Nation of workaholics misses point of summer break


We’re proud of all of our candidates here at Adecco, because we know you work really hard. You’re committed, motivated, and always push yourself to perform; and we think that’s quite representative of the UK’s workforce as a whole.

We’re a hardworking bunch, but when it comes to taking time out, it seems that not all of us are getting the rest we deserve. In fact, one in ten workaholics will spend three hours a day working while they’re on holiday, and one in four will hit their smartphones from the sunbeds to keep their hand in*. And that’s the doubled edged sword of new technology: blackberries, tablets and conference calling have all made working flexibly incredibly easy, but they’ve also made it far too tempting to work when you should be making the most of some down time.

The whole point of a summer break is, well, the clue’s in the name. It’s a chance to unwind, spend some precious time with your friends, family, or significant other, and clear your head of the strains and stresses of work — ready to come back feeling refreshed and reenergised. But you’re never going to achieve any of that if your hand is glued to your smartphone and your head is back in the office.

You know as well as us that when you’re stressed, every element of your life suffers — including your standard of work; so if you don’t give yourself adequate time to unwind, you’ll be far less productive in the long run. When you stay switched on to the office during your jolly holidays, you’re giving yourself more work, failing to enjoy your well deserved break, and damaging your ability to consistently perform well. Sounds like a lose-lose situation to us.

So what can you do about it? Well for a start, you can ask your colleagues not to contact you — unless there’s a real emergency — while you’re on annual leave. And if you’re going away, whether that’s in the UK or abroad, leave anything work-related behind; that includes your work laptop, work phone, or work blackberry. That way, you won’t even be tempted to sneak a peak at those emails. They can wait.

It’s also a good idea to plan your last week at work so that you can set about tying up any loose ends. You’ll find it easier to relax — and to switch off — if you can carry out a proper handover before your summer jaunt. And if there’s no one to handover to, just make sure that everyone you deal with on a daily or weekly basis knows that you’re going to be off the radar for a little while.

And lastly, don’t forget to put your out of office on. Not only will people know to leave you be, it’s also very psychologically satisfying to sign out.

Over and out.

*According to a study in HR Magazine.