Instead almost a quarter of us are knowingly giving up the time off which is rightfully ours in order to do more work than is necessary.
So it isn’t just bad enough that an increasing percentage of Brits can’t afford to go on holiday; now we’re failing to even take the time off work that we’re entitled to.
When so many of find ourselves daydreaming about white sandy beaches while sitting in meetings, why is it that we’re not making the most of the opportunities to really get away once and for all?
Sadly the research suggests that the most common reason, cited by 15% of respondents, is staffing issues. This covers anything from staff being off sick to being unable to find suitable cover. As a result many staff are feeling the need to work through their holidays in order to shore up the lacking staff situation at their employer.
In many ways this underlines how employers are letting down their staff by failing to plan staffing appropriately. When staff are contractually entitled to take holiday, yet their employer does not put the necessary steps in place to facilitate it, many workers simply just plough on.
Just as many people surveyed said they had failed to plan ahead and so were unable to use their entire holiday compliment before the holiday year ran out. Under such circumstances very few employers will allow their employees to carry over unused holiday so it is typically lost altogether.
Perhaps most disappointingly of all a noticeable 5% of those responding to the survey said that they had been actively discouraged from taking holiday that they were rightfully entitled too. Sadly, all too often it seems that those employees who forego their free time are seen as “dedicated” and may receive benefits in terms of pay rises and promotions.
A separate survey from Money Supermarket says that more than a million British workers expect to lose some of their holiday entitlement this year, amounting to a windfall of almost £600million in free work days for British businesses.
But it’s not just Brits that are experiencing this problem. A recent study from Expedia.ca found that Canadians lose out on an estimated 10 million days of holiday each year. If that number isn’t shocking enough, Canadians only receive an average of 17 days of holiday each year, yet only use 15.5.
This is a sad message, and one that we have encountered before. Failing to take holidays can have a negative effect on productivity and on how employees feel about their job. Employers need to stop rewarding those “dedicated” staff who work through their holidays, and instead start actively encouraging time away from the office in order to boost productivity on their return.