A recent poll of over 2,000 working adults throughout the United Kingdom has shown that many do not use their full holiday entitlement each year.

The Harris Poll survey revealed that the average worker uses only 77% of their holiday entitlement each year, and more than 40% of those surveyed admitted to working while they were on leave.

In most cases the workers taking the least amount of annual leave were aged between 16 and 24, with just 12% of this age group saying that they used their full holiday entitlement. Location also played a role in the survey’s findings, with employees from London being more likely to take work with them while on holiday – 51% of them. Almost 20% of those surveyed admitted that they found it difficult to avoid thinking about their job while they were on leave.  

The research indicates that co-workers can make it difficult for their teammates to disengage from the job, as they often reach out to those on holiday with questions about work-related matters. 13% of those polled indicated that their boss or manager had contacted them about work during their annual leave.

Why is there so much work going on while people should be relaxing? Part of the problem is the fear of falling behind and returning to an even bigger workload than when they left. Other reasons for working while on annual leave include wanting a pay rise, feeling dedicated to the company, and the fact that no one else could do the employee's job while they were away.

It seems that the definition of 'annual leave' has changed. Because of technology, workers can stay connected all day, everyday, which can make it difficult to enjoy a true day off. Annual leave is not just a perk; it is also a much-needed break to enable employees to recharge their batteries and avoid burning out. The study shows that it might be beneficial for employers to encourage their staff to use their full holiday entitlement throughout the year, thereby ensuring that their employees remain productive.