Survey shows “workations” replacing vacations for many

When we asked recently whether workaholism is an occupational hazard for web workers, reader response suggested a well of anxiety out there on the Internet about our collective ability to resist the lure of always-on tech. Can remote workers train themselves to turn off the computer and ignore the buzzing phone?

Summer provides a natural experiment as hordes of highly connected workers stream out of home offices and coffee shops to take their annual, stress-reducing, fair-weather holiday. But if you were hoping the attractions of sun and sea could keep web workers from their laptops, a recent survey from flexible office space company Regus will make for depressing reading.

Those of you who thought the staycation was a gloomy concept, brace yourselves for the “workation.” Regus is employing the term after polling 5,000 U.S. professionals and determining that, whatever the charms of their vacation destinations, most will be unable to fully get away from work this summer.  The company found:

  • 50 percent of Americans admit they will work during their vacation this summer
  • 75 percent plan to stay connected to the office in some way while on vacation
  • 66 percent will be checking and responding to email during their time off
  • 29 percent may have to attend meetings virtually while on vacation

While Regus is using the findings to flog its centers as a better alternative to unreliable hotel Internet connections, the larger question begging to be asked is whether the transformation of the vacation into the workation is healthy, and what consequences, if any, our poolside emailing will have on our productivity (or more fundamentally mental health) down the road?

On the other hand, with research showing that around 66 percent of Americans leave some vacation days on the table, maybe a quick Skype (s msft) in to your client after a morning or snorkeling beats never leaving home at all for fear of falling behind. Whatever your take on workations, WebWorkerDaily has tips on how to manage your time off and minimize holiday-related stress.

What’s your take on the workation phenomenon — better than not going at all or a sad comment on the workaholism epidemic among web workers?

Photo courtesy Flickr user Giorgio Montersino