Will you be working on your summer holiday?

Man working while trying to be on holiday. There is sand and flippers on the desk and the man is wearing goggles with a towel over his shoulder

As a business owner, you are probably looking forward to your annual holiday. However, how often do you find yourself working while taking a break with the family? And what about your employees, do you find they regularly check-in while on leave? Research has found that 3 in 10 S.M.E employees work at least once or more during their summer holiday.

A study carried out by Process Bliss has found that 67% of people who work for Small Medium Enterprises (S.M.E) will spend at least some time during their holiday working, with many working every day they are away.

While the majority of those will just be checking emails and getting updates from the office, 28% will maintain direct contact with customer and suppliers. Unsurprisingly, 17% will utilise the potentially quiet and uninterrupted time of being away from the busy office to write reports.


Why do people work when they’re on holiday?

The reasons why your employees think they should keep on an eye on things are probably not that dissimilar to you, and why you also feel you can’t completely switch off.

The report found that people worry about things being missed, feel they’re the only ones that can do their job and are concerned colleagues won’t be able to keep everything in order. They also want to be seen as conscientious and struggle to relax properly without knowing things are being done.

However, possibly more worryingly, 45% feel that their clients expect them to be available, and 41% stated that their boss expected them to be contactable also.

Of course, if you run a business where summer is your busiest time of year, that can also have an effect and make you and your staff more reluctant to leave work completely behind when taking time off.

There were a smaller amount of respondents who liked the opportunity to work during their holiday, whether to get away from family for a bit or because they were bored. However, you may want to ensure staff are aware that this is a choice, not an expectation from the company.


Why time away is crucial

It is imperative to have a balance between your work life and home life. Both are equally important to help maintain your own well being and also the connection with your family and loved ones.

After all, even if your business is something you are driven and passionate about, it also facilitates opportunities for your family. One of the things it often supports is a summer holiday.

Time away helps to give you perspective, lets’ your brain switch off and enjoy life. If you don’t give yourself or your employees this opportunity, you may find that you burn out. You become overloaded by always thinking about work. This can cause tiredness and stress, it may lead to you not making the best decisions you could and ultimately, the business may suffer.

Taking a holiday and returning feeling refreshed, can present a chance for your company to be revitalised as you return with renewed energy and enthusiasm. Perhaps the complete break has allowed you clarity around previous issues, and you have new ideas for moving the business forward.

It’s no different for your employees. There is also a risk that if they feel like they are never actually able to get a break, then eventually, they may choose to leave and find a less demanding role elsewhere. This could mean you lose valuable members of your team and have to endure the cost of recruitment and retraining of new staff.


What can you do?

Start by looking at what training you currently provide and whether you have more than one person trained for each role in the company. Not only, does this help cover positions over annual leave periods, it is also risk mitigation should something more severe or tragic happen.

If only one person knows how to do a task and they were taken seriously ill and suddenly no longer able to come to work, you could have a significant issue that prevents the business from operating as it should. Find out more about how the loss of a key person can financially impact small businesses here.

Do you have clear, documented processes in place? That way, a different person covering a role during annual leave has something to refer to that shows them exactly how an area of the business should work.

Look at how task management is being dealt with. Do you need to implement technology to help you manage who is assigned to everything that needs completing? This can help you and your employees feel reassured that all work is being covered while on holiday.

Work with your employees to create a culture of trust so that people feel supported when away from their job.

Small businesses often have a team that feel invested in the success of the company. Employees have a will and drive to do their job as well as they can. They understand the critical role they play and enjoy knowing that their input is valuable to the company. This is an excellent asset for you to have as a business owner. However, be aware that this loyalty isn’t leading to them spending more and more of their personal time working. Help your employees understand how having a balance can actually benefit their work and that you want them to have an opportunity to get away and enjoy their summer holiday.

If you are planning to take time off this summer, but are not sure how to do so without working every day, then take a look at our blog post on this topic for some tips.


Further information

If you found this information useful, you may also want to check out the following:


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MRA Blog post – What happens to your business when you go on holiday.