderstandings and maximize productivity. When expectations are clear and everyone is on the same page, your team will feel trusted and empowered to embrace bleisure.
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