Alison McKee
Alison McKee
Associate Director

Articles From the Team

Is your 'holiday' really a holiday?

The BBC published a recent article about checking emails during annual leave. On the back of this; when I mentioned (to my team) my intention to write a few words on the subject (working while on holiday), a colleague asked me what camp I was in. I’m a checker – for me, the need to know and stay in control outweighs switching off completely. (I’ll spend some time introspecting this particular and little personality trait when I get home.)

The article highlighted some interesting statistics:

  • Recent research conducted by UK cyber-security firm Tessian, which spoke to 1,000 employees in companies that employ at least 100 staff, found that more than half of UK employees feel there’s an expectation within their organisation to reply to emails quickly
  • Six out of 10 employees use their mobile phones to send emails during out-of-office hours
  • Glassdoor has similarly alarming statistics: 23% of employees who took annual leave in 2018 regularly checked their emails, while 15% continued working throughout their holiday because of fear of falling behind and the consequences of not hitting targets

Pros

We all know that feeling: you return to work after one or two weeks off and discover that seemingly, everyone you’ve ever met has emailed you!

Many professions aren’t considered ‘9 to 5’ and law is one of them. Checking your email intermittently and in a relaxed fashion means you have less to deal with on your return and you feel less anxious about coming back (work fear anyone?). We all have goals and targets and for those who enjoy what they do, why not keep on top of things?

Cons

Work breaks are essential to reduce the build-up of stress. Continued stress becomes chronic and at that point, you’ll suffer from decreased creativity, memory problems and mild cognitive impairment. Breaks prevent decision fatigue, restore motivation and help to consolidate memory. 

The fact of the matter is we need breaks in work time to perform at our best!

Digital detox

Some businesses are outlawing the practice of working on holiday: at the far end of the spectrum, Daimler in Germany has introduced a policy where if you try to email a person who’s on annual leave, the email will be deleted. Pretty savage! I’m aware of plenty of other businesses who act in a very different way, including many of the lawyers who work within their teams!

The absolute key is to find a workplace culture that suits you and that’s where we come in. Our knowledge of the in-house market extends way beyond a job description. We know how teams work and the expectation associated with this, therefore, we can match you to the right environment. 

So, if you feel you’re no longer culturally suited to the business you’re currently in, there may be one out there that’s a much better match!

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We’re a Sunday Times Best Small Company to Work For: 2016, 2017, 2018