HR & Management

The definitive business advent calendar: 24 December – Are you getting sufficient rest?

3 min read

24 December 2015

While recent research has found that small business owners find it hard to take a holiday without staying in touch with the business, employees also expect their boss to try and get in touch with them when they take time off.

The mental health charity commissioned an online YouGov poll and found that 24 per cent of workers said their employer had tried to contact them while on holiday.

As such, it suggested that the boundaries between work and life are becoming very blurred.

Head of workplace wellbeing at Mind, Emma Mamo, said: “We all need a good work/life balance to help unwind, de-stress and stay mentally healthy. With modern technology and our increasingly busy lives, the boundaries between our jobs and personal lives are becoming blurred. 

“While many of us have to work outside normal office hours from time to time, we all need a break away from work in order to be at our best when we return. Encouraging a clear distinction between work and life is just one thing employers need to do to create a mentally healthy workplace. Its not acceptable for staff to be contacted while they’re on annual leave unless it’s an emergency and there’s no alternative.

“Staff are happier, healthier, more likely to be loyal and productive if they work for an organisation which puts in place measures that promote mental, wellbeing, such as flexible working hours and generous annual leave. With stress now the number one cause of sickness absence in the UK, it’s in employers interests to ensure that they look after the wellbeing of their staff. This includes rewarding employees for their hard work by ensuring their time off is exactly that so they can come back refreshed and at their best.”

This was echoed by absence management expert Adrian Lewis of Activ Absence, who claimed that staff holiday existed for a reason – “that is because people need a break in order to function at their best”.  

He claimed that just because your people can now be contacted anytime, anywhere thanks to advances in modern technology, does not mean that it is good practice to do so.

“In our experience, businesses that encourage a good home/work balance, who plan staff holiday effectively and who have a proper strategy for sickness absence are the businesses with higher profits and less stressed staff,” he said. “Hopefully this research from Mind will reinforce the message that staff holiday is a positive thing for UK employees.”

The same goes for employers! Time off is needed to eradicate increasing stress levels.

Thank you for joining us for our business advent adventure, we look forward to creating a new one for you all in 2016. In the meantime, we’ve got an exciting January ahead of us!