Is it a 'vacation' if you still do work?

A new survey says a growing number of people don't expect to leave it all behind on their alleged rest and relaxation time.

By Bruce Kennedy Jul 22, 2013 2:01PM

Sitting on beach chair with drink (© Photographers Choice RF/Getty Images)Are you on summer vacation? Really, truly? Because a lot more of us, whether we want to or not, are hitting the smartphones and laptops even when we're supposed to be hitting the beach, hiking trail or lawn chair.

According to a survey commissioned by TeamViewer, an online meeting software company, 61% of employed workers say they'll work during their breaks this summer, mostly via their work-capable electronics, compared to 52% last year.

More than two-thirds of those surveyed said they'll go on vacation armed with a work-capable device, be it a smartphone (40%), laptop (39%) desktop computer (24%) or tablet (18%).

And the kind of work these supposedly off-duty employees are doing on their vacations doesn't sound particularly relaxing, with 38% saying they'll be reading work-related email and 32% accessing a work-related document stored on a home or work computer. Then there are those dealing with work-related calls (30%) and text messages (24%).

One in five of those surveyed also expect to be asked to do some work-related task by a boss, client or colleague during their vacation time.

More than ever, most Americans seem to understand their jobs hang in the balance. And the vast majority of those surveyed, 83%, said having to work while on vacation is becoming the norm. But that doesn't mean they like it.

In fact, 89% of those polled said they'd react, somehow, if their bosses ask them to work while on vacation.

  • 34% said they'd do the work, but not happily.

  • 29% would feel their boss didn't respect their time.

  • 24% would worry about the boundaries of their personal life.

  • 22% would flat-out say no, while 14% said they'd be glad to do the vacation-time work.

  • 13% would turn off their electronics and ignore any work-related messages.

  • 11% say they'd pretend to not have seen the incoming message, text or other communication.

  • 6% would use the vacation time to update their resume and look for new work.

  • 4% might throw something.

  • 3% say they would cry.

  • 2% would quit their job.

John Husing, an economist from Redlands, Calif., had an Internet connection during his recent boating vacation in Tasmania and the Antarctic coast. "It's the anxiety of not wanting to be out of the loop as a private business owner," he told the Los Angeles Times. "I don't want to be thought of as not being available."

But Husing noted that employed workers are also wary about the current high jobless rates and ongoing economic uncertainty. "The ghost of this is going to hang around for a long time," he said.

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Jul 22, 2013 6:19PM

Let's get down to basic definitions.


If you are working on a vacation, then you are not on vacation.


It is your time, you earned it, and you deserve it.


P.S.  There are very few jobs that required 24/7/365 presence.


Jul 22, 2013 4:57PM
I do not and will not work on my vacation.  My time is my time and they are not entitled to it & if they don't like it?  Well I was looking for a job when I found this one.
Jul 22, 2013 5:42PM
If you're self-employed or have your own business, you usually don't have a choice - it's always a working vacation.
Jul 22, 2013 4:27PM
Fvck no.  Work is work, vacation is my own time.
Jul 22, 2013 4:30PM
Are you sh**ing me?? I don't even THINK about work on vacation!!!
Jul 22, 2013 5:10PM
It's a choice I make...not my boss. If I were asked to work on vacation, the answer would be NO!!! Now, if I choose to CHECK email or phone messages, that's my choice and to me it's no big deal.
Jul 22, 2013 4:30PM
I have no problem working a little while on vacation.  Taking 30 min a day to answer emails is not an issue.  I feel a lot better when i return from vacation knowing what has been going on.
Jul 22, 2013 5:20PM
I would rather spend 15 minutes a day catching up on a few quick emails than having a stack of 200 of them waiting when I get back.  It's really no big deal.
Sep 1, 2013 3:09PM
For an owner, especially of a small company, I can understand the need to stay in touch. For salaried employees, however, work on vacation should not be required. The vacation time is one of the benefits that they've earned for their work during the year. And everyone needs a chance to totally get away from their job to recharge their batteries. While I'm now retired, I did have jobs where I often had to stay in touch with the office while on vacation. I loved my job, but I still resented that. This situaton is one of the many (to me) negatives about all of the techno gadgets. They take away your excuse for not staying in touch. But even if you're not required to stay in touch for your job, I would urge people to turn them off, anyway -- especially if you're traveling. Take time to enjoy the experience you're having, what you're seeing, time with family. The devices will always be there. Your kids won't be!
Sep 1, 2013 12:19PM
when I go on vacation there is no work at all, The work cell goes off, and my home phone gets shut off with the switch I have on it, and with caller Id I will check to see who called me. Vacations are for a person to relax and take it easy not work. I know so many people who work on there vacations. And even when they get off work they have an office in there homes and still work until the very early morning hours. It is crazy. Some people do not know how to relax. they are work alcoholics.
Jul 22, 2013 7:34PM

Even on vacation I will think out a variety of ways to make my job more productive and interesting. Just as a diversion, you understand.


If my boss gives me something to do, it will conveniently be lost or left behind.

Sep 1, 2013 6:07AM
Buy The Ticket is absolutely correct.  It is correct if you're working for someone else.  My husband owns a small business so his I-Phone is constantly on and attached at the hip (literally) There are no weekends, no holidays, no vacations.  When we go anywhere, we have to make sure that he can make/receive phone calls and the hotel has WI-Fi.  It's hard to compete with large corporations who employ hundreds or thousands of people to take care of the details when you are just one person. I've had to make a lot of concessions but I'm hoping that it will pay off one day.  That's why I didn't make a fuss when he had to blow off our 20th wedding anniversary in order to get a large order processed and shipped. 
Jul 22, 2013 7:06PM
RU kidding??

If you have any kind of responsibility...........YES.

If no, some bushwacker (who feigns civility) will backdoor your ****.


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