‘Switching off’ over the Christmas holidays

Written by: Fit for Work team | Posted in: Blog

switching off christmasEveryone looks forward to their Christmas holidays. This year, many offices will be closed in between Christmas and New Year, giving some UK workers up to 10 days off, while others will just be taking the bare minimum of holiday days.

However long your Christmas holiday, it’s vital to use this time to properly ‘switch off’. A recent YouGov survey commissioned by Wolters Kluwer found that a third of British workers do not take their full holiday entitlement. Many people also end up checking emails on their holidays, taking calls from colleagues or even doing pieces of work from home. But the negative effects of doing this regularly are not just short-term inconveniences; it can have much bigger repercussions.

Many people may not be aware of the importance of taking a proper break from work. Not taking a good amount of time off work can have negative impacts on the mental health of employees – those working non-stop may often end up suffering from ‘burnout’. This means increased stress and anxiety, which will result in a drop in performance and productivity.

Similarly, a lack of a proper holiday can also mean an increased amount of sick leave taken by employees. Workers who don’t take a break can end up making themselves unwell, and can even end up faking sickness in order to get a break – 5% of respondents in the Wolters Kluwer survey admitted that they’d faked illness in order to take sick leave.

A lack of employees taking proper time off can also mean a higher staff turnover for the company, as not being able to switch off can leave employees feeling undervalued and overworked by their employers. Ensuring that employees understand that your organisation encourages a healthy work/life balance, and making sure everyone is fully aware of your holiday policy, is key to ensure healthy, happy staff.

For many employees, unwinding in the evenings or at weekends just isn’t enough when working over an extended period of time. This is why the Christmas holidays are so important – they provide us with time to properly ‘switch off’, relax, rest our brains and return after Christmas feeling revitalized and motivated to tackle a new year at work.

Employers looking to get advice and support on the health of their staff can call the Fit for Work advice line on 0800 023 6235 or visit www.fitforwork.org/employer/.

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