The over-reliance of much of the population on modern technology and our systemic inability to switch off from these devices are both well documented phenomena in both our private and professional lives. We are constantly connected, and while that can in many cases be a good thing it can also lead to a form of digital overload which can negatively impact upon our work-life balance.

In line with this, there is an ongoing debate in the professional world regarding emails and other work-related communications during weekends, breaks, and other holidays. Some insist that by monitoring communications during this time they can better stay on top of things and actually reduce stress to some extent, while others assert that it is in fact this constant monitoring which is causing the stress to pile up in the first place. This leads on to an interesting question; should such work-related communications be banned when an individual or group is on holiday?

This was exactly the question that hoped to answer when they embarked upon their most recent research project, which involved the polling of over 1,400 office workers across the UK in order to glean data relating to their ability or apparent lack thereof to switch off from work during these times. The result? A whopping 60% of those surveyed believe that yes, work emails should be banned when on holiday.

The survey also revealed that while 50% of workers say they do actively try to switch off from work on holiday, 45% of respondents admitted to monitoring work-related communications with as many as 20% admitting that they check multiple times a day. The intention is clearly there, but we somewhat flounder in the execution it would seem.

37% of workers can’t even go a single day without logging on. 29% said they could last at least 48 hours without checking, but worryingly only 11% said they could manage a whole holiday without getting drawn in.

Oliver Bell, of, commented, “Overuse of digital devices is increasingly being blamed for everything from burnout to sleeplessness as well as relationship problems, with many employees uncertain of when they should actually switch off. The rise in flexible working arrangements has created an apparent ‘always-on’ work culture. I think this study shows British workers need protections put in place like the French and Germans have already started doing to ensure workers are able to properly enjoy their time off and return to work fully refreshed.

“Employees often feel they are judged on their commitment to their companies and their availability to work yet the workplace is changing as rapidly as technology, with more and more employees working remotely or with colleagues in other time zones,” Mr Bell continued, “Some of the challenges that come with flexibility are managing those boundaries between work and life and being able to say no, I am not working now and I’m simply not available.”

Sam Bonson

Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. He is currently working as a content writer, journalist & editor as he continues to expand his horizons.
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