Spotlight on…Holidays

Posted on Tuesday, August 22nd, 2006 by

With holiday season in full swing this month, spare a thought for the thousands of executives who haven’t managed a departure from their in-tray, let alone the airport. A study by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) estimates that nearly 19 million holiday days are not taken each year – a cost benefit to UK plc of £3.5bn. Of the 553 managers surveyed, the majority (63%) were not using their full holiday allowance, whilst almost half (48%) were losing up to TWO WEEKS holiday each year because they failed to book time off. It’s not just UK execs who are feeling pressured by heavy workloads, but rather a global trend. Once the land of the long lunch, employees in Australia have accrued 70 million days leave, or around 14 million weeks, according to a survey by Tourism Australia earlier this year. According to the survey, those most likely to skip leave are men aged between 35 – 49 years old; that is, managers and executives usually responsible for overseeing other people’s leave. There are many perfectly legitimate reasons why people miss out on their annual leave – when two partners can’t get the same time off work, for example, or the increasingly popular choice of ‘cashing in’ i.e. exchanging days off for paid work / selling holiday time. But, for the quarter of respondents of the CMI survey who were concerned that deadlines would not be met if they stopped working to go on holiday, or the 17% who suggested that they found it hard to ‘let go’ (you know who you are!) we offer the following viewpoint: “The advantages of taking a break from work, no matter how ‘essential’ you feel you are to the business, greatly outweigh the drawbacks (a full inbox, for example), on your return,” says Suzannah Chapple. “A holiday is an opportunity to recharge your batteries and gain a different, perhaps clearer perspective that will be of benefit to the company when you come back to work. In the longer term, it’s a recipe for career success.” Now, pass me the sunscreen