60% of British workers would like their company to cut off access to their work emails when they go away on holiday, while 45% admitted that they checked their emails or other work-related communications whilst on their holidays.
20% of respondents said that they checked this more than once per day whilst they were away, and 19% said that they spent more than 20 minutes per day catching up with work whilst supposedly enjoying a break.
The survey by holiday company Oliver’s Travels suggests that the high proportion of people checking work-related email on their holidays is symptomatic of a wider addiction to the internet and social media. 50% said that they tried to reduce their use of digital media whilst away, but 56% admitted to being “addicted to checking social media or emails.” 37% checked every day during their holidays, while 29% looked at email/other communications every second day. Only 11% could manage to stay off all email and social media – whether work-related or not – throughout their entire holiday.
Oliver’s surveyed more than 1,400 employees across the UK.
Oliver Bell from OliversTravels.com said:
“Overuse of digital devices is increasingly being blamed for everything from burnout to sleeplessness as well as relationship problems, with many employees uncertain of when they should actually switch off. The rise in flexible working arrangements has created an apparent “always-on” work culture. I think this study shows British workers need protections put in place like the French & Germans have already started doing to ensure workers are able to properly enjoy their time off and return to work fully refreshed.
“Employees often feel they are judged on their commitment to their companies and their availability to work yet the workplace is changing as rapidly as technology, with more and more employees working remotely or with colleagues in other time zones. Some of the challenges that come with flexibility are managing those boundaries between work and life and being able to say no, I am not working now and I’m simply not available.”
The French Government has introduced a law requiring companies employing more than 50 people to have a ‘charter of good conduct’, which should specify certain hours of the day when employees are not expected to read or send work emails.
Before you start checking your work email whilst on holiday, ask yourself if it is really necessary to do so. Does your company really expect you to stay in touch?
KennedyPearce Consulting Ltd 1st Floor 50 St Mary Axe London, EC3A 8FR