With August underway many employees in the UK are now heading off for their summer vacation.
However, whilst holidays are meant to be for relaxing, recuperating, spending time with family, friends, or taking time to focus on hobbies, for some it is just so difficult to switch off from the workplace.
HR Magazine have published a report on a 2,000 strong study which was recently undertaken by Glassdoor that found just half of employees will not be relaxing properly this summer and expected to be ‘reachable’ whilst on holiday.
Glassdoor also reported that nearly a quarter (23%) admitted to checking work emails while being away and 8% reported answering emails while under the influence of alcohol.
So instead of enjoying some free time with their nearest and dearest, they will try to juggle all the stress of work alongside disgruntled partners and disappointed children.
I then reflected upon my own recent holiday; every morning I awoke to beautiful blue sky, enjoyed a leisurely breakfast but was then drawn to editing my book. Then, some two to three hours later my husband would come in from outside and comment ‘you still there?’ Meaning I was still glued to my laptop and time has just passed me by. I then started to question myself in terms of what was happening here. It dawned on me that I was one of those one of the 16% of women who Glassdoor reported to worked on holiday for fear of falling behind.
I reflected upon some discussions I had had with a leadership team before my own holiday when several members of the team reported that they too would be working whilst on holiday; checking smart phones, emails and generally keeping a distant eye on what was happening back at the ranch.
I then felt somewhat reassured finding out that several other friends were also on a ‘workation’ and after enjoying some relaxing time they would be heading back to the laptop to do a few hours’ work. So, it seemed I wasn’t so unusual after all! But what was making us behave in this way?
For some, the need and expectations of some organisation for employees to keep on top of workloads and to increase productivity is perhaps ‘perceived’ but for some employees a reality. Employees may fear that if they are away from the office then key decisions may be made in their absence, including a possible fear that they may get back from holiday and suddenly have become surplus to requirements. .
For me, running my own business means it important to keep an eye on what is happening with my business; however with developments in technology such as Wi-Fi and smartphones it has placed us on the cusp of a flexible working revolution, allowing people to work at a time and location that best suit their requirements. But, these changes can also mean it’s all too easy, and all too tempting, to allow work to encroach on a precious family holiday.
Taking a break from work is absolutely vital for personal well being, to recharge batteries and reacquaint yourselves with family and friends, and companies should (if they don’t already) have policies in place to ensure that employees take suitable breaks from the workplace to do this. It is not conducive for employees to not take a break when they are feeling stressed out and anxious about the pressure of work as this can affect personal well being, impair thinking and impact upon productivity. The consequences of employees truly not taking a break are evident across Britain where stress has become the main cause for long-term sickness absence.
Equally for some, to have that sneaky peek at what is happening in the corporate world can, provide a level of comfort and in fact ease anxiety, thus making the uphill journey of returning back to work not such a mountainous climb.
So, I can relax back on my sun lounger now with my glass of wine, in the knowledge that I’ve done another chapter of editing, written my blog and all is good with the world.