A Holiday from Work Should Mean Just That

The school summer holidays are here and for many parents across the UK that means taking a break from work and spending some quality time with the family. But while getting away from work for a while is something that people look forward to all year long a new study has shown that many employees find it hard to relax because there’s a good chance their boss will get in touch whilst they are away.

An online YouGov poll, commissioned by the mental health charity Mind, found that 24% of workers said their bosses had tried to contact them while they were supposed to be enjoying a break from work.

It’s a reality that doesn’t bode well for the mental health of employees, especially given the fact that four in 10 people have experienced depression, stress or anxiety over the last year, but not informed their employer.

Return to Work Anxiety

In fact, the survey of more than 1,250 UK employees also found that many feel anxious before returning to work, even after a short break. Over a third of respondents (36%) said they feel apprehensive or worried the night before returning to work after just having the weekend off.

Worryingly, the survey also discovered that just 50% of respondents felt their managers respected that they have a life outside of work. It is a situation that isn’t helped by the fact that 28% said they often check their work emails when they are not working.

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.

“With modern technology and our increasingly busy lives, the boundaries between our jobs and personal lives are becoming blurred. 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.

The Importance of a ‘Mentally Healthy Workplace’

“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 are on annual leave unless it is an emergency and there is no alternative.

“Staff are happier, healthier, more likely to be loyal and productive if they work for an organisation which puts in place measures that promote mental wellbeing, such as flexible working hours and generous annual leave.

“With stress now the number one cause of sickness absence in the UK, it is in employers’ interests to ensure that they look after the wellbeing of their staff.”

Premier Choice reinforces this message to its clients by telling them that employers need to ensure all their employees have a holiday break away from the office as it is important for everyone to get away from work to recharge their batteries. If their holidays are interrupted by work emails and phone messages, they are unlikely to return to the office fully refreshed and their performance may be adversely affected.


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Photo Credit: ClearFrost