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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The pandemic has popularized "workcations" — going on a vacation, but working while there.

Why it matters: Just because work-from-anywhere means we can work on vacation doesn't mean we should. Experts warn that the pandemic's upending of work-life balance could drastically worsen burnout in the U.S.

What's happening: 74% of Americans who are working from home said they’d consider taking a workcation, per Harris Poll data reported by Axios.

"The kind of work that more and more people do doesn’t fit neatly into time and place," says Michael Leiter, a professor of psychology at Acadia University. "It’s not like you stop thinking about it when the clock hits 5pm."

  • Pandemic-era remote work has only accelerated the uncoupling of work from time and location, and that means the line between working and not working is increasingly blurry.
  • And when work can happen anytime and anywhere, boundaries aren't automatically set. "You have to make that happen," Leiter says.

The big picture: Americans have always underused vacation days, and we're working even longer days during the pandemic.

  • American workers also work 50% more than those in Germany, France and Italy, per a National Bureau of Economic Research paper. But "there's no sign that the U.S. is more productive because of that," Leiter says. "It’s not doing us any good to work all the time."
  • In fact, Stanford researchers found that workplace stress costs the U.S. around $190 billion a year.

It's not just on individual workers to prioritize vacations, experts say. Companies and managers need to encourage their employees to unplug — especially during times of economic strife like the pandemic, when workers may be worried about job security and are reluctant to take time off.

  • Strategies include implementing company-wide days off and encouraging workers to take time off for mental health even if they don't have trips planned, Sabina Nawaz, a CEO coach and consultant, writes in the Harvard Business Review.
  • "It starts at the top," says Darren Murph, head of remote work at GitLab, the world's largest all-remote company. "GitLab executives visibly take time off and will share in public channels. Disconnecting from work has to be celebrated at the highest level to set the tone for everyone else in the organization to recognize that recharging is supported and encouraged."

The bottom line: Vacations enrich your potential to contribute at work, Leiter says. When you stop thinking about work, "it just opens your mind in a whole different way. That distancing is part of how you recover your energy."

  • You can't reap any of those benefits on a workcation.

Go deeper

2 hours ago - World

Biden adviser warns "there will be consequences" for Russia if Navalny dies

The Biden administration warned the Russian government "that there will be consequences" if jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny dies, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told CNN on Sunday.

The big picture: Sullivan also defended President Biden for not mentioning Navalny in a Thursday speech about Russia or in a Tuesday call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying the White House aims to deal with the issue "privately and through diplomatic channels."

3 killed, 2 wounded overnight in Kenosha bar shooting

Three people died and two were hospitalized with serious injuries after a gunman entered bar in Kenosha County, Wisconsin, the police department said in a statement on Sunday. Police responded to the shooting at around 12:42 a.m. and the suspect has not been found.

The big picture: The midnight shooting is the latest in a string of deadly mass shootings to hit the U.S. since March, fueling a debate in Washington about how to regulate the weapons.

Prosecutor on leave for failing to "fully present the facts" after shooting of 13-year-old boy

People march through Larimer Square as they protest the deaths of Daunte Wright and Adam Toledo on April 17 in Denver, Colorado. Photo: Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images

Cook County prosecutor James Murphy was placed on administrative leave Friday after he implied in court that 13-year-old Adam Toledo, who was shot and killed by a police officer in March, was armed when he was shot, the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times report.

Why it matters: Videos of the shooting show that Toledo dropped what appears to be a weapon and put his hands in the air a moment before before he was fatally shot. A lawyer for the Toledo family said Thursday that if the teen "had a gun, he tossed it."