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Summer is coming to an end and while the post-holiday blues may have set in, many have returned to work refreshed and relaxed. Unfortunately the same can’t be said for a lot of business owners.

In a recent study from the Institute of Leadership & Management, it was revealed that 65% of business leaders admitted to checking their work emails while on holiday.

While that kind of dedication is admirable, quality holiday time is important for anyone. If you can’t switch off it’ll feel like you haven’t even left the office and you won’t experience the full benefits of time away.

Kate Cooper, head of research, policy and standards at the Institute of Leadership & Management said:

“Thanks to modern technology we’re all more connected to our places of work than ever before. This means work-life boundaries are becoming increasingly blurred and we’ve become an ‘always present’ generation of workers.

“Checking into work while on leave has become increasingly common. Some people may find the stress of being disconnected from work while they’re on holiday is actually more stressful than keeping an eye on what’s going on – if only to rest easy that everything’s okay back at base. But we still know people need holidays, so they can return refreshed and invigorated.”

Staff breaks

Interestingly, 96% of bosses say they don’t expect their staff to check work emails while on holiday and 64% even encourage their employees to switch off during this time.

This shows that business owners are not unaware of the benefits of taking time away from work but are simply not applying this to their own working pattern. It’s understandable, business owners have a lot more responsibility and control over the company but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a day off.

Kate Cooper also said that bosses must consider how this ‘always present’ culture affects their staff and that they might be giving their staff the wrong idea about what’s expected of them.

She added: “Good management is about identifying what environments and working practices will help you get the best out of each individual.”

Finding a good work-life balance

Research from 2018’s International Business Festival found that UK entrepreneurs struggle to find a good work-life balance. At the time of the survey, more than half of entrepreneurs said they had worked past 10pm in the last month. 41% even said they don’t have enough time to sleep properly.

Max Steinberg, Chair of the 2018 International Business Festival said:

“Many individuals establish their own companies to focus on their passion but to also achieve greater work-life balance that their 9-5 job does not allow. Not only is there a risk that they will lose heart when the entrepreneurial reality doesn’t live up to this dream but there are important business benefits from being well-rested and minimising stress.

“Holidays and time out of the office allows us to find inspiration, think creatively about challenges and innovate, as well as building relationships, which are all crucial to unlocking growth potential.”

The benefits of taking a break

Taking (uninterrupted) breaks from your work allows you not only to relax, but also to return to work refreshed and with a clearer mind. Stepping away from your work can help you come up with new ideas and perspectives that could solve problems and make you work more effectively.

Taking breaks is also beneficial for your mental health. Stress is a huge problem for business leaders. It can disrupt progress and lead to burnout neither of which is ideal for a growing business.


Do you check emails while on holiday or outside working hours? Do you find it beneficial or harmful to your stress? Please share your thoughts in the comments below. 

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