I live in Las Vegas, so I follow the comings and goings of the hospitality industry like those of you in small towns follow your top employers. It didn’t come as a huge surprise to me to find this article making the rounds here. At first, I laughed, because “Viva Las Office” is the most Vegas thing imaginable. How can you work from home from the party capital of the US if you don’t live here? Then I realized it was brilliant for a couple of reasons. Here’s why I’m impressed.
The hospitality industry needs to examine what they do and how to stay alive.
First, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many businesses to either examine their business models or simply fade from sight. Restaurants, bars, hotels and airlines are struggling to stay afloat when people are staying home, not only for economic reasons, but for health and social reasons as well. And we don’t have an end date in sight when things will miraculously go back to “normal.” Whatever that was. I forget.
Here are some of the business reasons this promotion makes sense:
- A little-noticed piece of this article is the tie-in with a small jet service called JSX. People flying to take advantage of this service will be on small planes, not giant, tightly-packed, packed flying petri-dishes full of people who don’t play well with others. Many people (at least those who can afford it) will feel that’s a safer option.
- Las Vegas has more hotel rooms than any other city in the country, and during the week a huge percentage of them are empty and not generating any income at all. The weekends are fairly busy, at least in the hotels that are open, but the weekdays are bleak. While those taking advantage of this offer may not be partying in the night clubs or high-rolling in casinos, the discounted rates will at least stop the financial bleeding for many properties.
- It’s forcing companies to re-examine what a hotel room is for. Even before the pandemic, many hotels were improving the work-from-your-room capabilities for business travelers. Ergonomic desk chairs, better desks and more reliable internet made the party capital of the world a good choice for business meetings, when people would meet during the day but still need to conduct business. Most big hotels already have “business areas,” entire floors separate from all the partiers. What you have are small, private, relatively pleasant places you can be alone if you want to.
That explains why the hotels are getting creative, like all good companies are being forced to do. But why would anyone want to take advantage of this offer? There are actually a lot of good reasons.
Does working remotely mean working from home?
Before the pandemic lock-in, there was a lot of talk about “third places.” These are coffee shops, shared workspaces like WeSpace, and rent-by-the-day offices. As I mentioned, hotel rooms are becoming more business-friendly all the time. We’re all working from home because we have been pretty much forced by circumstances to do so. But these other options are appealing for a number of reasons, and Las Vegas is actually (assuming you have the self-discipline to avoid distractions) a good choice.
- The lack of social interaction is starting to wear dangerously thin. While we spend a lot of time talking about people dealing with kids and spouses while trying to work, there are a lot of people for whom this has been a time of social isolation. Therapists and mental health workers are reporting high incidences of depression, domestic problems, and substance abuse. Getting out of your home office (assuming you even have one) and interacting for a while with other people is necessary even for the most introverted of us.
- Low-cost alternatives can help convince us to take more time for ourselves. A lot of people have time off accumulated and don’t feel right taking time off when they’re only going to be home anyway. This can help.
- Changing locations is good for creativity and general well-being. A change of location is often stimulating to long-term thinking and creativity. It doesn’t have to be Las Vegas of course. A day or two at the lake, a staycation in your city, or just taking your computer to Starbucks for the day can do wonders for your attitude and productivity.
- The weather in Las Vegas is sunny. In fact, it’s too sunny in August, but if you’re in an air-conditioned hotel room that’s barely noticeable. When the pandemic hit, it was mid-March—heading towards spring in many locations. It will soon start turning to fall, and people with Seasonal Affective Disorder, or just those who feel like they’ve been kept indoors while the weather was nice, are going to start feeling the effects. Going somewhere the sun shines will be helpful to many people.
While the idea of going to a place such as Las Vegas to be productive might seem laughable, it actually makes a lot of sense. It’s just another example of how the “New Normal” will be more like “The New Abnormal,” for a long time, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still do good work.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Co-Founder and Product Line Manager
Wayne Turmel is the co-founder and Product Line Manager for the Remote Leadership Institute. For twenty years he’s been obsessed with helping managers communicate more effectively with their teams, bosses and customers. Wayne is the author of several books that demystify communicating through technology including Meet Like You Mean It – a Leader’s Guide to Painless & Productive Virtual Meetings, 10 Steps to Successful Virtual Presentations and 6 Weeks to a Great Webinar. His work appears frequently in Management-Issues.com.
Wayne, along with Kevin Eikenberry, has co-authored the definitive book on leading remotely, The Long-Distance Leader: Rules for Remarkable Remote Leadership. You can pre-order Kevin and Wayne’s follow-up book, The Long-Distance Teammate, now.
I agree that working remotely should include far=flung places and not just one’s abode. My employer has chosen to include a requirement that remote workers be within two hours of their on-site assignment location. Seems unnecessary if employer already agrees job functions can be performed effectively at home. However, I still can make use of staycation offers.