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Bleisure: The corporate concept that will definitely give you the ‘ick’

The benefits at trendy companies never cease to amaze us, but now ping pong tables are out, and nature outings are in with bleisure.

group outdoors representing bleisure

We’ve seen a shift in the job market in recent years, with more employees using their voices to advocate for a better work environment, better pay, and a healthier work-life balance. The newest trend to catch their attention is being dubbed “bleisure,” or “business leisure.”

If you’re like me, you probably made a horrified face while thinking, “what the heck is bleisure?”

Bleisure is the concept of removing employees from stuffy office settings and throwing them into a group activity or outdoor retreat. You may find your team white water rafting in Tennessee, cleaning up litter from a national park in Colorado, or attending a pasta class in Italy. Employers are attempting to combine vacation time with corporate meetings, hoping that the exciting change of scenery will tempt more folks to attend.

Now, you may feel differently, but I’d bargain to say that most of us do not want to spend our leisure time doing some kind of performative “team-building” activity with our coworkers. You probably want to book your own vacation rather than extending a business trip by a couple of days. You’ve likely had your attendance requested, or even required, at several events now that the world is crawling back to a pre-pandemic social standard, and chances are you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed.

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It’s not surprising that someone would feel like their social battery needs more recovery time since so many of us shifted to remote work in 2020. Events like business dinners and conferences took a hiatus for the better part of 2 years. Some companies are choosing to stay fully remote, using the budget they previously spent on maintaining an office for bleisure activities and blurring the line between personal time and company time.

Many remote workers enjoy their setup because they can log in, get their work done, and go on with their day. They feel as though their time is spent more efficiently, and the numbers back this up. Even if your day is peppered with meetings, it’s easier to take control of your time and cut out the fluff like unnecessary meetings and office small talk when you’re in your own environment. 

When on a bleisure trip, you’d likely find it difficult to create your own schedule, as your employer provides an itinerary of group activities. Is it really “leisure” if you have to show up and socialize?

Quite frankly, the concept of bleisure feels exploitative and we hope the trend dies soon. Have you been on a bleisure trip? Is it something that appeals to you, or would you rather stay home?

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Jennifer is a native Houstonian (go Astros!) with a knack for creating digital works of art. She has expansive experience creating content and branded collateral for Fortune 500 companies, as well as small local businesses. When she’s not buried in her laptop, Jennifer is the marketing director for a world championship circuit barbecue cook off team and pet mom to dog (Milo) and Guinea pig (Piggy Smalls).

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