With over half a million UK employees experiencing work-related stress management issues such as burnout, it’s never been more important to take scheduled breaks from the workplace.
Staff with children are often forced into their breaks by the advent of the school holidays. But if you are a young professional, it’s likely that you aren’t taking enough planned holiday to help you switch off, recuperate and recover. You may be thinking about taking a city break, going backpacking with friends or perhaps taking a cruise?
So why is it so important to take a break? And why are so few of you taking what you’re legally entitled to?
Are You Taking Enough Holiday?
Recent research has revealed a staggering 83.3% of all UK employees didn’t take their full entitlement of annual leave last year. This is particularly interesting as 65.1% of those surveyed could not that carry that unused leave over.
But why is this the case?
According to the Trades Union Congress (TUC), the drop in holidays taken from work stems from a “post-recession guilt culture”. A recent report highlighted that heavier workloads, tighter deadlines, and threatened job security, has led to a culture of guilt tripping.
Staff are now afraid to take necessary breaks from work, amid fears about the impact it would have on their colleagues and clients.
Why It’s Beneficial to Take Regular Holidays
There are a multitude of benefits to be gained by taking regular breaks from work. But let’s start with the health benefits.
Taking a holiday can help to prevent and alleviate sickness symptoms associated with overworking. By taking a complete break from the workplace, you can rejuvenate the mind and recover from working in what can be a stressful environment.
This greatly reduces your chances of developing mental health problems that stem from stress and overextending yourself in the workplace.
Additionally, if you head to warmer climes, the extra doses of vitamin D from the sun will help to fight depression, provide a boost to your immune system, and even potentially help you to lose weight.
Increases in Performance
By taking a break, you will help to improve your overall performance levels. You also greater protect yourself from work-related stress issues such as burnout or anxiety.
Not only will you perform your tasks better but you will likely to absent less often due to sickness, benefiting both you and your employer. This increased presence will allow you to be more productive, potentially leading to performance-related pay increases and rewards.
Better Work/Life Balance
Taking a holiday gives you the opportunity to gain new experiences, greater understand foreign and regional cultures and create new memories.
For those of you with children, they provide an excellent opportunity to have precious family bonding time. For those of you without, you can use them to spend time with the friends and family that you don’t get to see on a day-to-day basis.
What Constitutes a Holiday?
Most of you will associate holidays with images of jetting off to new and exciting destinations.
But research has shown that many employees misuse their annual leave.
Travel firm Airtours revealed that 163 million annual leave days were wasted in 2016. With employees admitting that at least 7 days of annual leave were spent at home doing household chores.
Using your holiday time to switch focus from professional work to household work can be dangerous, since you are not taking time for your body and mind to sufficiently recover.
With many citing costs and the fall in the value of the pound as a concern for taking a holiday to a foreign destination, it’s important to remember you can still take a worthwhile break whilst remaining in the UK.
This is particularly the case during the warmer summer months, where temperatures can easily reach over 30 degrees in southern regions.
Protecting Your Health During Your Trip
Depending on where you are heading, you may need to take certain precautions to make sure your body is protected from damage.
One of the most obvious threats is sunburn.
With over 35% of UK holiday makers saying they suffered from sunburn whilst away, and a further 28% admitting they had burned themselves three times or more within the last twelve months, it’s crucial to pack high factor sunscreen no matter your destination.
Sunburn aside, if you are travelling to more exotic destinations, you will also need to check what travel vaccine you require before your trip. Perhaps you need a yellow fever jab or malaria medication for your trip. Why not use our handy travel vaccine checker, to see what you require before setting off? You can even book an appointment online at a nearby clinic.
DocHQ Ltd is a Health Tech company improving choices. We help you connect efficiently to health support and advice whether you are at home, work or travelling. See our website for our services or call us on 0330 088 0645.