Business benefits from workaholic managers

Most UK managers admit to working during their annual leave and more than one-third fail to take their full holiday entitlement, saving companies nearly £900m a year, according to research.

A Chartered Management Institute (CMI) survey of more than 6,000 managers, found that more than half (54%) contact their organisation by choice during holidays due to work overload. More than two-thirds (68%) also respond to requests from their employer while on leave.

This is despite the fact that employers encourage staff to have time off, with 66% of respondents reporting more than five weeks holiday entitlement, up from 56% in 2003.

The survey also showed that managers put in extra hours to make up for the time they lose by going on holiday. For a typical one-week break, the UK’s management community works an additional 36 million additional hours beyond their contractual requirements, which the CMI estimates represents a cost saving to UK organisations of £880m.

Even when they finally go on holiday, managers find it difficult to relax. Almost half (48%) regularly check their work e-mail and 43% monitor voicemail. In an effort to keep in touch with colleagues 57% take away their work mobile phones, 20% take their laptops and 14% regularly visit internet cafes.

Jo Causon, director of corporate marketing and public affairs at the CMI said: “It’s long been accepted that the pressure to perform has led to Britain becoming a nation of workaholics.

“However, the hours people put in at work do not always guarantee optimal results, because quantity is not the same as quality. Employers are certainly beginning to recognise this and are encouraging staff to take a proper break, but the onus must now be on managers to follow this lead.”

The signs are that, for those managers who do take their full holiday entitlement, a break is as good as a rest. Almost nine in 10 (87%) say that their annual holiday ‘fully recharges their batteries’ and 56% suggest it makes them question their work-life balance.

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