January 16, 2024
A recent study by Forbes Advisor claims that a quarter (25 percent) of UK employees will work between three and four hours on days when they are officially “off the clock”. The survey found that the average Brit will spend up to two-and-a-half hours working while technically having a day off on holiday or leave.
While some may do it out of dedication, three in 10 (30 percent) employees said working when they aren’t officially meant to be is the only way they can deliver what is expected of them by their employers. In this case, being “off” but working anyway includes annual leave, weekends and bank holidays, whether they are spent in the UK or abroad.
Replying to work messages or emails was the most common task done while being clocked out (48 percent), while one in six people (15 percent) joined and participated in work meetings. The study also showed that nearly a quarter of people (23 percent) take their work phone or laptop with them on holiday in case they have to work while travelling.
With this in mind, it is perhaps not surprising half of all employees think that having to do any sort of work while being off means they are unable to enjoy their holidays fully. When it comes to remote workers specifically, close to three in 10 (28 percent) agree that their status as a remote worker means their employer expects them to do more work out of hours than their office-based counterparts.
- One in four (25 percent) workers spend up to four hours working on their days off
- On average, employees will spend two and a half hours working while officially ‘off the clock’
- Three-in-10 (30 percent) say that completing work tasks on holiday is the only way they are able to keep up with their work
- Close to a quarter (23 percent) of employees will take their work laptop or phone with them on holiday, even if they do not usually work remotely
- Half (50 percent) agree that completing work tasks while off means they are unable to properly enjoy their holidays
- Close to three-in-10 (28 percent) remote employees believe that working remotely means their employer expects them to work while on holiday.
Kevin Pratt, business expert at Forbes Advisor, commented: “Going into the new year, many will have taken the resolution to improve their work-life balance. This study shows that this is easier said than done. Even if we ignore the extremes of those working nearly a half-day extra while off, a couple of hours can still be enough to rob someone of the relaxed state of mind that anyone should enjoy while away from work.
“Our findings also highlight one of the downsides of remote working – that if you work from home, you’re never really away from work, even if you’re on holiday in another country. This is something for employers to ponder as they work out how to help their employees work efficiently while still enjoying a sensible and healthy work-life balance.”