According to the Office for National Statistics, since 1996 there has been a significant decrease in two-week breaks in favour of taking more holidays in short bursts. A factor for this is the rise of budget airlines, which have meant affordable short haul flights to popular hotspots like Spain and France.
As well as international destinations, another interesting trend is the rise of staycations. Whether it is a weekend city break in London or a week-long stay in a Norfolk holiday cottage, statistics from Visit England reported 7.3m of us chose to remain in the UK in the first quarter of 2016 – a growth of ten per cent compared to 2015’s first quarter.
In addition, travel data analyst specialists Sojern revealed an 8.8 per cent increase in breaks that were three days or less. This shift in also provides an interesting insight into today’s modern lifestyle. Never have we been more connected, and as much as there are benefits to gain from this constant accessibility, there are also the stressors of not being able to disconnect from work.
The option of taking more holidays in a shorter format have become increasingly attractive as a way of disconnecting and relaxing. Particularly in today’s digital world, with our smartphones, laptops and emails, we can easily continue with our tasks at home, or in certain scenarios be reached during our holiday. Even when we go on holiday, there are those that have admitted to having worked.
For our wellbeing though, it is important we get in the habit of taking more holidays with the intention of truly unwinding. In the UK, we have amongst the lowest amount of entitled holidays in Europe. Even with this, research by Croner House showed 33 per cent of us were not using our yearly holiday allowance.
The same research, however, demonstrated the benefits of taking more holidays, with 67 per cent of people feeling greater job satisfaction – 66 per cent feel more productive after getting the opportunity to holiday and recharge.
It supports the well-known knowledge that employees should be encouraged to take their holidays. This can be difficult due to factors such as workloads, meaning people get into a habit where it is difficult to stop in fear of not delivering their projects. Additionally, if there is a team culture of going the extra mile, it is difficult to break free from this attitude due to your commitments to the team.
At the same time though, as supported by the research by Croner House, wherein holidays increased productivity and job satisfaction, managing director of Penna, a HR services group, advises it is important to view your career as a marathon and not a sprint. Holidays are critical for survival and to avoid becoming burnt out.
Working additional hours can actually be counter-intuitive to an aim of doing more work as the lack of time to relax can open the risk of increasing stress in workplace which can potentially mean less productivity and a decrease in work quality. It comes back to the classic ability to be able to strike up a work-life balance to be at your most effective at work and to live a healthy lifestyle.
Therefore whether it is a long holiday in the summer or a frequent shorter breaks through the year to be able to take your holiday, can lead to a better ability to focus and produce at your highest ability at work which in turn will benefit the business you are working for.
Tze Li is a digital marketing consultant at Fountain Partnership