Avoiding the post-holiday pile-up

Aug 11 2005 by Brian Amble Print This Article

If you thought that a summer holiday should be about relaxing, unwinding and recharging, think again. Almost half of us will return from our summer break to face a mountain of work, undoing all the good that the holiday was meant to do.

A survey of 1,800 people in the UK by recruitment company Manpower has found that 43 per cent have returned from holiday to find that their colleagues had left work to pile up while they were away.

Meanwhile, seven per cent said they had been regularly contacted by their work while on holiday.

"Summer holidays should be about completely relaxing and forgetting the daily routine," said Manpower's Greg Teare.

This won't happen if people spend their holiday worrying about what work is piling up, how many e-mails are in their inbox or the additional burden that their holiday is causing colleagues."

The holiday pile-up is exacerbated by the fact that only one in ten employers is prepared to hire temporary workers to cover holiday leave. Four out of ten of those surveyed added that colleagues are expected to take on additional work to cover for staff holidays.

To minimise post-holiday trauma, Manpower suggests some simple strategies, including clearing your desk and completing outstanding projects before you go away and ensuring that your colleagues are fully briefed about any ongoing tasks that cannot be put on hold.

Nominating a colleague to deal with urgent queries - and returning the favour when they go away - can avoid any unwanted holiday interruptions, as can letting clients and contacts know that you will be away and the date of your return.

"Employees returning from stress- free holidays feel relaxed and motivated, which in turn increases their productivity," Greg Teare added.

"It's therefore beneficial for employers to find ways to ensure their staff really can relax while away, and hiring temporary workers to cover the holiday period can be a way of doing this."