Holidays aren’t as restful as they should be, with three quarters (76%) of employees admitting to taking work away with them when they depart for annual leave and 81 percent checking in with the office while they’re away.
Research from HR consultancy Peninsula revealed that being unable to switch off from work during annual leave can cause problems in employees’ personal life, with 47 percent of respondents saying their partner is unhappy when they have to commit holiday time to work.
Alan Price, HR director of Peninsula, said:
“It would appear that taking a holiday is no longer about escaping from the grind of your daily routine, but instead involves balancing your time enjoying the sun with keeping on top of your workloads.
“Many employees find themselves unable to fully relax on holiday as they are worried about falling behind on deadlines and prefer to stay ahead of their heavy workloads. This can result in employees returning to work feeling more stressed than when they left.”
The stress employees may feel when returning from their holiday is confirmed by further research commissioned by mental health charity Mind.
Over a third of respondents in a survey of 1,250 British workers said they often feel worried or apprehensive the night before returning to work after the weekend. 28 percent admitted to checking their emails outside of working hours.
Employers could hold some of the blame for their staff’s inability to detach. Mind’s research found that a quarter of employees (24%) had been contacted by their boss during periods of annual leave and just half (50%) said that their manager respects that they have a life outside of work.
Emma Mamo, Head of Workplace Wellbeing at Mind, said:
“We all need a good work/life balance to help unwind, de-stress and stay mentally healthy. While many of us have to work outside normal office hours from time to time, we all need a break away from work in order to be at our best when we return. Encouraging a clear distinction between work and life is just one thing employers need to do to create a mentally healthy workplace. It’s not acceptable for staff to be contacted while they’re on annual leave unless it’s an emergency and there’s no alternative.”
Alan Price from Peninsula added:
“As employers we should be encouraging our staff to utilise their annual leave to take respite, to restore their energy levels and relax their mind, so they return to work feeling refreshed and ready to take on the challenges ahead. Answering calls from the office or emailing colleagues and management detracts from the whole purpose of taking a holiday.”