Just back from holiday and feeling more washed out than when you went? It would seem you’re not alone. Research released today shows that a quarter of us return to work tired and one in ten (11%) feel more stressed than before we left, indicating that holidays can be counterproductive.
One in five (21%) respondents went so far as to say that they feel so bad on their return to work that they want to change jobs.
We also admit not taking holidays that are owed to us, leaving the average worker out of pocket by £54 per year. This can cost the working nation around £1,58bn. One in eight of us (13%) cite high workload as the reason we are unable to take annual leave, and one in ten claim that conflict with other staff holidays prevents us from taking them.
The trend is upsetting the UK’s work-life balance says David Saul, managing director of serviced office operator Business Environment who commissioned the research: “Coming into work should, above all, be an enjoyable experience and if people are tired and feel under intense pressure following a break, then there is little chance of that. We shouldn’t need to take a holiday to get over a holiday.
“The number of days sucked into the ‘holiday black hole’ is also a worry, since this is time we can never claim back. Employees are not only entitled to take their full paid leave, but it’s an important part of helping them to feel motivated and happy in the workplace.”
Even when we’re on holiday, a quarter of us (26%) continue to check work emails or take calls, largely because we can’t stop worrying about work (30%) or feel guilty about pressures on fellow colleagues (24%).
Yet despite feeling ‘chained to their desks’, workers insist that holiday allowance is more important than salary, with one third of us (30%) saying we would prefer an increased holiday allowance to the equivalent in pay. This was most noticeable with the over 55s.
Saul added: “The ‘loadsamoney’ era that characterised the 80s is long gone, with salary no longer the be-all and end-all for the majority of employees. Our research shows that people are now keen to claw back their work-life balance.
“It’s up to business-owners to support employees when flexibility around work is required and in my experience this really does pay dividends; reducing absence, building loyalty and increasing motivation in the workplace.”
Research also revealed that a quarter of workers (24%) suffer from holiday sickness following a break.
Regionally, employees from Northern Ireland are least likely to take holidays, missing out on 1.1 days on average per year, which they put down to high workload. People from the East Midlands on the other hand are most likely to take theirs, with eight in 10 (81%) ensuring that they take every day owed to them.
A third of Londoners (30%) are unable to switch off while on holiday, resorting to checking emails or taking calls. They are also some of the most likely to want to change jobs on their return (22%) along with the Welsh (25%) and workers from the South West (23%).
The survey was run by ONEPOLL on a sample of 5,000 UK respondents.
It was completed on 19 July 2011.
Go to www.onepoll.com for more details.