July 16, 2013
Work pressures mean over half of managers plan to work on holiday
BYOD are either an aide to productivity or fuel unhealthy levels of presenteeism, depending on which piece of research you believe. In a survey (by mobile comms supplier) Citrix, 24 per cent of managers think that using BYOD while away from the office is the best way to avoid the average 25 per cent drop in productivity suffered by smaller businesses during the holiday period. This is borne out by data from the Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM) which found an overwhelming 80 per cent of managers check their Blackberries or smartphone on holiday, a third (33%) checking in every day, and 54 per cent feel compelled to work while on leave. The report suggests the issue isn’t the increasing use of mobile technology tools but how employers can be better prepared to ensure those on leave enjoy a proper break without a resultant loss of productivity.
ILM’s survey of over 1,200 managers found that over seven in 10 managers (71%) spent leave reading and responding to emails, nearly a third (31%) taking phone calls and one in 10 interrupting their holiday to go into the office. The fault lies not with the technology enabling them to sneak a peak at work, but rather their own worries over a mounting workload. The poll exposed that 71 per cent of managers feel extra stress in the run up to a holiday, with the majority (63%) having to work late to clear their desks before heading on leave. In total, 17 per cent return from holiday more stressed than when they left, with one in eight (13%) even questioning whether taking holiday is ‘worth it’.
Charles Elvin, Chief Executive of the Institute of Leadership & Management, said: “Our survey paints a picture of an over-stressed workforce. It is particularly worrying to see that such a large proportion of managers approach their holidays with a sense of trepidation and feel compelled to work when on annual leave.
“Stress can take its toll – not only on individuals’ wellbeing, but also on the productivity of the wider team and organisation. It is so important that people are able to make the most of their time off work to fully relax, reflect and unwind, so they can return to the office with renewed energy, fresh ideas and perspective.
“Organisations can increase positivity and performance by encouraging staff to plan for their leave, hand over their responsibilities, and ensure they switch off and recharge – both themselves and their Blackberries.”
Employers may need to think about ensuring their staff are granted the freedom to enjoy their leave as the survey also reveals that holidays can be a time when people start to re-think their career paths. Almost a third of managers (30%) had thought about changing or leaving their job while on holiday and, of those and 38 per cent had actually moved jobs as a result.
ILM offers some tips for cutting down holiday stress levels:
1. Plan for your absence – put together handover notes about the status of your work / projects and if you have people reporting to you give them clear guidelines on tasks they need to complete. Tie up any loose ends before you go on leave.
2. Make sure that you inform key contacts you will be away – this will cut down on the number of messages you are sent in your absence.
3. Try to plan your holiday timing wisely, so that you’re not away during critical stages of a project or right before a launch.
4. If you are planning to check work emails, establish ground rules and only do so once or twice a day and switch off your laptop or Blackberry in between.
5. Set up a detailed out-of-office reply for both your email and phone line. Include the dates you’ll be away and a person that can be contacted in your absence.
6. Do not open your email account straight away upon your return – catch-up meetings with team members might be a better alternative and save you trawling through emails.
July 16, 2013 @ 3:54 pm
Whilst this survey focuses on managers I would suggest that this affects all levels of the workforce. I and many of my peers are not managers, however the culture & expectation of being available regardless of whether you are on holiday or not has become ingrained in recent years.
Perhaps it is less to do with technology, and more to do with culture; the need to be needed, others lack of respect for your time, the expectation / assumption that if you desire to climb the career ladder you will make yourself available at any and every opportunity.
I would be interested to know other thoughts
July 17, 2013 @ 11:45 am
That’s a valid point as mobile comms just gives us the means to stay in touch, it’s the work culture which dictates that we feel we ought to be contactable at all times. But which came first? Just anacdotal, but my retired corporate exec father-in-law met an employee of his old firm on the train & noted how the younger man was expected to work as if in the office instead of, as my FIL put it, have a chance to unwind & mentally prepare for the next meeting. He was struck by the ceaselessness of the guy’s job.
Leave it out. UK workers are skipping their break from the office
August 20, 2013 @ 1:03 pm
[…] This new study follows data published by the Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM) earlier in the summer which found that more than half of managers felt compelled to work while on holiday and a massive 80 per cent of managers checked their smartphone regularly while on holiday. ILM offers some useful tips for cutting down holiday stress levels which you can read here. […]