Tuesday 26 September 2017

Professionals put fun on hold to work three hours a day on holiday

Irish professionals work three hours per day on holidays
Irish professionals work three hours per day on holidays
Sarah McCabe

Sarah McCabe

IRISH professionals, more than any other European citizens, are most likely to be found working on their laptops than strolling on the beach during their holidays.

A new survey commissioned by office space provider Regus found that 54pc of Irish professionals plan to work during their holidays – a 10pc increase in just a year – with activity levels going well beyond simply monitoring emails.

The study of more than 40,000 professionals found that over two fifths of Irish respondents will put in between one and three hours each day for their job. One in 10 will spend over three hours.

"Ireland suffers from huge levels of "presenteeism" – the pressure to be seen to be working" said Regus communications manager Henry Collinge.

The Irish results are much more pronounced in comparison to the rest of Europe. Just 35pc of British professionals would consider working while vacationing, and just 29pc of Germans. Ireland fell more in line with the US, where 56pc said they work on holiday.

"Small business owners and employees particularly struggle to switch off because they are directly responsible for their company's success or failure" says Mr Collinge. "But this has serious health implications. It's universally recognised that constant, uninterrupted stress and being unable to switch off are detrimental to health.

Cork businessman Ivan Lavelle agrees. He set up his direct marketing agency from a serviced office in Mahon to help manage the pressure. "Though we are a small business, the office is always open and always manned; clients don't care that you want to take a holiday. Emails and messages are always forwarded. Small business owners tend to be control freaks and I'm no different, but I make the best of it so that I'm not constantly worrying while away."

The results show that, globally, men are more prone to taking 'workations' than women. About 42pc of Irish professional men said they take their usual workload on holiday compared to a lesser, but still significant third (34pc) of professional women. The same margin was evident across the board, though it is declining.

Regus recommends that professionals work in structured time periods, outside of their holiday accommodation, to mentally separate business and leisure. "Working on holiday is much less stressful if the day is structured carefully" agreed Mr Lavelle. "I do most of my work in the hour or two before breakfast, meaning it's done early and out of the way, but I'm always near a phone or email if needed. I'm going on a cruise in September – this system allows me to relax."

"The days of a nine-to-five job are gone" added. "The recession has completely got rid of that. Unions also have less power, and we're increasingly Americanised."

But he thinks that employers should try and protect their staff from this type of behaviour . "Employees don't own the business. Once a year it is not unreasonable to let them go on a proper holiday. Offering to stay in contact should be enough."

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