Head for a place in the sun - before you burn out1 !
One in five workers in Britain does not take the full holiday entitlement2, according to recent research by Travel Choice. A survey published by the Chartered Institute of
Personnel & Development in March found that among managers and administrators, craft workers3 and professionals4 working "long hours"- ie over 48 hours a week - 20 % said they took fewer than 10 days holiday in the last calendar year, and 22 % of self-confessed workaholics said they took no days off at all.
The message coming through from long-hours workers appears to be that individuals should have the right to choose to work them but that employers should intervene if the hours become excessive. However, these same workers do not believe they have achieved a good balance between work and home life.
"We see a lot of people who go on holiday with their laptops5. If you are able to get more flexibility in your life by combining holidays and work, it's all the better for you ; but if it encroaches on your life, that's no good," says Mike Emmott, adviser on employee relations. He points out that if you are under stress for a particular reason and people tell you to take a holiday, it doesn't always work. The problem that is causing stress is still with you. At the corporate level, a large component is the ego trip6 : the belief that you are so important that the place cannot function without you. Middle and junior managers, who want to get on in an increasingly competitive world, see devotion to the job as the only way forward.
And those who feel insecure are caught in a culture of fear - "Will my job still be there when I return from holiday ?"
A former computer consultant looks back to the days when she never took holidays and says firmly : "I was wrong. I could never see a cut-off point. I loved my work an enjoyed it much more than lying on a beach or wandering around in museums. But I now realise