7 July 2015

Most British employees are working during at least part of their annual leave and the number doing so is rising — up now to 61% from 54% in 2013.

Furthermore, nearly three-quarters (73%) of staff admit to being more stressed ahead of their holidays, while almost one in five (18%) return to work feeling more stressed than when they left.

These figures, taken from a new study of more than 1000 UK workers by the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM), clearly suggest that holidays are not nearly as relaxing as they should be.

With modern technology meaning that workers are contactable anytime and anywhere, it is perhaps not surprising that many (64%) feel obliged to read and send emails during their time off and (28%) to take business phone calls, but 8% actually go into the office.

This situation seems to becoming almost accepted given that barely a quarter (28%) of those surveyed reported arguments with friends and family about their working on holiday, down from 37% two years ago.

ILM Chief Executive Charles Elvin said: "Our survey paints a picture of an over-stressed workforce, who feel they cannot afford to switch off out of fear of falling behind on workloads. It is crucial that people are able to make the most of their time off work to fully relax, reflect and recharge. This allows them fresh perspective and energy to tackle their work on return from holiday."

What people do not want, although a massive 81% have to put up with it, is coming back to an overflowing email inbox. The ILM advises against opening your email account immediately on return to work, suggesting that catch-up meetings with team members might be a better alternative.