It’s that time once again; where people rush to book three days off work in exchange for five thanks to the UK’s many bank holidays. Easter usually marks the beginning of the bank holiday flurry, culminating in June’s bonanza which this year includes Her Majesty’s Jubilee. Yet, at the opposite end of the holiday-taking scale sits those who are reluctant to take advantage, those that don’t even take their full holiday entitlement. What’s caused this disconnect?
Looking back, last year saw bank holiday madness as the royal wedding gave way to an extra day’s freedom from our day jobs, resulting in two long weekends in a row. Although many of us were grateful for the opportunity to celebrate the unique event, reports started to emerge estimating the cost of what this extra day would mean to British businesses – the Government estimating the cost to be £2.9 billion. As this year brings us the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, taking place in the first week of June, yet another reason to celebrate with a day off work, it will be interesting to see how British businesses, and individuals, have prepared.
Whilst most of us are excited about the prospect of a few extra days off in June, and the impending Easter weekend – despite the weather set to take a turn for the worst – some of us are more reluctant to embrace the extra time. Is it due to pressure from employers who ‘feel’ the loss of their workforce for a day, or is it our own hang-ups that mean even the phrase ‘bank holiday’ fills us with dread?
First introduced in 1871, these national holidays are no new concept. In fact, it’s expected that most businesses will close on the specified days, so why the gloom? It would seem many of Britain’s workforce find bank holidays an inconvenience, set back or hurdle to overcome. Why? Because they are worried about missing their targets, fearing an extra day’s holiday will hold negative consequences, even allowing room for someone else to slip into top position.
But with most of us failing to even take our statutory holiday entitlement, shouldn’t we be embracing these extra days? According to a recent study, a quarter of us hard working Brits fail to take all of our annual leave each year, and on- in-five of those returning from holiday are anxious about going back to work! Hardly a healthy attitude to adopt; what these individuals are failing to recognise is the overall cost of having to take time off due to sickness (a probable outcome should you consistently burn yourself out at work) is estimated to reach £32 billion per year.
Most knowledge workers now own a smartphone, iPad, laptop or all three, meaning we are increasingly connected to the rest of the world, wherever we are. Perhaps it’s those that are confident in their ability to remain in contact, and who have the devices and technology which allows them to remain connected to the office, colleagues or clients, who are more than happy to spend time away from their desks.