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The average Brit only gets to enjoy eight days of annual leave each year – because the rest of the time is taken up with ‘domestic admin’, a study has revealed. Despite having a typical allowance of around 24 days a year, researchers found the majority of that time is spent catching up on household chores, DIY projects or even doing the weekly food shop.
Looking after sick children, attending funerals and even going to medical appointments also make a very depressing dent in our annual holiday entitlement.
60% even claimed they regularly have days off where they feel more tired and stressed out than they would have done if they had been in the office, because they are doing anything but relaxing.
Psychologist, Dr. Linda Papadopoulos said:
”We are working longer hours with over a third of us spending more time with our boss than with our partners or friends.
”In fact we’re still connected to the office even when we’ve taken annual leave, which means we aren’t even getting a break on weekends because were often working.
”These work pressures mean we don’t have much down time – and not taking the time to unwind and spend time with friends and family can negatively impact our work- life balance and general well-being.
”In the same way we take responsibility for doing our job well, we also need to take responsibility for our self-care skills, and this involves putting up appropriate boundaries between work and home and also making a concerted effort to take time off, not just to catch up on domestic admin but to genuinely unwind and reconnect with friends and family.
”With 40% of respondents in the survey noting that vacations are the only real time they get to spend quality time with their families, its important that people are encouraged to use more than the eight out of 24 days annual leave they are currently using and gain a better work-life balance.”
The study of 2,000 workers found that each year, they are entitled to take 24 days off work, but just nine days of that is actually spent away on holiday or short breaks.
And of that, workers feel that they only relax for just eight days of it due to the travelling.
Instead, 40% use some of their time off to catch up on home improvements and DIY, while almost a third even take at least one day off each year to shop for birthday or Christmas presents.
Around 32% use part of their annual leave allowance to visit friends or relatives, 31% have to go to medical appointments and 28% even take time off simply to catch up on household chores.
A quarter of people take days off to attend funerals or weddings, while another 24% use annual leave to look after children who are too ill to attend school or nursery.
One in five make use of holiday allowance to go to their children’s school events like sports days and Christmas plays and 15% have even had to take time off because their partner was too ill to look after their children.
Researchers also revealed that even when Brits do take time out, over half continue to check emails and take calls from the office, with five million people checking emails hourly.
40% of Brits check their work email during social occasions such as their children’s music or dance performances, at weddings, whilst on a date and even in bed after sex.
And among those who have office jobs, two thirds of the UK’s workforce find themselves having to work at weekends, despite 85% believing that small breaks help them to be more productive at work.
A quarter of respondents have even cancelled annual leave due to work pressures, while over half of British workers feel unable to take all of their annual leave because they’re either too busy at work, feel guilty or are paranoid due to economic uncertainty.
Andrew Flack of Hilton Hotels and Resorts said:
”Vacationitis appears to be wide-spread, but has definitely hit full-time workers the hardest as they struggle to take time out for some uninterrupted holiday time.
”The traditional two week holiday continues to morph into shorter breaks in the UK, as almost half of the working population take anywhere between four and ten days for their holiday.”
TOP TEN REASONS FOR USING ANNUAL LEAVE
1. To catch up on home improvements
2. To go shopping for birthdays, holidays etc
3. Visiting friends or relatives
4. Attending medical appointments
5. To catch up on cleaning and household chores
6. Attend a funeral
7. Attend a wedding
8. To look after ill children
9. For an event relating to my children
10. Because my partner is ill and can’t look after the children