Holidays too much like hard work for overworked managers

CMI’s latest survey of managers has found only half have booked a summer holiday, while 35 per cent are putting the brakes on their annual holiday plans. Workload is the overwhelming reason why, cited by 69 per cent of those who say they won’t use up their leave.

Even for those who do get away, most still plan to do some work. Only one third say they will “never” check their email on holiday, with 12 per cent checking in daily, 19 per cent taking a look “most days”, and over a quarter checking “once or twice” a week.

Managers report that holidaymaking is both a blessing and curse. While 88 per cent agree a good break refreshes them, a quarter put in more than eight extra hours the week before going away – with a similar number facing the same when they return. This is despite over half of those who work on holiday saying they do so to avoid the need to clear a backlog of work on their return.

Other common concerns for returning holiday makers include: forgetting their passwords, dealing with the consequences of bad decisions made in their absence and readjusting to early mornings and lengthy commutes.

The good news is those who overcome such obstacles to go on holiday are rewarded for their efforts. In addition to some well deserved rest and relaxation, they have a perfect opportunity to assess their careers. They have the time and space to reflect on what is and what isn’t working in their professional lives and can take positive steps to affect change.

Whether that’s reading a book to bone up on best practice, or deciding to gain a new qualification to boost future career prospects, making a commitment to ourselves is the first step to making our lives better.

Small changes can make a big difference, so even if the goal is simply to have a guilt free holiday next summer, by improving planning and time management techniques now, developing a team you can trust and cultivating a culture that recognises holidays actually improve business performance in the long run, you can make it happen.

Petra Wilton, CMI’s Director of Strategy says, “With the economy in a rut, managers are working harder and longer. It’s about time some of them took a well-earned break, which will pay dividends when they come back healthier, happier and full of renewed energy and enthusiasm. Of course taking time off can be tricky, but by arming yourself with the skills and techniques you need to manage yourself and your teams effectively, you can make the most of your time at work – and make it easier to take a break.”