With the school summer holidays upon us, many people are looking forward to a well-deserved break from work. Your out of office is on, you’ve packed your suitcase and printed your boarding pass, but you might still find yourself struggling to switch off from work. Particularly given new research from Mind has found that many of us can expect our boss to try to get in touch mid-holiday.
An online YouGov poll* commissioned by the mental health charity has found that 24 per cent of workers said their employer had tried to contact them while on holiday.
The survey of over 1,250 employees in Britain highlights how boundaries between work and life are becoming blurred. As well as a quarter of us having our holidays interrupted, many people are also anxious about coming back to their jobs, even after a short break. Over a third of respondents (36 per cent) said that they often worry or feel apprehensive the night before returning to work after the weekend.
Worryingly, the research also indicated that only half of respondents (50 per cent) said that their manager respects that they have a life outside work, while nearly 3 in 10 (28 per cent) admitted that they often check work email outside of work.
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. 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’re on annual leave unless it’s an emergency and there’s 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’s in employers’ interests to ensure that they look after the wellbeing of their staff. This includes rewarding employees for their hard work by ensuring their time off is exactly that so they can come back refreshed and at their best.”
Mind has a range of free resources for both employers and staff with tips on tackling the causes of stress and poor mental health at work. You might also like to take a look at our Workplace Wellbeing infographic.
*All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,015 adults, of which 1,251 were working. Fieldwork was undertaken between 29-30 October 2014. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+). This is the first time these statistics have been published publicly.