Managers not taking proper holidays says survey

Summer holiday plans are in disarray as redundancy fears and the pressure to deliver results begins to take its toll across the UK. 

Based on the views of 1,484 respondents, the survey shows that one in four executives will not use their full holiday entitlement this year, preferring to ‘carry days over’ to 2009. The finding comes against a backdrop of redundancy rates doubling, to 3 per cent, over the past year and 23 per cent of employers admitting their staff fear restructuring and job insecurity.

The survey also indicates that ‘belt tightening’ is taking place at a business and personal level. For example, rather than spend money on a holiday, 37 per cent of individuals want to ‘exchange unused holiday time for cash’, but only 16 per cent of employers agree to this. Private healthcare is also sought in exchange for annual leave, yet only 2 per cent of organisations agree to the swap.

Respondents are also blaming a lack of support from employers for their ‘lack of rest’. Asked why they are unable to take their full holiday entitlement, 34 per cent cited extensive workloads. 31 per cent also claimed they have to use holiday time to care for dependents. Just 9 per cent said they have the option to give back unused holiday for flexible working options. The survey goes on to show that holiday plans have been affected by UK executives’ determination to remain employable. For example, 23 per cent use their holiday entitlement to develop skills making them ‘recession proof’, 49 per cent don’t want to let clients or colleagues down and 27 per cent are focused on ‘meeting project deadlines’.

Even if they do go on holiday, significant proportions continue to work. The survey reveals that 39 per cent regularly check work emails and 29 per cent dial-in to pick up voicemail messages. One in five also argue that it is a good time to ‘catch up on background reading’.

Jo Causon, director, marketing and corporate affairs at the Chartered Management Institute, says: “There is clearly a fear that ‘out of sight means out of mind’ but without a proper break individual performance can suffer and employers will notice mistakes more than they will absence through holiday. Individuals need to recognise this and use holiday time to recharge their batteries.”

According to the survey, there are signs that individuals recognise the value of holidays, even if they fail to follow their own advice. Three-quarters (74 per cent) actively encourage team members to use their full entitlement and 89 per cent say it helps refresh their enthusiasm for work. Asked about the impact of their line manager going on holiday, 57 per cent see it as a positive opportunity to ‘take on more responsibility’ and 48 per cent enjoy the chance to ‘work more closely with senior managers’.

[Photo: Nick Smith]

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