Work at Home? OK! Vacation at Home? Oh, No!

By Robert Goldman

March 26, 2020 5 min read

You probably don't have all the vacation time you would like, but you definitely look forward to the number of days you have.

It's an accomplishment, really. Getting your managers to let you take time off takes a lot of hard work. It also requires engaging in some tense negotiations with your implacable workplace enemy, the HR department, but you did it, and now your biggest vacation problem is deciding where to go. Will it be a jet-setting stay in Singapore or a beachy bacchanal in Bermuda? Will you go crunchy with a hike in the high country or revert to your basic slug nature and immerse yourself in the hot pool of a cushy spa?

Well, it doesn't really matter now, does it?

Because you ain't going nowhere.

Though the health nightmare with which we are struggling is terrible in almost every way, you have to admit it was good news when management mandated that you work from home. But what about your vacation? If you have to work at home, do you have to vacation at home as well?

'Fraid so.

Even if you had, in the past, experienced the meager thrills of a "staycation," this is a different kettle of fish. You chose to have a stay-cay. This time around, you're forced to.

Fortunately, we have Natalie B. Compton, the writer of "The Completely Correct Guide to Vacationing at Home" in The Washington Post.

It is Compton's opinion that the best way to vacation at home is to recreate the atmosphere of a hotel in your home. Toward this end, she "interviewed hotel-industry insiders" to delineate what is required to create that intoxicating ambience of hotel living.

I'm no insider, but if she had asked me, I would have suggested that all you have to do is start charging yourself $20 a night for your Wi-Fi. Alas, I wasn't asked, but I can provide two insider tips. You can check in right here:

Tip No. 1: "'Marie Kondo' your home."

In a hotel you get "a fresh, clean room, free of clutter and chaos," Compton writes, before sagely adding, "This is not always the case at home."

Let's be honest. When it comes to your home, this is never the case. That's why hotel experts suggest "walking around your home with a critical eye to figure out why certain spaces aren't working."

Any space with you in it is definitely not working, but for the rest of the place, it may make sense to "remove the things that are causing a disjointed feeling. That may be getting rid of a weird rug, competing art, or just general clutter and mess."

The rug, which was knit by Betsy Ross, and the art, those annoying Picasso scribbles appraised at $150K on "Antiques Roadshow," can definitely go, but I wouldn't touch your "general clutter and mess." It has taken years of sloppiness and sloth to create that "I'm living in a flop house" feeling, and you don't want to lose it.

The experts also remind us that "one of the great treats of a hotel room is that the closet is empty and you're starting from scratch." This is true. You may simply have to tell the IT guy from work he will have to move out.

Tip No. 2: "Embrace of the power of scent."

There is certainly an unmistaken scent to hotel rooms. I'd call it a delicate balance of air freshener and carpet cleaner, with undertones of cheap cigars from the last person in the room, who was supposed to not smoke but did anyway.

The hotel insiders recommend you start your scent search by thinking about the feel you're trying to create. To implement that feel, you'll "buy items online like candles, incense or essential oils." Remember that "bright scents will be better for focusing on work, while lavender, chamomile and bergamot will be soothing when you want to quiet your stress."

Of course, if your local Wiccan home-delivery service is out of bergamot, you can recreate the intoxicating scent of your junior high gym locker and the warm memories of the many power wedgies you received from your adoring classmates. No need to buy anything online. Simply keep adding to the pile of sweaty T-shirts and dirty socks you've carefully curated and stuck under your bed.

That's a scent no hotel room can equal, and it will make every day of your staycation completely magical, at least until the health inspectors come and shut you down.

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 www.creators.com.

Photo credit: tookapic at Pixabay

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