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More than half of workers feel obligated to work on holiday, according to a new study by the Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM).
The ILM survey of more than 1,000 UK workers and managers found that 64% read and send emails during their time off, 28% take business phone calls and 8% go into the office.
Meanwhile, only 28% of those surveyed reported that they had had arguments with friends and family about their working on holiday, down from 37% two years ago. The ILM says that, considering the increase in those working through their holidays, this “seems to indicate that it is fast becoming the norm to be constantly switched on”.
Charles Elvin, Chief Executive of the Institute of Leadership & Management, said: “Britain’s workforce is not making the most of their annual leave. Our survey paints a picture of an over-stressed workforce, who feel they cannot afford to switch off out of fear of falling behind on workloads.
“It is crucial that people are able to make the most of their time off work to fully relax, reflect and recharge. This allows them fresh perspective and energy to tackle their work on return from holiday.”
The poll also revealed that the prospect of an upcoming holiday caused 73% of workers to feel more stressed out – up from 71% in 2013 – with 68% staying late in the office the day before.
Almost one in 5 (18%) come back from their holiday more stressed than when they left. Part of the reason for this, says the ILM, might be that 81% of staff are faced with overflowing email inboxes on their return.
More than half of workers still have holiday entitlement when they get to the end of the year, with 42% of managers saying they have to encourage their staff to take a break.
Elvin added: “Finding work-life balance is easier said than done. But organisations can foster positive work environments by encouraging staff to use their full holiday allowance, hand over responsibilities to co-workers in the lead up to leave and have face to face meetings on their return.”