A recent survey of small to medium sized businesses around the UK by Euroffice.co.uk shows employees are finding it difficult to completely tear themselves away from the office – despite it being the summer holiday period.
Euroffice.co.uk, the UK’s leading online office supplier, asked 549 office workers across the UK if they’ll be contacting the office while on holiday this summer – and more than 1 in 3 (35%) said yes. Of those, the majority (38%) said they will check in just “a few times” throughout their entire holiday. However, worryingly, 22% admitted they will be touching base once a day with a further 8% going so far as to contact the office several times a day.
Their reasons for checking in are overwhelmingly related to an inability to switch off – 56% admitting they will be touching base because “staying on top of things makes returning from holiday easier”. One in 5 (21%) simply confessed they “just can’t disconnect completely from work”.
And for the less conscientious amongst us, it looks like technology is making life harder – not easier – for us to go AWOL for the afternoon or day. Despite the array of Blackberries, mobile phones and instant messaging services behind which to potentially hide, only 41% of those surveyed said technology has made it easier to bunk off without the boss noticing.
Perhaps not surprisingly, when quizzed about bunking off, nearly 3 out of 4 (74%) respondents said they never do it. But of those who admitted doing it, 37% said they’ll be bunking off less this summer – primarily because they have “too many deadlines to meet” or “too heavy a workload to shirk” (38%). A further 34% said it’s because they want to boost or advance their careers and 21% are simply anxious about their job security.
Simon Drakeford, group CEO of Euroffice, said:
“During the summer, it’s very tempting to skip work for a day or two to enjoy the sunshine or get an early start on a holiday. However, with things still pretty tough out there, employees are questioning their job security and prospects. Understandably, many see it as being in their best interest to work harder and put in the extra effort instead of bunking off. What’s unfortunate, though, is that our survey reveals that many diligent office workers are finding it increasingly difficult to leave their work behind and relax while taking their annual leave. Ultimately, the extra stress will begin to take its toll – and this can negatively affect employees as well as the business.”
Some of the best (or worst) excuses cited by respondents to the Euroffice.co.uk survey in order to bunk off included “my budgie is ill”, “my bath fell through the ceiling”, “I tripped over the cat and fell down the stairs” and “my daughter has a raisin stuck up her nose”.
Euroffice.co.uk’s survey was conducted online from June 15 to July 8, 2009.