Economy, Technology Bring Work to Vacations

by Luke Jones  on Monday, Sep. 3, 2012 12:00 am  

Who has time for vacations these days, anyway? Actually, plenty do - but they're taking work with them, and both technology and the economy are responsible

Who has time for vacations these days, anyway? Actually, plenty do - but they're taking work with them, and both technology and the economy are responsible.

TeamViewer, a company that designs remote meeting software, surveyed 2,200 adult professionals on the subject in July. The survey found 52 percent of them expected to be working during their vacations. Of those, 30 percent would be checking business emails while away, 23 percent taking phone calls and 13 percent doing actual work requested by a higher-up.

How did we get to this point?

Christine Vogt, a professor of tourism marketing at the College of Agriculture & Natural Resources at Michigan State University in Lansing, has been researching the American vacation for about 20 years.

"In the last 10 years, the travel industry just really blossomed using the Internet both in terms of people doing travel planning as well as reserving and buying online," she said. Hotels, airlines and rental car companies have all burgeoned thanks to the Internet.

But the Internet also changed how people communicate. Everyone is accessible all the time. Vogt said she began studying this particular phenomenon in the mid-2000s.

"Some people consciously worked to bring technology with them," Vogt said. "This was at a time when laptops, MP3 players - the early generation of portable devices - were coming on board. Those that had those typically brought the gear with them, but what they often encountered was a lack of Wi-Fi and connectivity, particularly as they traveled outside of the country."

Less than a decade later, being out of reach because of limited technology is a rarity.

"Now we're getting closer to that world of what people have and use match up with what the community and city are providing," she said. "A lot more people are holding phones, smartphones, [tablets]."

Now that everyone's universally accessible, when they leave work, work doesn't really leave them. Harry Hamlin, a managing partner at Mitchell Williams Selig Gates & Woodyard PLLC in Little Rock, said he sees this all the time.

At first, Hamlin said, "you'd see smartphones every once in a while and a couple of people here and there with Blackberries. But a year and a half later, everyone has one sitting on the table."

Eventually, his firm began providing attorneys with the devices, Hamlin said.

 

 

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