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Working on Holiday – Useful or Harmful?

We live in a hectic and stressful world. Long commutes, overtime hours, ignored lunch breaks, weekend meetings – these all contribute to a jam packed lifestyle. As a result, no one argues that employees in all fields deserve at least a few weeks off from work per year, time to relax, go on vacation, spend time with loved ones and pursue outside interests. That said, despite the fact that holiday days are a legally enshrined right and a common sense tradition, people in high stress industries are increasingly declining their right to take time away from work, and when they do they often interrupt their poolside RnR with countless emails, Skype calls and reports typed up on gadgets. A 2013 YouGov survey found that only 1 in 3 workers was taking their total annual leave – a move that could be a big mistake when it comes to their productivity and wellbeing.

 

Holiday Time – Vital to Your Success

Doctors and business experts agree – holidays are a necessity. Humans need a chance to relax and unwind, and holiday allotment allows us to recharge and return to the office environment with a fresh mind, clearer outlook and renewed physical energy. Leadership consultant Arabella Ellis, a director at The Thinking Partnership, agrees, telling the Telegraph that vacation time “lets your unconscious mind work out problems. It lets you decompress and repair and recharge and relax.” Holidays then need to be perceived by both employers and workers as “important things in their own right” and treated as a mandatory part of the financial year for a company’s success.

 

Working whilst on holiday – what’s the big deal?

Studies are increasingly showing that the Britons who are able to pull themselves away from the physical confines of their office are still technically on duty whilst they are on holiday. A recent poll about vacation work habits conducted by Regus found that a whopping 39% of employees admit to working up to three hours per day while on vacation, and 8% will be working even more than that.

It is impossible to feel completely rested while constantly checking in on the office, and therefore the myriad health and wellness benefits that time away from work can offer are mitigated and perhaps even reversed. If you are checking your work email constantly, you might as well be at your desk – before you leave for vacation, ensure you delegate your tasks and projects, set an auto-reply on your email and switch off all alerts on your smartphone and tablet (or even consider leaving them at home).

 

What should employers be doing?

An employer may feel nervous when the office star is heading out on annual leave, but just remember – their relaxing, uninterrupted leave will result in more productivity, and it is your legal duty. Ensure that you have sufficient staff to cover their share of the work, and always make sure that you are supportive and encouraging when employees share their plans to take holiday time away from work. Finally, if someone is resisting time away from the office, it is your duty to ensure that they take time off, a move that will benefit everyone in the long run.


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