Kauai Vacations Are Good For Zuckerberg; Not For Employees

It’s no secret that Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg loves spending most of his free here on Kauai. Yet, what’s good for him may not be as good for Meta’s Facebook employees.

Zuckerberg became irate when one of the workers asked about vacation days. In an abrupt reply, the boss said, “some of you might just say this place isn’t for you… and that’s ok with me.” Thus, Zuckerberg appeared to do an about-face on vacations as he lost patience when the question was posed by one of his Chicago-based employees.

It turns out that the plethora of benefits the company provided, which included extra vacation days, may be coming to a fast end. The question may not have been asked at the right time after Zuckerberg mentioned a hiring freeze and other cost-cutting measures. In the employee’s defense, the question was pre-recorded before the announcement of the market slump that Meta is experiencing.

A company spokesperson said regarding the kerfuffle, “Any company that wants to have a lasting impact must practice disciplined prioritization and work with a high level of intensity to reach goals.”

Zuckerberg’s Hawaii workcations vs. employee vacations.


Combining work and play is a concept that’s been around for a long time but has taken root in a new face since Covid. It looks like it will be a future trend.

Beat of Hawaii’s co-editor Jeff was an early adopter – working remotely from the early 1990s until he decided to slow his globetrotting and just keep his feet on the ground here on Kauai. But up until then, you’d find him in the Caribbean, India, Australia, Africa, and Europe. He was always online using a laptop to work. He recalls when it cost several dollars per minute to get connected in the 90s, whereas now, the internet is ubiquitous and, for the most part, free, even at 30,000 feet.

Workcations, combining a vacation with work, is perfectly suited to Hawaii travel.

If you can’t have time off entirely, then workcations are another options. We heard countless reports from our readers who have been doing the same thing – escaping from the mainland to Hawaii since Covid. What used to be called “bleisure travel” has morphed and become mainstream. It can take many forms, including taking some days off, followed by remote work. For Jeff, these have always co-existed. Like working in the morning, then some time off in the afternoon. And so it was even just this week. After swimming at Hanalei, with phone in hand, he found it it easy to catch up on emails and texts before ever returning to the office.

There is no indication that workcations will ever be over as remote work policies appear here to stay to a greater or lesser degree.

What happened to the boundaries between work and play?

For many people, the idea of bringing a laptop and working part of the time on vacation is antithetical to the reason for a break. Is that true for you? But for many of us, work and play have co-existed for years, and we continue to refine them and take them to the next level.

Whether adding vacation days to a work trip or adding work to a vacation, you get the idea. It’s a way to add relaxation, recharging, and reinvigorating to any travel. And so Hawaii seems ideally suited to workcations.

What’s changed is that more people are doing it than ever before. The advent of widespread remote work permits more people to flee their desks at home or the office and explore Hawaii while still performing their job functions fully.

We have all learned, for better or worse, to switch on ad off work and play at the drop of a hat with business and playtime being far more fluid than most of us ever imagined.

A Kayak/YouGov Canadian survey earlier this year indicated that 38% of Gen Z workers plan to take a workcation this year. Another study in the U.S. showed that 80% of those who tried workcations felt they boosted productivity and creativity and mitigated work stress.

Called work-life integration.

It’s an alternative to fully being committed to being either at play or work. This doesn’t work for everyone, but it makes a whole new life with great experiences possible for those it benefits. These workcations aren’t a complete replacement for vacations for many of us, although they always have been for Jeff. For others, these are just life-expanding adjuncts providing opportunities that otherwise would exist.

An Expedia study earlier this year pointed us in a different direction, saying that 78% of U.S. employees want to be “unproductive” while on vacation. Yet half reported bringing computers, most of which dialed into video meetings.

As reported, when F.B.’s Chicago-based employee asked about extra days off, Zuckerberg responded, “Um…all right… Given my tone in the rest of the Q&A, you can probably imagine what my reaction to this is… And part of my hope by raising expectations and having more aggressive goals, and just kind of turning up the heat a little bit, is that I think some of you might just say that this place isn’t for you.”

This came as Kauai’s billionaire Zuckerberg, who owns more land on the Garden Island than the County of Kauai itself, fell out of the top ten list of the world’s wealthiest billionaires. And if all that isn’t enough, you’ll recall that Sheryl Sandberg resigned from the company last month, which was reported as being possibly related to an investigation into using company resources for her wedding planning.

Do you combine work with your Hawaii vacations?

