You’ve finally plopped down on a plush poolside recliner for that beach vacation you booked six months ago. And yet there you are, responding to emails and hopping on a “quick” conference call as the tide brushes up against a friendly game of beach volleyball that you had to decline. Sound familiar? Well then, you’ve experienced a “never-not-working” vacation. We’ll explain.
What is a never-not-working vacation? It means you’re on a vacation throughout which you’re still glued to your phone and doing work. But it’s the openness about the phenomenon that’s most interesting. See, people want other people to know they’re #nevernotworking—there are almost 350,000 posts on Instagram tagged with the hashtag. It’s a trend that’s part of today’s hustle culture (or what they called healthy Puritan ethic circa the 17th century).
Got it. Why does it matter? Well, it shows just how real the global gig economy and the U.S. economy’s growing number of freelancers is. Since 2014, an additional 3.7 million people have joined the freelance workforce—totaling 56.7 million freelancers in America as of 2018.
It’s also changing the work/life balance landscape, creating opportunities for new companies that cater to those who need to work in between moments of play and leisure. Coworking space The Wing has popped up in nine cities in the U.S. with more coming. Beauty-centric spaces like Chillhouse allow you to get some work done on your laptop or take a meeting while sipping on a beverage, getting a manicure or a massage (yes, please!). The Moxy in downtown New York City features a 5,000-square-foot communal working space called Recreation NYC, which offers free Wi-Fi, a plethora of USB ports and outlets, an artisanal coffee and tea program, and games for those necessary breaks. The lobby of the new Aloft hotel in Lima, Peru, doubles as a work space with booths, a long communal table, a bar and a snack space to grab parfaits, green juices or yummy bowls for lunch. Kinda makes you wanna travel and work, huh?
So is this a good thing or a bad thing? It just kinda is. But when you think about, the trend is less about the rat race and more about knitting together work and play. Think about the hashtag #todaysoffice—ya know, where your friends on Instagram snap a photo of a gorgeous mountain view from their hotel room—which is hovering around 150,000 tags. People are excited about working in places that are far away from the traditional office and that have cool amenities—be that an apartment for rent in a city we’ve always wanted to visit or a hotel with free coffee, a great Wi-Fi connection and a pool that we may have to shell out a few bucks for.
So, if you flip the idea on its head, #nevernotworking can also mean #nevernotvacationing. Doesn’t sound too bad, right?