”65% of us check our email whilst on holiday.”

The Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) have recently asked  “is working while you’re on holiday fast becoming the new normal?”, after conducting a survey into summer working habits.
The Institute’s new research found that “65% of respondents check their work emails at some point whilst on holiday, and 75% have said they’ve taken or made a work call whilst on leave. Unsurprisingly, most senior leadership teams check their emails on holiday (81%).”

With the rise of our dependence on technology, we all seem to want to keep connected.  The results of another study, released this week by the University of West England, has led to the call that commuting time is included as part of the working day, due to the amount of work completed during this time. This connection can be great for keeping up with friends and relations –  but do we all need to be connected to work 24/7?  A rising trend; the line between work and home life becoming blurred.

The ILM research also asked bosses their view; 96% of bosses don’t expect their staff to check emails on holiday and 64% actively discourage it.  So, if this is the view of bosses, where is the pressure coming from that means so many people stay connected to work?  Is it pressure that we put on ourselves thinking that it is the ‘right’ thing to do, what we feel is ‘expected’?

Gallup estimate that 31% of us are stressed and 24% of us are suffering from tiredness or burnout.  It’s been reported that the UK have some of the longest working hours, but productivity lags behind other countries.  Feeling that we have to be permanently ‘on call’ can’t be good for energy levels or well-being, so won’t help these stats improve.


As humans we all want to fit in, be liked and succeed, leading us to follow the ‘rules’ and conform to what we think is the ‘right’ thing to do.  We then spend time and energy worrying whether we are doing the right thing or not, inefficient working habits form and go unchallenged….presenteeism anyone?
Once we free ourselves from the feeling that we need to conform, we release courageous energy, powerfully shifting ourselves to be more creative, intuitive, better able to concentrate on the greater good and impact more positively within our workplace.
Here are our top tips for breaking work conformity and dealing with blurred lines:

  • Challenge your need for control.  Most of us use control as a strategy.  Ask yourself if you really need to stay on it whilst you are meant to be resting and recharging.
  • Habit and auto-pilot – I see many people on Linked In whilst away (that little green light) – are you checking emails and work based media as a habit?  Checking without thinking removes your recharge time.
  • Put your devices away – if you do need to stay connected, think about checking in only a couple of times a day at most.
  • When you aren’t checking in, relax!  Decide to be present, whatever you are doing and enjoy not thinking about work.  Be the master of your mind.
  • If you do need to check in, don’t see it as a burden – stress and emotional resentment will drain you – depleting your recharge.  Get on with it and don’t give your power away.
  • Ask yourself: what is the most valuable way for me to use my time right now?