A Bad Day With A Camera

Not a Hush Trip

The “hush trip” is one of the supposed perks of being a remote worker. My job went remote nearly two years before the pandemic arrived, but when it did, a bunch of other people jumped on my wagon. Unfortunately, some of them seem set on ruining a good thing — remote work — for the rest of us.

Remote worker, Holiday Inn Convention Centre Edmonton South, Edmonton, Alberta, 2024-05-09

The idea of hush trips is that you go somewhere to work that isn’t your home you normally work from, without telling your employer what you’re doing. A beach house. A rented condo in the mountains. A little hut beside the sea. A different country. You’re getting the work done so why would the employer care? Lots of reasons.

In the case of my job, my contract specifically says I am working remotely from Strathmore, Alberta. If I work from anywhere that is not Strathmore I had better have clearance from a manager, and in writing, because I will be in breach of my employment contract. I work in the insurance industry and people messing with contracts does not go over well here.

There are also tax problems. Your employer has to pay taxes where you work. Mine pays taxes to the Alberta government. It’s a problem if I’m working a lot of my time in British Columbia but the taxes are going to the wrong provincial government. There are other potential problems… What if I get injured at work? (e.g. exploding laptop battery.) Am I covered for that in BC?

The room, Holiday Inn Convention Centre Edmonton
South, Edmonton, Alberta, 2024-05-09
The view, Holiday Inn Convention Centre Edmonton South, Edmonton, Alberta, 2024-05-09

Anyhow, everyone I talked this week told me how jealous they were of me getting to work from a hotel in Edmonton instead of from my home. Uh, it wasn’t that great. The chair was uncomfortable, I was using my laptop with one small screen instead of my home setup with larger, dual screens, and the view (see above) wasn’t exactly great. Even the view out of my basement window at home is better that. There was the incovenience of having to check out early and work from the very noisy lobby, which was distracting.

And there was no espresso maker available to me.

I will admit that at some point I would like to travel around the province and work from an RV, and I will talk to my employer about it beforehand, but I am not going on hush trips at work. I don’t advise anyone else to, either. It’s unprofessional and just a flat-out bad idea.

My not so great remote work from Edmonton this week was cleared by my manager in advance, and in writing. I recommend that anyone else who is working remotely does the same. This is not a great economy to find oneself unemployed in.

These are cell phone images. The cameras you see piled in the corner? Just for show, apparently.

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© 2024 Sean D. McCormick

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