Don’t know about you but as soon as the blue skies and sunshine return, our office becomes abuzz with talk of summer holidays. As much as we love our work, we also love our holidays and understand how important it is for our staff to take time off to recharge.

There’s a certain thrill you get setting your out of office, smugly knowing that when your message is read, you’ll be off sunning it up on your holiday.

So, you can only imagine our reaction when we came across a recent Personnel Today article discussing the fact that employees in the UK are failing to use their holiday entitlement.

The Glassdoor survey found that two fifths (40%) of UK employees took a maximum of just half of their holiday entitlement during the past year. While 43% took 91-100% of their leave, a staggering 13% of UK workers took just 20% of their allowance. On average, UK employees take less than two thirds (62%) of their annual leave.

In particular, younger workers were least likely to take advantage of their full holiday entitlement, with just over a third (35%) of 18-24 year olds and 40% of 25-34 year olds taking all of their allowance.

Even more worryingly, many of us still feel obligated to work even when on holiday. Nearly a quarter (23%) regularly check emails on holiday, 20% are expected to be reachable and carry out some work if needed, and 15% continue to do work due to concerns about being behind when they return and missing targets.

Just half said they were able to completely relax with no expectations to be contactable during their time off.

Glassdoor managing director for EMEA, John Lamphiere, commented: “The fact that 40% of us take a maximum of just half our holiday allowance and a significant amount feel they need to work while being away is not a good long-term solution and will only result in employees who may want to jump ship for greener pastures.”

And, of course, there are greater risks of employees experiencing burn-out and impacting their mental wellbeing if they don’t use their holiday.

Companies need to make sure they create an office culture that encourages staff to take time off to unwind and recharge. A competitive environment that makes employees feel worried about taking their annual leave will only do more damage in the long run. Everyone needs to switch on holiday mode every now and then.

While we might not be able to bring the tropical climate of the Bahamas to your office, we can help you design an office environment that reflects your caring company culture.