Brought down by the post-holiday blues

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Sep 08 2023 by Management-Issues Print This Article

Post-holiday blues are sweeping the UK. New research has found that it takes, on average, just over one working day - just 11 hours - for all of the relaxation and joy from a holiday to disappear.

A study conducted by Reed found that it takes an average of 11 working hours for stress levels to return to normal after a period of annual leave, pointing toward a concerning movement where ‘holiday de-stress’ quickly transforms into ‘holiday re-stress’.

“We’re entering the time of year when people come back to work after their holidays and experience the back-to-work blues,” said Ian Nicholas, Global Managing Director at Reed.

“But workers are finding it harder and harder to switch off, especially as being able to take your work with you with your mobile is easier than ever. Tech making work more accessible often means our everyday work lives bleed into what is supposed to be our time off.

“Holiday re-stress sees people who have de-stressed on holiday quickly becoming stressed again moments after going back to work.”

On top of this, the survey also found that nearly two-thirds of workers (61%) think or worry about work at some point while on holiday, with some checking their emails while they are away or just before their return (45%).

The results also show that in the run up to annual leave, two thirds (66%), at some point, work longer hours to compensate for the time off.

“Disconnecting yourself from work is supposed to rejuvenate your mind, resulting in you being in a healthier state of mind when you return,” Ian Nicholas explained. “But with fewer people being able to switch off when away from work, we are becoming a more stressed and tired nation.”

The real issue, he added could be that many people simply don’t enjoy their jobs.

“With over half (52%) of our respondents saying they consider changing jobs post-holiday, it seems a lot of the nation could be unhappy in their current role. I’d strongly argue that it’s never too late to pursue a job that would make you happier and therefore less stressed. It would certainly keep those post-holiday blues at bay.”