SUMMER holidays should be a time for workers to relax, but advances in technology means that many people top up their stress levels, rather than their tans when they go on annual leave.
Says a spokesperson: “Alarmingly, research conducted by the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM), revealed that over half of managers (54 per cent) feel compelled to work while on holiday, with many finding it hard to switch off their smartphones, which leads to a fifth of workers returning from annual leave more stressed than before they left.”
Empire, a leading Scottish employment law, HR and health and safety firm, is advising employers to plan ahead for holiday requests, and recommends that they should encourage workers to turn off their smartphones and leave their laptops at home.
HR manager at Empire, Donna Gibb, said: “Most businesses will see an increase in the amount of holiday requests during the summer time, especially in the case of working parents who are likely to ask for annual leave around the same time to tie-in with the school holidays.
“Summer months are especially busy so it is advisable for employers to plan ahead and perhaps put polices in place to restrict the amount of people off at one time. Business owners must ensure they balance the needs of the business whilst keeping staff happy and motivated with holiday rewards.”
The spokesperson added: “Under the Working Time Regulations 1998, a full-time worker is entitled to 28 days (5.6 weeks) statutory annual leave, inclusive of public holidays and failure to receive this may also be in breach of contract.
“Employers would be wise to encourage workers to utilise their full annual leave as it will ensure continued productivity, avoid problems with regulatory compliance and avoid risking the worker’s health for example, work-related stress.
“It is also important for employers to consider the extra workload caused by the sudden shortfall in staff absences in the summer months.
“Not only will staff left in the office feel under pressure with unexpected increase in work assignments, they could also be overstretched, which could affect their work performance and productivity.”
To help your business cut down holiday stress levels, employers should:
- Plan your absences – encourage your workers to prepare handovers so they can transfer work over to colleagues when on annual leave.
- Communication – is key. It is vital your workforce communicate not only with each other but also with key clients to explain they are on leave.
- Switch off - encourage workers to use their breaks for relaxation so they don’t feel obliged to check emails. Write a policy and send to all staff so they know what is required of them when on leave.
- Out of office - make this compulsory when staff go on holiday, and ensure staff provide alternative contact details for customers so enquiries can be dealt with before they return to work.
To find out more on Empire can help your business with holiday requests or any other HR issue, please contact us on 01224 701383 or visit www.empirehr.com.
Issued by Frasermedia Ltd on behalf of Empire.
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Contact: Jillian Sheran