research finds Brits spend a quarter of a billion hours a year working on holiday

Published: Tue Jul 21 2009

New research from has revealed that relaxing on holiday should be easy, but more than half of British travellers (55%) find it hard to switch off from work and rely on their laptops and Blackberries to keep in contact with the office. research* has revealed that in tough economic times, people are finding it harder than ever to switch off, and want to feel they are at work even when they are not. On a one week break, Brits now spend the equivalent of one day in the office (seven hours on average) which means that just under a quarter of a billion hours are lost each year by travellers working when they are supposed to be relaxing on holiday**.

The new research established that there are three types of holiday workers. Of those who admit to taking time out of their holidays to work, 26% are emergency browsers - checking in only to deal with urgent issues; another 24% are sun lounger surfers who check in with the office at least every other day; and 35% are compulsive mailers who feel the need to be in constant contact with the office, logging on at least once a day or more. found that 60% of those who work on holiday are doing so for reasons relating to their job security. While 28% felt that beach emailing "saved time when back in the office" and 12% wanted to ensure their colleagues were coping without them. The rest admitted it had more to do with job security, citing reasons such as "I want the office to see that I'm passionate about my job".

According to The Work Foundation***, 'holiday guilt' can be explained by the UK's long-hours culture which gives rise to insecurity and 'presenteeism'. It is perceived that being seen and heard will lead to promotion and job safety, whereas those away from the office might miss out. Checking in with the office and not trusting others to look after things in their absence can be seen as an effort to show that they are indispensable.

Alison Couper, Communications Director for, said: "Holidays are meant to be a time to relax and switch off from work. Designating a "blackberry hour", agreed with your partner, is one way of avoiding arguments but the ideal solution is to leave the office behind you and make the most of your holiday."

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Note to editors:

*Research conducted amongst 2,167 travellers from the UK, Ireland, France, Spain, Germany, Norway, Sweden and Denmark in June/July 2009.

** Office of National Statistics Social Trends Report - Britons make 69.5 million trips abroad each year. research found that 55% of Britons work when on holiday, spending an average of seven hours working during the average week long trip, making the number of hours worked on holiday 267,575,000 hours per year.

***Money, Tickets, Passport, Blackberry?? The Work Foundation, August 2005

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