Covid-19 and annual leave01.04.20
Chief Innovation Officer
In the UK, around 40% of employees take just half of their annual leave or less. On average, UK employees take just 62% of their annual leave entitlement.
Although social distancing measures are expected to continue for at least the next few months, we wanted to stress the importance of making sure your people are still using their annual leave. Even though most people are unable to leave their homes, spending time away from work is still really important.
Taking a break from work is our body and mind’s chance to recover from the demands of our jobs. We’re are all juggling a lot at the moment, so it’s more important than ever to make sure we’re taking time for ourselves. The benefits of taking annual leave aren’t limited to going on holiday. It’s about taking time away from work to spend on the things we enjoy.
We know this is already a stressful time for our employees, and the uncertainty around the current situation is causing most of us to feel anxious. Even without COVID-19, time away from work is directly correlated with reducing stress. Regular breaks from work have been shown to reduce ill health and overall sickness leave.
Some studies have suggested that those who take holidays from work at least twice a year are less likely to be depressed, tense or tired. We all need to take a break to relax and unwind, and that’s more important now than ever. In the long run, the benefits of taking a break now will improve your mood over the coming months.
As we adjust to home working, we can feel compelled to work longer hours and take fewer days off. But, regular breaks from work over the course of the year are actually proven to be better for our productivity. Taking our mind off work for a few days and coming back with a rested head and a new perspective will actually make us and our employees work better.
Taking time off work during the COVID-19 pandemic gives us a chance to realign and focus on other areas of our lives like our family and friends. Many of us are living with family and children, so a few days off can really help us to spend some quality time with those that you love.
But it’s also an opportunity to take us mind off everything that is going on in the world. Finish that box set we’ve meaning to watch, do some home decorating or tidy up the garden. In the same way that sleep helps our bodies rejuvenate, taking annual leave is a important part of our year and one of the few chances we have to forget about work for a while and come back refreshed and ready to go again.
Gethin is an award-winning psychologist who has been helping some of the world’s largest organisations to improve their employee experience and wellbeing for more than two decades. The last 11 years have been spent working as part of the senior leadership team at Benefex where Gethin leads thought leadership as Chief Innovation Officer.
As a frequent writer and speaker on employee experience and employee wellbeing, Gethin has been featured in Forbes, The Guardian, The Sun, The Huffington Post and The Financial Times as well as all major HR, Reward and Pensions publications. Gethin has been listed as one of the world’s top 101 Global Employee Experience Influencers for the last two years running, is listed on the Employee Engagement Powerlist, is one of LinkedIn’s top global contributors and an Inspiring Leader 2021. Gethin is also a regular keynote speaker, ex-Chair of Wellbeing at the UK Government-backed Engage for Success and a Fellow at the RSA.
In 2018, Gethin published his first book - the HR bestseller ‘A World of Good: Lessons From Around the World in Improving the Employee Experience’, which has gone on to inspire HR and Reward teams at some of the world’s best known brands. In early 2022, Gethin co-authored his second book ‘Das Menschliche Büro - The Human(e) Office’ a collaboration between leading academics and workplace professionals from across Europe. In October 2022, Gethin published his “third” book ‘A Work In Progress: Unlocking Wellbeing to Create More Sustainable and Resilient Organisations’ which also became an immediate bestseller.