Brits are losing valuable days of annual leave because they’re too anxious to take the time off that they’re entitled to. New research by travel comparison website TravelSupermarket has found that only 75 per cent* of all full-time British workers took their entire holiday entitlement over the past 12 months while six per cent still had seven days or more left in the bank when it expired. Of those who regularly take time off throughout the year, one in five admitted they return to work feeling more anxious than before they left.
For 46 per cent of Brits, their biggest consideration when booking their annual leave is matching their time off with that of their partner’s or the family’s. This is followed by the cost of a holiday (34 per cent) and the ‘implications’ their holiday may have on their employer (20 per cent). With many British workers set to take their main 2012 holiday over July and August** switching off will be near impossible for 13 per cent who still end up checking emails and taking work phone calls while poolside or sightseeing.
Almost half of all Brits (45 per cent), view annual leave as ‘vital’ to their mental and physical health and keeping them motivated throughout the year. Being organised is key when booking out the year’s holidays and almost one in five (17 per cent) of British workers are already making the most of this year’s Bank Holidays by booking their annual leave around them.
Once we arrived at our destination, almost 80 per cent of British workers said they started to relax almost immediately, seven per cent said it takes them up to five days while six per cent said they never felt fully relaxed on holiday.
TravelSupermarket’s travel expert Bob Atkinson says: “The best advice I can give all UK workers is to be organised well in advance, this will help you to book, and keep, your holiday allocation. If you’re planning a summer getaway, now really is the time to start looking into flights and accommodation to not only make sure you bag the best bargain but also to have something to look forward to.
“As hard as it may be, switching off your phone while you’re away will not only make your holiday more enjoyable, it will make your companion or family’s trip even better. There’s nothing worse than holidaying with someone who is continually taking calls or responding to emails. If you can’t go cold turkey, try and check your phone just once a day and you’ll feel more relaxed and less anxious for it.
This research by TravelSupermarket also found that the a third of all Brits will start their 2012 annual leave allocation in April which heralds a clean slate and a chance to book some quality time off over the next 12 months.
Atkinson continued: “For those Brits whose leave runs from January to December, it may come as a shock to hear a quarter of the year is now behind them. However, now is a good time to book a holiday or two, secure the time off work and really have something to look forward to later this year”.
Commenting on the findings by TravelSupermarket, Michael Gentle, spokesperson at Monster UK and Ireland has this advice for workers: “Taking your full annual leave allocation is a win-win situation for employers as well as employees as it ensures staff are fully rested and as productive as possible when they return.
“Not only that, but by contract and by law you’re entitled to a certain amount of annual leave, so make sure you take it. If you know there is a time of year when lots of other people in the office will want to go on holiday, get in there early, or plan an alternative time”.
Bob Atkinson’s top tips for making the most of your annual leave in 2012:
* Book your time off, flights and accommodation as early as possible to avoid disappointment
* Switch off! Turn your Blackberry or smartphone off while you’re away or if you have to, check it once a day
* If you’re running low on annual leave or want to make it last longer, book your holidays around this year’s Bank Holiday bonanza
* Don’t feel guilty. If you’re entitled to annual leave, you need to use it or lose it becauseat the end of the day, you’ve earned it
* Step out of your comfort zone! If you go somewhere completely different you won’t be reminded of home or the office and should return to work feeling refreshed and relaxed.