For many of us, an upcoming holiday and the thought of sipping cocktails in the sun helps us get through even the most difficult day at work. A holiday represents an opportunity to completely switch off from work and the demands of everyday life, but is it always ‘as you were’ upon return to normality?
Luxury travel providers, eShores, recently carried out research to find out just how important the effects of a holiday are. They asked 2,000 Brits, half who had been on holiday in the last year and half who hadn’t, about how important a holiday is to them, the physical and mental health effects felt, as well as how it affected the respondents working lives upon return.
Getting Their Priorities Right
The research asked the respondents to rate the importance of several factors when looking for a new job. It probably comes as no surprise that the top-rated factor was salary, with 96% of respondents saying this was an important factor when choosing an employer. Beyond salary, a huge 91% of respondents said that holiday allowance was important when they were applying for a role with a new employer. This ranked alongside an annual pay rise and above a pension (89%) and opportunities for promotion (78%).
These results show employers the importance of offering a strong holiday package to current and potential employees. Holidays could easily be overlooked as an employer but considering paid time off is valued as much as a pay rise, it’s certainly something employers should consider.
The Effects on Work
When it comes to work, the research found that taking an annual holiday has clear benefits on workers. Out of five different wellness factors, those who had been on a holiday in the last year rated higher for every single one.
43% of those who had been on holiday said they felt like they had good levels productivity over the last 12 months, this is compared to just over a quarter (28%) of those who hadn’t been away in that period. There was a similar result for motivation, with less than a quarter (24%) of respondents who hadn’t been on holiday feeling good levels of motivation, considerably less than the 39% who had been away.
The effects stretch further than day-to-day working life, 37% of those who’d holidayed said they felt a positive career influence, this is compared to 22% who hadn’t been on holiday. Furthermore, nearly half (45%) who went away said they felt they had a good work-life balance, only 30% who hadn’t holidayed could say the same. Finally, despite paying to go on holiday in the last 12 months, 41% of people felt good about their finances. Only 26% of those who stayed home said the same.
These results should offer HR departments plenty to consider. Encouraging employees to take more holidays may put a strain on resources at times, but it can lead to long-term improvements in several factors that have big benefits for your business. More motivated, ambitious and productive staff can only be a good thing.
The benefits to the physical health of respondents who’d been on holiday followed a similar pattern to work, with every wellness factor being much improved following a break. 43% of those who’d been on holiday felt their overall health was good, this figure was a much lower (29%) for those who hadn’t been away.
Energy and fitness levels showed a similar difference, with 32% of those who’d been on holiday saying they felt good about both. Compare this to those who hadn’t been on holiday, 22% said they had good energy levels and 23% reported good fitness levels.
There were also marked differences in quality of sleep and stress levels, both factors that can have a knock-on effect in other areas of our lives. 36% of respondents who had been on holiday reported lower stress levels, with just 26% of those who hadn’t been away saying the same. When it comes to sleep, 38% of those who’d enjoyed a holiday in the last year reported a good night’s sleep, compared to just a quarter (25%) of those who hadn’t.
This shows that a holiday, even if it’s just a week in the sun, can have lasting health benefits. For employers, this could mean more energy and less tiredness at work, as well as lower levels of sickness due to increased overall health.
Mental Health Benefits
There has never been more of a focus on the importance of good mental health, and the research found that a holiday can have positive effects on our wellbeing. Those who have been on holiday in the last year were more likely to have better all-round mental health, 46% who had been on holiday said they felt their mental health was good, compared to 34% of those who’d not been away.
Nearly half (48%) of respondents who’d been on an annual holiday said they felt generally happier, this is much higher than the 33% who said the same and hadn’t been on holiday in the last year. Those who’d been away also reported lower levels of anxiety (37%) than those who hadn’t taken time out for a holiday (26%).
Finally, over half of respondents (53%) who’d been on holiday said they felt more positive in their relationships than those who hadn’t (39%).
The research clearly shows that holidays and the allowance provided by employers are incredibly important to the modern worker. Not only this, there is evidence to show that going on holiday can have long-lasting and all-encompassing benefits to both employees and their employers. All this means that, in order to attract and retain the best staff as well as get the best results, businesses must be conscious of their holiday offerings and encourage staff to take an annual holiday.