35 thoughts on “Kauai Vacations Are Good For Zuckerberg; Not For Employees”

  1. I heard via coconut wireless that zuck purchased princeville airport…looks like he going to be spending alot of time here

  2. Aloha guys. I used to when I traveled there alone. I would deta clean my girlfriends house while she was at work. For me, it was an act of gratitude for letting me stay with her. Of course now, after 45 yrs of friendship, and she retired, she no longer lets me do this. She says, Let’s just enjoy Life and we do having a glass of wine on the lanai, enjoying the scenery, talking laughing and relaxing. Love going there to visit. Home away from home.

  3. Personally I rarely need to mix Pleasure and Business. The very few times that I have had to, except one time, making a short phone call and a text message was all that it took. Fortunately I work for myself and have contingencies in place for most concerns allowing me to enjoy my vacations in Oahu and elsewhere. The Freedom to enjoy and relax allows me to recharge, relax and have fun. Isn’t that what Vacations are supposed to be about!

  4. Mr zuckerberg has all the right
    As chairman and ceo of meta to
    Decide all compensation for all executives as per contacts and
    Laws pertaining to his companies.
    The larger pictures of making
    Vacations part of work seems to
    Only make sense for certain very
    Disaplinned employees or management. Its so very easy for
    Most people to be very creative on
    How hard they work at the beach or
    Disneyland with the kids.This is
    Not a good idea and can cause great friction in the workplace.
    Many workers now, are already demanding a 4 day work week. Next
    It will three. Thats what we do
    Now when we retire.

    1. No, he doesn’t. Meta is a publicly traded company, not his fiefdom; despite the rather unwholesome share structure.

    1. What I find atrocious is that Zuckerberg can’t even run his own company and treats employees like crap. I remember the movie about the creation of Facebook and how his contributions to it were not as one would have expected, those who did most of it ended up shut out without any of the credit and nothing monetarily to show for it. I had always hoped that they would have created a competition that was better than Facebook. He’s nothing but a spoiled child that got his own way! Makes me sick.

  5. yes, I have had to get up 0300-0600Hst to work and spend the wee hrs working in order to enjoy noon till sunset on the beach.

    As to zuck no one with a morsel of morals would work for someone that spent $300M to steal an election.

  6. Please clarify. This story doesnʻt make sense. Youʻre so intent on dissing Zukerberg (for what? Owning land on Kauai?) that it overtakes what I thought you were writing about, work-from-home innovations that led to a pricing boom and launched a profound change in ownership/residency in a short time in our North Shore condo complex and many others. That is a truly remarkable story that is still happening.
    As for our neighbors the Zukerbergs, thanks to you
    for funding the traveling Covid tax van, and buying up the menehune fish pond before it could be trashed, and I hope you still have enough left to transform the sadly derelict Coco Palms into the Hawaiian cultural center everyone wants it to be.

    1. No one person should be allowed to own that much of Kauai; it’s obscene. And that massive fence he built blocking the formerly beautiful ocean view everyone could enjoy? Robert Frost, the first poet laureate of the United States, wrote that “Good fences make good neighbors” in his poem Mending Wall, but the key word in this sentence is “good”. The fence Mark Zuckerberg built isn’t a good fence for anyone but him – it is not a good, neighborly fence, or a necessary fence for the most part. He could have built a smaller fence around his home that would have been more acceptable, and less offensive, to his neighbors. My favorite part of Frost’s poem is this: “Before I built a wall I’d ask to know…to whom I was like to give offense.”

      1. Hi Kim, Mark Zuckerberg – he remains somewhat of an Enigma to this day. Having vast amounts of riches, that land a portion of the total, is problematic. With fencing others are forbidden to enjoy some of the beauties of the island that they may have previously. Allowing people onto certain portions of the land for certain activities would defeat the purposes of the fencing. If even one person were to be injured, or worse, on the property the ensuing lawsuit would be enormous, an encouragement for others to do the same. Unscrupulous people do exist! I understand the “Why” but still cannot admire him and what He calls “His Accomplishments.” With his wealth He continues to rob others of enjoyment selfishly.

  7. No. I will not be taking any laptop with me to Kauai in Sept for 15 days. I have suspended all email and online work. Looking forward to the helicopter ride.

  8. My husband and I spent approximately 10-12 weeks working remotely in Kauai last year. One other reason Hawaii is the perfect place for a workcation is the 2-3 hour time difference. We stay on mainland time and can be done with work by 2. Gives us plenty of time to hit the beach, take a hike or golf 18 holes.

