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Working Holidays? 5 Ways to turn Free Time into Me Time

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75% of Irish Employees work during their holidays and free time, and three in five say that their organisations expect them to be contactable while on holiday,  according to a just-published survey commissioned by hotel and leisure specialist lastminute.com.

YouGov questioned over 10,000 adults across nine European countries and found that Ireland, along with Italy, lead the way in taking the office on holiday. Consulting emails, answering calls and video conferencing are just some of the activities we regularly engage in instead of relaxing. It seems the global financial crisis has a part to play as the countries in fiscal dire straits all head up the table.

Percentage of employees working during holidays and/or free time


1.     Irish (75%)Ireland_Holiday_Workers_Infographic_June_2012_Cropped_200

2.     Italians (75%)

3.     Spanish (66%)

4.     Norwegians (63%)

5.     Danish (58%)

6.     French (51%)

7.     Germans (45%)

8.     British (45%)

9.     Swedish (43%)

Escaping the office to indulge in some relaxation is a distant memory in today’s technology-based virtual environment. In Ireland 60% of workers state their boss expects them to be contactable whilst on holiday, outranked only by the Italians at 74% and the Spanish at 63%.  In fact 74% of Irish workers state they have been contacted by their office while off.
Irish holiday workers have too much to do and feel responsible even when away
However, some of the blame has to fall on our own shoulders when it comes to the holiday working phenomenon. The top three reasons for us clinging to the office are:

1.     There are always spontaneous issues coming up that I have to take care of (35%)
2.     I feel responsible for my work even when away (34%)
3.     I have a lot to do – if I don’t do it, it won’t get done (29%)

A further 23% of people in Ireland feel working on holiday is expected of them and 10%  fear losing their job if they don’t make themselves available whilst away.
Mark Maddock, Managing Director of lastminute.com UK and Ireland says: “It’s worrying that workers in Ireland don’t value their free time as me time. While technology and the economy can be partly to blame it’s important that people reclaim their free time and set some ground rules on being contacted during their time off. This is a supposed to be a time to switch off literally and metaphorically.”
lastminute.com tips to reclaim holiday and free time 

1. Take time off in a period that is quiet for the industry you work in to minimise the risk of having to be on call

2. Prepare a comprehensive handover and update all relevant people about the status of projects to limit questions when away

3. Nominate a colleague to stand in and take care of your communications

4. Clearly state that you don't want to be disturbed and reduce calls to emergency cases only. But if possible leave your mobile tech devices at home.

5. If all this doesn’t work choose a holiday destination in a mobile dead spot! Lombok, Namibia, California’s Death Valley and Australia’s outback have areas where phones won’t have a signal. There are also hotels known for having no mobile phone reception.

About the survey
The survey was carried out online by Yougov on behalf of lastminute.com.  Total sample size was 10,203 adults: 2,086 in the UK, 1,003 in Ireland, 1,001 in France, 1,000 in Spain, 1,002 in Italy, 1,078 in Germany, 1,007 in Denmark, 1,013 in Norway, 1,013 in Sweden. Fieldwork was undertaken end of June 2012. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all adults in the respective country (aged 18+).

Thanks to Steve at Bvisible Communications for the information - contact him at + 353 1 8452401.

Bob Lee is Communications Director, EMEA with Great Place to Work International and a raving fan of lastminute.com's 'Top Secret Hotel' offers - 4 and 5 star hotels at bargain prices but you only find out the name and exact address after you book. They've never let me down yet!


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