This spring, Shirley Bloomfield spent a week at a Delaware beach house, taking long walks along the shore with her husband and their golden retriever, Cassie, and roasting marshmallows in the rental home’s fireplace when the weather grew chilly.
But the couple was there to work. Ms. Bloomfield, the chief executive of the NTCA—The Rural Broadband Association, a trade association for rural telecommunications providers, wanted a break from the bustle of Washington, D.C., but had a full slate of work already on her schedule. So she decided to try what she called a “workcation,” logging in remotely from a vacation destination.
Rare is the modern professional who can fully disconnect from the office during time off, so a small but growing number of workers are instead petitioning the boss to combine work and vacation: time away from the office that includes a few days working from an exotic locale.
Overall, U.S. workers are taking less vacation than they did a decade ago. In 2013, the average worker took 16 vacation days, down from 20.9 in 2000, according to an analysis by the U.S. Travel Association’s Project: Time Off, an initiative to encourage more workplace vacation.
Not all bosses may be on board with the idea of workcation, especially if the organization lacks a flexible work policy or if the job doesn’t lend itself to remote work. About two-thirds of companies have policies allowing occasional telecommuting, an increase from 50% of firms in 2008, according to an analysis from the Families and Work Institute.
Adds Kenneth Matos, senior director of research at the Families and Work Institute: “Is the workcation detracting from the vacation you were going to have, or is it enabling the vacation you otherwise wouldn’t have had?”
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