    1. Which is why a lot of mainlanders moved to Hawaii when Covid hit when they started working remote. It also caused a major housing shortage and played a big part in the jump in housing prices in Hawaii.

      1. I’m Certain that what you’ve stated has bearing on the situation, however, not the absolute totality of the situation by far. Even 1 house or apartment taken is 1 less available for the residents of Hawaii, that’s both recognized and a given. Despite this fact remains that there was available housing for the small amount of people from elsewhere to rent, lease and purchase, it was available for everyone yet wasn’t taken. Money could be an issue for certain but personal choices can be made to allow for that in many instances. There’s not enough of an onslaught of people new to the regular market to account for what has been attributed to this. Taxes and Fees Drive Increased Costs. Building Timeshares instead of Housing also.

      2. It’s kinda sad. I don’t get paid enough to work while on vacation. I get vacation once every few years. There is no way I’m check e-mail. I check e-mail off the clock on work days and don’t get compensated. So, no freaking way I’m doing it on vacation. If my boss decides to send me a text because we are short at work while on vacation he/she/it should have to pay me 30$ each time they text. My work life is for work, my home life is for home. My vacation time that I deserve is not to be treaded on. Unless you buy my plane ticket to Kauai don’t bother ringing my number. I can see rich people being compensated for their time, but there really should be boundaries for everyone.

  9. Thanks for your always interesting articles! Working on vacation was long an issue for me. We traveled to the islands from California four or five times a year for the last 10 years that I worked. My view of my job required that I work part of each day except the weekend. I would rise at 5 am and work for a few hours. This allowed me to stay on top of issues that came in late the day before and in the morning. I then would take a run and sneak in a surf session before lunch. After lunch, I did a couple of hours work and it would be the end of the work day in California. After retirement, we continued to come to the islands and I sure enjoyed having all of the time to myself (and sleeping in!). So we ended up moving to Maui!

    1. Hi Kevin.

      Thanks. Sounds like a very familiar story. Glad it worked out for you.


  10. Going to Hawaii and having to work would completely ruin it for me. Might as well stay at home and save a ton of money.

  11. I always work on my Hawaii vacations. Fact is, my health only allows me to walk for about 3-5 minutes at a time. So, I often remain in the timeshare while the family goes about.

    And, I’ve been there too many times to count since ’65 so I don’t mind staying in the room and working.

    1. Hi Rod W! So sorry for your limitations, as I am very aware just how it feels. In your case it gives you something to fill the time spent in your room while everyone else is out doing something. Despite being work it can also be Therapeutic in a way. I get lost on playing pool, a game on my phone, to pass the time. I find it Therapeutic as I concentrate on the game and away from the pain a bit. Be well my friend, take good care and keep letting your wife plan the trips!

    2. Wow. Must be nice to have that kind of $. Many people don’t get to experience such beauty even once in life. I hope you enjoy it, even if it’s all for not.

  12. “He recalls when it cost several dollars per minute to get connected in the 90s”

    So do I. I spent three nights in Israel for some client meetings in the late 1990’s and my phone/internet bill was higher than my hotel bill … and it was a nice hotel.

        1. Hi David.

          That phone modem might have been operating at 300bps. Quite funny to think about it now.


    1. I can remember my first phone in the mid to late 80’s. It was a bag phone that plugged in to the cigarette lighter. There was no battery and it had no hands free speaker but despite cellular being new to the area and in its infancy it had remarkable signal strength. I swear that with all of the innovation and cell towers everywhere today, I had better back then. The cost wasn’t that much either.

  13. Marks wimpy way of laying people off – “that this place isn’t for you”. Make them self select and quit rather than being laid off, so he doesn’t have to pay severance or unemployment.

    1. That is a Sad Truth for some Employers. Rather than having to pay an Unemployment, or Heaven Forbid an Workers Compensation, Claim they find ways around it. Making life at work unbearable, even if it means some Immortality and Illegalities, and either having them quit or firing them works for them. Injured worker’s are convinced that they should take a weekly pay with or without taxes and use their Employer Sponsored Healthcare. That works for about 5 to 6 weeks until they self terminate for not showing up to work. The Games they Play with people’s lives. Bottom Line, they get away with it!

    1. Hi Jon.

      We aren’t sure which trail that was taken on to be honest. But it sure looks like it could be.



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