More than half (53%) of people have had to work while taking time off in the past 12 months, according to a new study from Forbes Advisor, the financial guidance and price comparison platform. Survey data was obtained from a survey commissioned by Opinium on behalf of Forbes Advisor with a sample size of 2000 UK adults on 17 November 2023.
Work-life balance: what’s that?
On average, those who work while on leave spend two-and-a-half hours per day on various tasks. Almost half of these people (48%) reply to work emails or messages and nearly a third (32%) have completed administrative tasks. Almost a quarter (23%) have taken their work laptop or phone away with them on holiday, while one in five (18%) continue to work as normal while off the clock.
One in five (22%) have worked while on holiday, either in the UK or abroad. In terms of bank holidays, 14% of UK workers have previously worked on Easter Sunday, 13% have worked on Boxing Day, while 11% have worked on Christmas Day.
The most common reason (24%) for working on holiday is because people feel a responsibility to reply when a colleague messages them. A further 18% state that they get stressed if they miss things while being away. 16% of employees use their time off to review and set work related goals for themselves. One in 10 (9%) fear not being viewed as a team player if they do not work on holiday.
Three out of 10 (28%) hybrid and remote employees believe that working remotely means they are expected to do work on holiday more than office workers. Only 44% of office-based employees have worked while off the clock, compared to 64% of hybrid and remote workers.
Despite half (50%) of UK employees stating that working on holiday means that they are unable to fully relax, three out of 10 (30%) believe that working while on holiday is the only way to stay on top of their workload.
The pressure of being “always available”
Kevin Pratt, business expert at Forbes Advisor, says:
The workplace has changed massively over the last few years, including the rise of remote working, but it seems many employees still face the pressure of being ‘always available’.
Holidays can be a useful time to reflect on work-related goals, but undertaking work-related tasks while away can be detrimental to the primary purpose of having a break. Checking emails and messages may seem quick and harmless, but doing so can contribute to the overall feeling of being unable to fully relax while off the clock, especially if they require or trigger significant further action.
As Christmas approaches, it is important to manage your workload effectively and set expectations with your manager, and to have the time off you need to reset.
Featured image via ArseniiPalivoda – Envato Elements