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Why you should never contact Employees on holiday

Kate Allen, Managing Director, Allen Associates

All Employees have the right to annual leave. What they choose to do with it is up to them: perhaps it’s an all-inclusive trip to the Maldives, or a city break to Paris for the weekend. It could be a family reunion, a special date, or a fun-packed festival.

Maybe they’ve just booked a week off to binge-watch the new season of their favourite TV series. Whatever the reason for their holiday, the last thing that should be on their mind is work.

Unfortunately for some Employees, reserving annual leave well in advance is not enough to prevent their manager from getting in touch. What may seem like “just a quick” thing can often be enough to turn a valuable holiday day into a day spent working from home. Unsurprisingly, the Employee returns feeling grouchy, frustrated and tense.

While some Employers have already adopted a no-contact-on-holiday policy, others remain blind to the impact that this behaviour can have on their staff. Anyone seeking to boost staff loyalty should consider whether their request can wait a few more days. If your thumb is hovering over the ‘send’ button, there are a few good reasons you should reconsider:

Business and pleasure: a recipe for disaster

It may not seem like much, but expecting your Employee to drop everything for work on a day they have reserved with the intention of not working can be extremely detrimental to their job satisfaction and engagement levels. Knowing that even a pre-booked holiday day can’t act as a buffer between a member of staff and their responsibilities is demotivating to say the least. Continue this behaviour and it won’t be long before your top performers succumb to staff burnout.

If they are mission-critical, it may be hard to accept their absence for longer than one day. Rather than interrupting their hard-earned holiday, managers should work with their team to prepare for the absence in advance. Temporarily offloading certain responsibilities to other capable team members may be an option, or you may consider outsourcing to keep things running smoothly.

If your Employee is vigilant in tying up any loose ends before they clock off, you should be left with little reason to disturb their precious time off.

Mental health matters

The digital revolution has transformed the way we work, simplifying processes and allowing for increased flexibility. However, with enhanced connectivity and cloud computing comes a damaging culture: in an “Always On” society, switching off is viewed as a statement. Mobile devices were supposed to free us from the office: instead, technology has us mentally tethered to our desks at all times.

In a recent study of 3,000 UK workers, 69 per cent stated they were regularly required to work outside of their official hours.

If that wasn’t enough, Oxford scientists now claim we now get between one and two hours’ less sleep than we did 60 years ago. Naturally, poor disengagement from work can cause a number of health issues for the individual. Not only will their work suffer, their general wellbeing will drop significantly. To counteract this, managers must resist the urge to interrupt Employee holiday time, and instead, promote full usage of annual leave to Employees.

What sort of policy do you adopt when it comes to holidays? Tell us, we would love to hear from you.

Over the last 20 years, we have grown as a business to become one of the leading independent Recruitment agencies in Oxfordshire, and in 2018 have opened our first London office, to service Clients in the capital.     

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