Holiday or Pay-Day? - The Dilemma of the 21st Century Worker

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We're in the grip of a recession. Jobs are scarce, and those in long-term, permanent employment are fortunate indeed. Even to such people, the risks of losing their jobs, along with increasing responsibilities due to companies scaling-back can make it harder to find time to relax and take holidays. This is despite a wealth of studies suggesting that a lack of relaxation makes for unhealthy lifestyles. Matthews and Gump conducted a study of over 13000 men, and found those that missed 5 potential holidays in a row were 30% more likely to suffer heart attacks than their vacationing fellows.

A report commissioned by British Telecomms (BT) found that over 33% of British people planned on regularly checking their email while on holiday this year. 39% of those said that they would do so due to a feeling of responsibility for their work life. It is worth noting that, while this statistic is concerning, of the remaining 61%, 20% claimed to only do so out of habit, and 10% even claimed that it was their favourite way to relax. Even so, excuses do not negate the effects of over-working on one's self and on others. One-quarter of those quizzed admitted that they believed that their inability to disconnect often weighed-heavily upon their loved ones.

However, the premise of working during a supposed time of rest is a good thing does not come without some reasoning. As mentioned, many companies are scaling-back and being forced to make some staff members redundant. In addition to the mounting pressure this puts on remaining staff in terms of additional responsibilities, many might also feel that they are more likely to be let-go, should they take any extended amount of time off work, even if said time is covered by official holiday-time. It would be fair to conclude, therefore, that a large part of the reason for this problem amounts to concerns for job security and roles.

So what's to be done? Professionals believe that simply not vacationing is very bad for one's health. On top of this, those with families might risk putting a down-note on what has the potential to be an enjoyable family holiday. After-all, Psychologists at the University of Colorado believe that a collective experience (like a holiday) provides a longer-lasting, more satisfying experience. At the same time, however, some level of concern for one's future in the workplace is only natural.

If, therefore, the so-called 'workation' is here to stay, then it is important to find a balance between working and taking time-out. If at-all possible check emails and social media in the evenings, and schedule any essential conference calls for times when you have nothing else planned, and when other members of your travelling group will be otherwise occupied. In short, don't forget to actually 'have a holiday' while on-holiday!


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