Work overload is scaring managers from taking time out

The
UK is in danger of becoming a nation too afraid to put its feet up and go on
holiday, according to a survey conducted by the Chartered Management Institute.

More
than 3,000 managers were questioned, and the Institute found that work overload
has reduced the number of managers prepared to use their full holiday allowance
each year. 

However,
the UK’s managers also reveal a wide range of musical and literary tastes to help
ease them out of ‘work mode’.

Only
half (53 per cent) claimed to use their full holiday entitlement, compared with
66 per cent last year.  The survey found
that many managers blame work commitments for their growing failure to take a
proper break.  Most managers (76 per
cent) suggested that their professional responsibilities have affected their
holidays, with many claiming to interrupt their time off to attend to work
duties.

Key
causes of work interfering with holidays were identified as:

·
In-tray influx: more than one-fifth are concerned about the work waiting for
them and 41 per cent expect to have to deal with more than 100 e-mails on their
return after just one week away.  Three
per cent have more than 500 e-mails waiting for them

·
Project pressure: one-quarter claimed that the need to ensure project deadlines
were met resulted in them working on holiday, with 4 per cent breaking from
their annual leave to attend meetings

·
Difficulty delegating: 22 per cent admitted that they find it hard to let go of
responsibilities and give work to colleagues

·
The ‘novel’ approach: 20 per cent spend their holiday time catching up with
urgent background reading to keep on top of work-related issues, and 74 per
cent read newspapers to see what is happening at home

·
Employment enjoyment: love of the job was identified by 25 per cent as a core
factor in their choice to work on holiday

Even
when managers are not actually working on holiday, they increasingly try to
keep in touch with their colleagues. 
More than a quarter take a laptop or PDA away with them specifically to
access work, and almost half (43 per cent) leave contact details with their
employer (up from 29 per cent in 2003).

However,
the signs are that managers recognise the need to have a break from work.  Eight in 10 (85 per cent) suggest that any
time away from the office recharges their batteries, 11 per cent say it
rejuvenates interest in their careers and 45 per cent suggest that it makes
them question their current working lifestyle.

As
far as respite is concerned, when asked about the relaxation music of choice,
the most frequent response was ‘classical’, followed by so-called ‘chill out’
tracks.  Managers identified Mozart and
Beethoven as their most popular composers and ‘chill out’ music was described
as anything written or performed by The Beatles, Beach Boys, Fleetwood Mac or
Coldplay. 

When
managers are not catching up on work-related reading, their favoured authors
are John Grisham, Terry Pratchett and Bill Bryson.  Most seek light reading, humour or intrigue in the books they
choose to take on holiday. The least popular genre is horror.

By Quentin Reade

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