We are sad to report the death of the holiday

Deckchairs for the new millennium will contain slots for mobile phones, laptops and modems

The holidays - the hot weather, the skimpy clothes, the canoodling in the long grass, the season of open windows, of birds and bees, of sunglasses and pavement cafes - yes, they are nearly behind us.

What we have to look forward to now are chilly mornings, falling leaves, nervous colleagues, thin nylon shirts, new shoes and the smell of TCP on acne. Instead of beaches and bare breasts, teachers and text books await us. No matter how hard we con ourselves into believing that we want to feel the cool caress of drizzle on our cheeks, deep down in our hearts we all bitterly lament the demise of another summer.

If only the earth would stop rotating with Britain sunny side up. If only global warming would speed up. Come to think of it, if only we had rented that villa in Marbella for an entire year instead of just for a fortnight. In theory we are now supposed to be back at work, refreshed and ready for the long autumnal session before Christmas. In practice we are disoriented, jet-lagged and horribly behind with our work. The friends that we made on holiday and the Chianti that we drank are already blurring into embarrassing lapses, to be quickly forgotten through overwork.

One alleged advantage of having a job is that it puts time off into context. We all know what this means: I used to meet people travelling in China, who, when asked how long they had been away, would say things like: "Oh, let's see now, is it four years or five?" To judge by their haggard expressions they did not look as though they were on holiday. The unemployed of Marbella presumably don't consider themselves to be on holiday, either. Looking at it from another angle, though, I am worried that a disadvantage of holidays is that they put work into context. Perhaps if we never took holidays, work would never seem tiresome in the first place. And then we wouldn't need holidays anyway.

As a matter of fact, this idea seems to be catching on. Consider these statistics I have received from Cable & Wireless Communications about the habits of British managers while they are on holiday. These reveal that unadulterated holidays are a thing of the past. Of those holidaying in Britain, nearly half stay in touch with their office. More than one in 10 of those holidaying overseas are also unable to resist the call of work. In all, 64 per cent of British managers have been contacted by their office while they have been on holiday.

But there are still some who retain old-fashioned notions of what a holiday should be. A quarter of those surveyed said they would contact the office only in an emergency. These perhaps are the grumpy bosses whom colleagues fear to ask what they have done with the keys to the filing cabinet; they may be those who will return from their holidays to find themselves jobless. Smart friends in the City assure me that the main cause of anxiety while on holiday is not being in touch, but falling out of touch.

It transpires that the old distinctions between work and non-work are going out with the century. Deckchairs for the new millennium (being built in Germany, I believe) will contain slots for mobile phones, lap-tops and modems. No pre-dinner cocktail by the swimming pool will be complete without a quick update on the client list. Any form of relaxation at all, in fact, will be meaningless unless it has been approved five minutes earlier by an e-mail from work.

A dastardly plot to enforce overwork? It needn't be, as long as the process works the other way as well. If holiday is going to seem like work, so work should come to seem like holiday. Research should be carried out immediately into designing the office chair of the next millennium, incorporating features of the sun lounger, such as reclinability, artificial sunshine and an automatic cocktail dispenser in one arm. If we could sit and work in chairs like that, the annual demise of summer wouldn't be half so sad.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Executive

    £15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An On-line Sales & Customer Ser...

    Recruitment Genius: Accounts Assistant - Fixed Term Contract - 6 Months

    £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the largest hospitality companies...

    Recruitment Genius: Electricians - Fixed Wire Testing

    £28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As a result of significant cont...

    Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

    £16575 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An excellent opportunity is ava...

    Day In a Page

    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

    How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

    Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
    Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

    One day to find €1.6bn

    Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
    New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

    'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

    Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
    Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

    Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

    The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
    Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

    Historians map out untold LGBT histories

    Public are being asked to help improve the map
    Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

    Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

    This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
    Paris Fashion Week

    Paris Fashion Week

    Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
    A year of the caliphate:

    Isis, a year of the caliphate

    Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
    Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

    Marks and Spencer

    Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
    'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

    'We haven't invaded France'

    Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
    Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

    Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

    The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
    7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

    Remembering 7/7 ten years on

    Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
    Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

    They’re here to help

    We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?
    Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

    Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

    'Heritage' is a loaded word in the Dixie, but the Charleston killings show how dangerous it is to cling to a deadly past, says Rupert Cornwell
    What exactly does 'one' mean? Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue

    What exactly does 'one' mean?

    Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue