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Britain’s workers can’t switch off

With the Easter weekend fast approaching new research from Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks has revealed that Britain’s business men and women can’t switch off from work during family holidays – with many struggling to find a balance between their work and private life.

When asked about their holiday habits almost three-quarters (72%) said that they keep in touch with the office throughout their time off via their mobile phone or Blackberry.

The survey which questioned workers from a range of industries across the UK also showed that almost half (43%) believe that it is impossible to balance their work commitments with their private life.

Looking at the picture across the UK, those in the North West are most guilty of keeping in touch with work while on holiday – an incredible 86% admitting to this, followed by the West Midlands (77%) and the South East (75%).  On the flipside workers in Wales are the least likely to interrupt their holidays, with only 58% being prepared to take phone calls or answer emails while on leave.

It’s hardly surprising that those workers most likely to disrupt their holidays find it hard to strike a healthy balance between their work and home life.   Workers in the West Midlands find the balancing act the hardest with almost two-thirds (62%) finding it impossible, followed by the North East (59%) and North West (48%).  At the other end of the scale, workers in the South East and South West have achieved a better split (36% each).

“What this research clearly shows is that workers in the UK just don’t know when to stop when it comes to work, said Mike Williams, general manager of business banking for Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank.

“It is acknowledged that the UK has a culture of working longer hours than virtually all of its European counterparts, but nonetheless it’s astounding that so many people don’t use their holiday time as a means to recharge their batteries.”

And it seems that this inability to leave work in the office is also having an affect on our nearest and dearest.  Well over half of workers (58%) admit that their interaction with work while on holiday is an annoyance to their families.

“When we see that almost sixty per cent of families have an issue with the amount of time their loved ones are spending on work-related activities, it’s clear that we have a serious issue,” continued Mike Williams. 

“The boom in the use of mobile phones, Blackberries, and wireless internet means that nowadays we all seem to expect immediate responses.  Unfortunately this has resulted in a blur between work time and home life and now it seems many are finding it too difficult to draw the line – and just like mobiles and Blackberries, if we stay switched on too long, sooner or later our batteries will run out.”

Callum Meikle, managing director of behavioural skills consultancy Gofastforward added:

“British workers seem to be stuck in the mindset that they can’t afford to take their eyes off the ball when it comes to work.

“They feel a real sense of pressure to always be in the loop, even when on holiday.  Quite often it comes down a lack of delegation and trust in colleagues.

“However, everyone needs some time to relax and pursue other interests otherwise their health and relationships are likely to suffer.  These are important parts of your life that should be part of your schedule.  Learning to delegate more and let others run the show for a while is beneficial for everyone.  Even God had a day off!”

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