SME employees expected to work on holiday


Date: 9 July 2019

Employee working while on holiday

Three in ten SME employees will work at least once a day during their summer holiday, according to new research.

An online survey of 1,000 employees working in UK small businesses was conducted by TLF Research for Process Bliss. The findings show that more than two-thirds (67%) of those polled said they will work at some stage during their summer holidays.

A minority (8%) said they would have to work multiple times each day. The findings highlight changing expectations in the workplace, with 45% of SME employees saying that their clients expect them to be available during their summer holiday and 41% saying that their boss expects them to be available.

"While working during the summer holidays might sound horrific to some people, working patterns and habits have changed and in 2019 people don't all feel the need for a complete break," said Alister Esam, ceo of Process Bliss.

"That said, many people still want and deserve a complete break from work and if they are working because they don't trust others to get work done or that they believe things will be missed without them, then that is unacceptable and needs to be addressed."

The main reasons given by SME employees for working while on holiday are:

  • They can't relax without knowing things are being done (36%);
  • They feel they are being conscientious (28%);
  • They worry that something important will be missed (24%);
  • They don't trust colleagues to keep on top of everything (16%);
  • The think they are the only one who can do their job (13%).

In addition, 10% of employees polled admitted that they use work as an excuse to get away from their family and 7% said they work because they get bored on holiday.

Of those that work during their holidays, 67% will check email, 34% will call the office for updates, 28% will have direct contact with customers or suppliers and 17% will tackle reports or other written work.

"No-one should ever be expected to work during holidays, or feel that the SME they work for cannot manage for a few weeks without them," added Esam.

"There's also a clear difference between a few quicks checks on email and spending every day of a holiday working. SMEs need to put in place better training programmes to ensure people can take a full break, or establish proper processes for tasks and roles so others in the organisation can follow those and ensure everything gets done as it should do."

Written by Rachel Miller.

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