Are we a Workation Nation?

By Mark Gilbreath, Special for USDR.

At last, July!  It’s the sacred month of the family holiday.  Your well-earned vacation has been planned for months. The solemn promises were made to your children and spouse: no work, all play.

So here you are.  You’ve got umbrella up, sunscreen on, and toes in the sand.  The kids are playing happily.   Congrats, you deserve this.    But wait a minute.  What is that lodged in your cup holder… an iPhone?   Is it there so you can work on your Dots high score?  Or are you sneaking peaks at your inbox, and have you really left work behind?

For most Americans the answer is no.   In fact 71% of Americans report that they worked at least 5 hours during their last weeklong vacation.   Have we all become workaholics, has play lost its appeal, or has something fundamentally changed?

Managing the work life balance used to be much easier.   The cheery “Out of the office” greeting left on your company phone system was there to protect you. (You remember phones: shaped like a banana with a pigtail cord?)  It was the shield that let you mentally unplug and keep the customers, colleagues and solicitors at bay until your return.  But times have changed, and smartphones have brought the office into our pockets, our bedrooms and yes, our vacations.

The real crisis is that people are forced to squeeze that bit of work into very inconvenient settings.  83% of people who worked on vacation did so from a hotel room, condo or rental house. We’ve all been there. Picture it:  water wings, beach toys and flip flops strewn about the room. Kids amped on breakfast cereal and spinning about the room. It’s not the best place to call or Skype with an important client or your boss.

For better or for worse we now live in the age of the “always-on” worker.    We need to take more personal responsibility for managing the boundaries between life and work.

Thankfully new tools and services are exploding onto the scene to support the mobile professional, aimed at helping you get your best work done wherever you may be.    The best of these tools can now be found on your phone  – easy to use apps that do specific things irresistibly well.

Need a few examples? Easy. Zoom gives you simple, reliable video conferencing,  Donna helps you manage your calendars, Evernote helps you organize information and Dropbox lets you access and share data.

LiquidSpace provides another piece of this puzzle.  Finding a great space to work or meet, in real-time, with confidence, should be easy.  For some of us, a concentrated couple of hours in air-conditioned quiet at a desk in a professional environment are all we need to get the job done and get back to the pool.

We even made use of available space at hotels in cities where you might be attending a conference. We partnered with Marriott where their “Workspace on Demand powered by LiquidSpace” program is putting hundreds of professional workspaces in reach of mobile professionals.

So, if you are one of the 71% who admitted that work sometimes creeps into vacation time, you now have an option. It’s calm. It’s quiet. There are no sand toys. Come in, go to work and get back to your family. They’ll appreciate it.

Mark Gilbreath is the Founder and CEO of LiquidSpace, the place where modern professionals browse and book great work and meeting space. LiquidSpace supports corporations of all sizes, seeking to improve the productivity of their mobile workforce, increase the efficiency of their real estate portfolio, and bring measurability to their sustainability initiatives.

He is an experienced serial entrepreneur and one of the new voices in real estate technology, supporting a vision of sustainable mobility and business continuity practices.

Mark has spent 25+ years in the technology industry with Wyle Electronics, Trinity Technologies, Altera, and Toolwire in roles ranging from design engineer to founder and CEO. For the past 6 years Mark has been focused on the massive opportunity to transform the commercial real estate industry and the planet as a whole.

 

All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.

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