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Managers Find it Difficult to Switch Off

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With holiday season upon us, many managers are finding it difficult to switch off, according to a new survey by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI).

Its survey of 6,000 managers found that many are fearful about the impact of their absence and almost half (49%) contact their organisation by choice during their break. A majority (68%) will also respond to requests from their employer, whilst on holiday.

Almost half (48%) regularly check their work emails and 43% monitor voicemail. In an effort to keep in touch with colleagues 57% take away their work mobile phones, 20% take their laptops and 14% regularly visit Internet cafes.

The survey also shows that managers put in extra hours to make up for the time they lose by going on holiday. For a typical one-week break, the UK’s management community works an additional 36 million additional hours, beyond their contractual requirements. The CMI calculates that this represents a cost saving to UK organisations of £880 million.

The top three reasons respondents gave for taking work on holiday were:
· Deadline drama: 29% claimed that the need to meet short-term project deadlines means they have had to work at some point during their holiday. Six per cent added that they lacked confidence in their colleagues’ ability to manage during their absence.
· Client care: 24% do not want to let clients down. Almost one-fifth (18%) also said they found it hard to ‘let go’ of their work.
· Backlog blues: 23% worry about the amount of work they will face on their return and 1 in 3 managers admit to dreading returning to a backlog.

However, for those managers who do take their full holiday entitlement, 87% say that their annual holiday ‘fully recharges their batteries’ and 66% suggest it makes them question their work-leisure balance.

Jo Causon, Director of Corporate Marketing and Public Affairs at the Chartered Management Institute, commented: “It’s long been accepted that the pressure to perform has led to Britain becoming a nation of workaholics. However, the hours people put in at work do not always guarantee optimal results, because quantity is not the same as quality. Employers are certainly beginning to recognise this and are encouraging staff to take a proper break, but the onus must now be on managers to follow this lead.”

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