Stay-Cay? Go Away!

By Robert Goldman

April 2, 2020 5 min read

It's easy to count the joys of working from home.

The calculation becomes more difficult when it comes to the joys of vacationing at home.

Personally, I count only one: You're not working. But for slackers like thee and me — workforce warriors born with superpowers that allow us to appear like we are working and get paid like we are working when we are actually just goofing off — vacations are kryptonite.

Even before we were sent home to work, vacations were problematic.

Vacation Problem No. 1 is asking for time off. Any interaction with your manager opens you up to all sorts of embarrassing questions, like, "What was your name again?" and, "Do you work here?"

Vacation Problem No. 2 arrives if your manager quickly acquiesces to a vacation. This could mean you have failed to make yourself appear irreplaceable. Since you actually could be replaced by an Echo Dot and a coat rack, you never want to bring that uncomfortable fact to life.

Vacation Problem No. 3 arises when leave for vacation, and, as result, your department works better than it does while you were there, quietly gumming up the works. Chances are you'll return to find your photo of Kitty J. Fluffypants, the ragged remains of your dracaena (which was on life-support when you left) and the Hummel figurines that decorated your desk all packed up in a box, waiting for you at reception.

Sad to say, these vacation risk factors do not go away when you work at home. In fact, an entirely new problem arises: You now have to vacation at home as well.

The home vacation, charmingly called a "staycation," was the subject of my column last week. The response to my hints and tips for making the most of a stay-cay has been deafening, and I want to thank both people who wrote, especially Ellen in HR. (No, Ellen, I didn't take home the softball trophy the company team won in 2018, and, FYI, no pawn shop will lend more than $1.25 on the thing.)

I based my column on a column titled "The Completely Correct Guide to Vacationing at Home" by Natalie B. Compton in The Washington Post. It was Compton's idea to interview "hotel-industry insiders" for ideas on how to improve your stay-cay by turning your home into a hotel.

I only had the time, the space and the stomach to discuss two of the ideas that came up, so let's return for another stay at Hotel You.

— Role-play hotel service

The idea here is simple. If you are social distancing at home with another person, and you are still talking to each other, the experts suggest you "take turns reenacting hotel service."

On one night, you could leave a chocolate truffle on your partner's pillow. On the next night, your partner, who hates themselves for eating constantly since confinement and desperately wants to lose weight, could pour a cup of hot chocolate on your pillow, moments before you lay your head down.

Talk about luxury.

Another way to recreate the hotel experience is to "stock a tray with drinks and snacks to re-create a minibar experience." I love this idea, but to make it feel truly authentic, be sure to price the items reasonably. A reasonable hotel price list:

A can of soda — $6.75

A small candy bar — $12.55

A 1-ounce bottle of Old Floormat scotch — $27.99

As your only guest, you'll appreciate the convenience of these treats. You'll also make a pile of money.

— Sleep luxuriously

For some people, a "vacation can be an opportunity to relax and refresh. Getting good sleep is a huge part of that."

For people who believe that the best sleep comes during working hours, when you're actually getting paid to sleep, the idea of using vacation time for this purpose is enough to give you insomnia.

The experts recommend you "channel wellness-resort sleep by creating a ritual around going to bed." Recommended rituals include "lighting candles, practicing yoga, meditating or reading a book."

Considering the stressful world in which we now all live, you may decide you want more rigorous rituals. I suggest you use the totally luxurious, totally relaxing Stanley Hotel in Stephen King's "The Shining" as a template for your home hotel.

This hotel did offer some unusual amenities to its guests, including floods of blood in the elevators and aerobic romps through snow-covered mazes while being chased by an ax-swinging maniac.

On second thought, maybe you should stick to the truffles.

Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at [email protected] To find out more about Bob Goldman and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at

Photo credit: Olichel at Pixabay

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