Shorter are the attention-spans, the life cycles, the relationships -- and the vacations. The work-life balance is off. Work is further invading our private lives. Even the vacation as the last fortress of “peace of mind” amidst 24/7 connectivity is now being more and more often sacrificed for work needs.
Both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, in the same week, recently portrayed the surge of mini-vacations, observing that “a growing number of Americans are now stacking up a series of shorter getaways and shunning larger stretches.” Data support this view: According to the Current Population Survey compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 7 percent more workers took off partial weeks in 2006 than in 2005. At the same time, the percentage of all workers taking off a full week on any given week has declined by about a third since 1990, to 2.1 percent from 3 percent. A 2004 survey of 1,003 US workers by the Families and Works Institute showed that 14 percent took vacations up to weeks or more during a year, while 37 percent limited their vacations to fewer than seven days. And lastly, according to expedia.com, 35 percent of US adults in employment are not taking all the vacation days they have this year, compared to 33 per cent last year.
The main reasons for this shift towards mini-vacations are that people feel overwhelmed when they return to work or fear that they may lose their competitive advantage within or outside their organization if they check out for too long.
The travel industry has recognized this trend and will further propel it by offering a growing number of “quick trips” geared towards white collar knowledge workers in high-pressure jobs. This has led to unprecedented extremes, as the Wall Street Journal reports. A 26-year old PR account executive from NYC in flew to Barcelona on Friday night for a short vacation weekend before returning to work just in time for a Monday morning meeting.