Welcome to the ‘Workcation’

Swimsuit? Goggles? Sunblock? Check. And don’t forget your smartphone, which more than half of employed vacationers say they’ll bring along.

Sixty-one percent of respondents in the annual Work/Life Balance Index by TeamViewer said they would work while on vacation, up from 52% who said they would work in a similar survey released in 2012. Respondents in both surveys are employed Americans, age 18 and older.

The favored device to bring on vacation is the smartphone (61%). Three-fifths of respondents said they planned on bringing up to three work-capable devices on vacation. Two thirds of vacationers (67%) said they actually expect to use one of these devices for work-related purposes, with smartphone (40%) as the most popular device to use for work, followed by laptop (39%), desktop computer (24%) and tablet (18%).

Tasks the participants said they’d perform include:

  • Reading work-related emails (38% versus 30% in 2012);
  • Wanting work-related access to a document on work/home computer (32% versus 19% in the previous survey);  
  • Receiving work-related calls (30% versus 23%);
  • Receiving work-related text messages (24% versus 18%); and
  • Being asked to do work by a boss, client or colleague (20% versus 13%).


And it’s not surprising that Americans plan to go on vacation armed with the work-capable devices they need. A majority (83%) agree that having to work during vacation is becoming more common in America, but that doesn’t mean they’re happy about it. In fact, 89% say they would react if they were asked to work during vacation by their boss, many in emotional or even sneaky ways, including:

  • Do the work, but not happily (34%);
  • Feel that the boss doesn’t respect the worker’s time (29%);
  • Worry about the boundaries of my personal life (24%);
  • Say no (22%);
  • Be happy to do the work (14%);
  • Turn off the devices and ignore it altogether (13%); and
  • Pretend not to see the incoming message or text (11%).

Interestingly, the study shows that the trend of mixing work into summer vacation is particularly acute among Generation Y, those ages 18 to 34, who are statistically more likely than any other age group to say they expect to work during their vacation (73%), expect to bring a work-capable device (82%) and need to use it (79%).