The economy is hot. The labor market is tight. Wages are rising. Great time to be an employee, right? Actually, Gallup found that in 2016 only 33% of employees were actively engaged at their workplace. The rest were either not engaged or worse, actively disengaged. As much as we want to check out of work once we walk out of the doors, smartphones keep us plugged in and work follows us everywhere we go. Some of us call it the “travel bug.”
So we know we’re always connected, but what does it even mean to actually be engaged in the workplace and how does this affect our lives out of work? It’s a term we have all started using and we all uniquely define what it means to be ‘engaged’. Does being engaged at work mean your head is down at the keyboard, focused for the full 8-hour shift? Is being engaged being allowed to have your dog next to you in your cubicle?
We all get in our work “funks”, those days (weeks?) where productivity seems to grind to a halt, where you do just enough to get by. A bad day here and there is to be expected, but if a company finds its employees consistently disengaged, it’s going to struggle to remain financially viable. Likewise, prolonged periods of disengagement can crush an employee’s career. That promotion that was once on the horizon may soon be out-of-reach. So who is at fault here? The employer for creating a mundane environment or the employee for being disengaged or having unsatisfied wanderlust? The truth is it doesn’t matter and both have a part to play in the subpar work environment.
Employers tend to give employees perks and benefits that benefit their families health and wellness but what are they doing to advance their employee’s careers? Are they investing in their employees professional development proactively? Are they changing up the scenery in the office to create a dynamic lifestyle beyond working from home one day a week? The other side of the coin is whether the employees are doing enough to invest in themselves both personally and professionally?
That’s why Time and Place (TAP) International is offering a truly out-of-the-box solution for increasing employee engagement. Through TAP, employers can send employees on a three month long international talent development program, making 1 month stops in Paris (France), Capetown (S. Africa), and Bangkok (Thailand).
Former attorney and CEO of TAP Mike Jones Jr. noted, “The monotony of the repetitive schedule can quickly lead to burnout; same job, same people, same city, same culture day after day. How do we fix that? One thing we realized is for a lot of people, a change of surroundings can be catalyst that gets them out of their normal routine and jumpstarts their career and personal progression.”
With TAP, each employee will be provided with a premium living space and access to a top-notch co-working space at each stop. Office supplies, fax machines, printers, and all the necessary amenities are provided on-demand. TAP also provides free access to premium online learning tools as a resource to compliment all of the professional coaching integrated in the program.
TAP puts on a ton of professional development and networking events in the program. Indeed, these opportunities form the crux of TAP. From personal career coaches to bringing in top business leaders and politicians, the TAP team goes above and beyond to ensure TAP GloPros (global professionals as TAP calls them) get access and opportunities it would take the normal person years to access. For example, various countries’ US Embassy hosts TAP & their GoPros for events and dinners which is quite exclusive to say the least. It’s not just about travel and relaxation, but also learning about the world, business cultures and developing deep connections with other bright minds.
Employees continue to work for their employer, albeit remotely. This means that work goes on for the sponsoring firm. One might think that productivity would drop during such a long workation. In fact, many employers and employees who have embraced the mobile remote working trend have reported that productivity has increased both during and after the trips.
Some call this sort of program a “workxploration” which of course, “work” is only half of it. The other half is the “exploration” itself. TAP taps employees in to three of the most beautiful and prominent cities in the world: Paris, Cape Town, and Bangkok. By hopping across continents, employees can develop a holistic global perspective on cultures and differing economies while they are on the job. Try calling that mundane.
Each city is a regional and indeed global economic and cultural hub, so the business scenes are bustling and opportunities are plentiful.
It’s easy to get tied down. You get comfortable in your home or condo, you learn all the local haunts, you settle in. Yet a change of scenery can go a long way towards breaking the monotony of life.
What’s more, TAP founders Mike Jones and Ryan O’Sullivan realized that with the right resources, many people can enjoy a traveling career. Most of us accomplish the majority of our work via our computers, email, phone calls and text messages. Much of the work being done in offices in New York City or San Francisco can be accomplished in Bangkok or Cape Town.
So why not get out and explore? There can be some challenges to traveling. You have to find a place to live, and you’re being thrown into a new city and culture. How can you adjust? Programs like TAP make those challenges all but moot and provide a VIP experience with gaining access to exclusive places with no wait times. Things usually reserved for experienced and connected locals in-the-know are made available to you by TAP.
Should I Bother Traveling?
So let’s say you have the resources you need in order to travel. You’ve listed your apartment on Airbnb and turned it into a revenue stream, your employer has given you the green light, and you’ve got the suitcases, they just need to be packed. So should you go? That’s a personal question which requires a personal answer, but in many cases the answer is simply yes. For some people, there is a lot of anxiety involved when committing to travel around length of trip and the expectation of your entire life being put on pause. TAP makes this experience more relaxing because your professional life is not put hold, it is put on the fast track.
The world has already gone through a tremendous period of globalization, and the rate of change is likely to accelerate. Taking an extended professional remote work trip could be a lifetime opportunity. At the very least, you’ll see new places and try new things. You’ll likely develop new skills or meet lifelong friends.
Simply traveling can imbue skills and talents. But with programs like TAP, learning and networking experiences are built right in. This means you do not have to rely on lucky breaks. Either way, if you get the chance to go on a TAP trip, you should closely consider the opportunity.
It’s not just employees who are interested in professional development travel programs either. Employers know that productivity is king and that keeping talented employees is more difficult than ever before. Allowing and even funding remote work and world traveling is an effective way to keep employees motivated.