Do workcations work? Here’s what workers in the UK think about them.
Do flexible work arrangements have you feeling … well, less than flexible? If so, don’t worry because it’s not just you. According to Expedia’s 22nd annual Vacation Deprivation report, half of working adults in the UK agreed that working remotely and work-from-home flexibility has made it more difficult to unplug from work when on holiday. Furthermore, 54% reported feeling holiday-deprived in 2021.
While many were able to take advantage of the new ways of the working world by travelling more, the report also found that 71% of those who took at least one workcation in the past year didn’t consider it to be a “true” holiday and nearly three-fourths felt more burned out than ever. Overall, while UK workers took, on average, 21 holiday days, about one-in-four left holiday days unused.
For over 20 years (22 years and counting to be exact), the Vacation Deprivation study has examined the work-life balance of people worldwide and, most importantly, how to overcome the barriers that keep holiday days unused. While the line between time on and off the clock felt thin last year, people are making a global movement to change how they use their time off in 2022.
Let’s break down the report further:
- Holiday deprivation might be related to gender, age, and occupation: When looking at men versus women, women were slightly more holiday deprived and burned out than men. The younger generations, Gen Z and Millennials were significantly more holiday deprived and burned out than those 50 and older. Unsurprisingly, first responders were at the top of the list for both holiday deprivation and burnout.
- Holidays improve mental health: Nine-in-ten people in the UK reported feeling more relaxed and less anxious and worried after holidays, while 84% reported feeling more optimistic and positive after their time off.
- Companies remain supportive for the most part: On average, working adults in the UK used on average three holiday days to take care of a sick family member or run errands (such as going to a doctor’s appointment). Thankfully, half were provided exceptions to work from different locations and 77% feel their employers are supportive them using holiday days.
So, what does this all mean as we look at 2022? People are ready to prioritise the things that matter in 2022 by giving themselves permission to fully enjoy their holiday time. This year Brits have vowed to take 24 holiday days, three more days than they took in 2021. Almost all agree that regular holidays are important to their general health and well-being and as a result of the pandemic, they value holiday time more than ever.
Before you plan your next holiday, remember to pursue what makes you happy. From making memories with your loved ones to spending some solid alone time on a beach somewhere, create experiences that you want, how you want, where you want. We’ve also pulled together a short guideline of how to break any bad work habits while on your next holiday:
- Staying glued to work: Even though most workers in the UK enjoy feeling unproductive during holiday, 40% still brought their work laptops and 34% frequently joined Zoom calls. 43% also spent part of their holidays doing a “side hustle.”
Save the hustle for Monday: Or Tuesday, or whenever you return from your holiday. Work will still be there when you come back – make that tomorrows problem.
- Overextending yourself: Half of UK workers put their mobile phone numbers in their OOO work emails or gave them to coworkers or clients.
Set and re-set boundaries: Let’s eliminate “call or text me if you need anything” from our holiday vocabulary, and auto-correct to “I’ll get back to you upon my return.” In fact, go to settings > notifications then toggle off. Delete your work email account and put your phone on “do not disturb.”
- Being too hard on yourself: Although 80% feel their colleagues are supportive of them taking holiday, nearly half feel guilty having coworkers covering their work while they are out and 42% feel the need to apologise or make excuses for taking a holiday.
Give yourself permission to use your annual leave: Take a deep breath and release that anxious energy. Gone are the days when you feel guilty for taking some time for yourself. Whether you’re headed to the beach with family to unplug from all screens or are curling up to a good book for a little self-care – that time is yours! Use it.
Don’t forget that with Expedia Rewards you can get even more out of every trip and save on the things that matter the most to you. By creating an Expedia account, you can gain instant access to savings worth 10% or more on select hotels thanks to member prices.
With COVID-19, it’s important to stay up to date on the latest travel guidance and restrictions. Find out what to expect, how to find flexible travel, and other information with our COVID-19 travel advisor.
*Vacation Deprivation study was conducted online among 14,544 respondents across 16 countries in North and South America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific. Commissioned from December 14 – December 30, 2021, on behalf of Expedia by Northstar Research Partners, responses were gathered using an amalgamated group of best-in-class panels.