Exploring flexible home arrangements – an interview study of workers who live in vans

Angus J. Duff (School of Business and Economics, Thompson Rivers University, Kamloops, Canada)
Scott B. Rankin (School of Business and Economics, Thompson Rivers University, Kamloops, Canada)

Career Development International

ISSN: 1362-0436

Publication date: 3 November 2020



The purpose of this study is to understand the lived experience of workers who live in vans to explore how work and non-work interact when one's living environment is mobile.


In this qualitative study, semi-structured interviews were carried out with 18 participants. Thematic analysis of interview transcripts, coded while listening to each interview recording, provided a rich account of the interaction of work and non-work life domains.


Several themes were identified, including seeing the van as a home, hidden or disclosed identity stemming from living in a van, financial freedom, career freedom and work/non-work synchronization. Overall, findings suggest that flexible home arrangements, the relocation of one's home to adapt to work, aligned work and non-work domains to positively impact their overall work and non-work satisfaction, providing career freedom and expanded career opportunities.

Research limitations/implications

The understanding of workers who live in vans broadens one’s understanding of mobile work and the work/non-work interface, providing insight into the dual alignment of work and home to accommodate each other, which the authors term work/non-work synchronization.


This is one of the first studies to consider van living from a work and career perspective and for the first time conceptualizes the notion of flexible home arrangements.



The authors wish to thank Julia Richardson, Associate Editor, CDI, and two anonymous reviewers for their insightful suggestions on a prior version of this manuscript.


Duff, A.J. and Rankin, S.B. (2020), "Exploring flexible home arrangements – an interview study of workers who live in vans", Career Development International, Vol. 25 No. 7, pp. 747-761. https://doi.org/10.1108/CDI-02-2020-0029

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