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Why SME employees struggle to switch off on holiday

As new research reveals more than four in 10 SME workers say their boss expects them to work during the holidays, could proper delegation be the answer to the summertime blues?


August 2019

Many SME employees will be working every day during their 2019 summer holidays, with nearly one third (31%) working either every day (23%) or multiple times each day (8%). Overall, more than two thirds (67%) will spend some time working during their summer holidays, according to new research from process management firm Process Bliss.

The research was commissioned to better understand modern SME working habits and revealed changing expectations about working cultures. Almost half (45%) of SME employees say that their clients expect them to be available during their summer holiday and 41% say 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 at 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.”

CABA agrees. The chartered accountancy charity suggests that when you go on holiday put someone else fully in charge of your work. You may feel more inclined to switch off if a capable colleague is covering for you.

The main reasons given for SME employees working during their summer holidays were:

  • they cannot relax properly on holiday without knowing things are being done (36%);
  • they feel they are being conscientious (28%); 
  • worrying that something important will be missed (24%); 
  • not trusting colleagues to keep everything in order (16%), and;
  • feeling they are the only ones who can do their job (13%).

A further 25% say that it is a particularly busy time at their place of employment currently, while it would also appear that not everyone is a fan of time with the family: 10% say working over summer holidays gives them a chance to sneak away from the family. Some 7% say they get bored on the summer holiday.

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