UK workers dreading return to work after summer break, finds new study

Resource search by Achievers confirms that making employee feel valued is best way to keep them engaged

At the time of the year when workers’ thoughts traditionally turn to the long stretch between the end of the holidays and Christmas, a survey* conducted by Achievers has revealed that over half of UK employees were dreading returning to work after their summer break.

Key reasons point to lack of ‘me’ time and not being able to switch off’ while on holiday. Thirty-three per cent of the 1,000 survey respondents say they don’t get enough time to themselves while on holiday, while a quarter admit to worrying about work.

It’s no wonder that 42 per cent of employees surveyed admit that their stress levels will quickly return to their former intensity once they are back in the workplace.

However, the picture is not all doom and gloom as the Achievers research did uncover some positive findings. In an era characterised by high staff turnover and employees who are happy to move from job to job, close to two-thirds (61 per cent) of those surveyed claimed they either like or love their current role. A similar proportion of those surveyed are happy to stay in their present position, while only a fifth (21 per cent) have definite plans to leave.

What’s more, people feel energised by their summer holidays. While they may not be eager to return to work, on a positive note nearly three-quarters (73 per cent) of those surveyed say they feel sufficiently refreshed by their time away.

One unmistakable finding from the survey was just how attached workers are to their summer break. The overwhelming majority (85 per cent) view their summer break as absolutely critical or very important to their overall wellbeing at work.

So what can employers do to negate the Autumn Blues and maintain their workforces’ motivation? According to a third of survey respondents, the answer is clear: make them feel valued and appreciated. This answer was the overwhelming winner, with the next most popular choice – having a more interesting job – selected by a fifth of those questioned.

Although British workers don’t look forward to returning to work after their summer holidays, our research has shown that a large proportion of employees actually enjoy their jobs, – commented Denise Willett, General Manager at Achievers EMEA. But the most interesting finding for employers is that the easiest way to keep their workforce engaged and motivated throughout the year is simply by taking the time to ensure they feel appreciated. Employee recognition platforms like those provided by Achievers are a simple and effective way to do this.

Achievers recommends employers also consider more flexible summer work hours, where possible, and reinforce the importance of switching off during summer breaks by implementing initiatives such as peer recognition campaigns which thank holiday back-ups for covering for their colleagues.

Additional key findings from the research:

  • Only 4 per cent of workers actively hate their job.
  • To return to work with more enthusiasm, 20 per cent of the workforce surveyed would need a more interesting job while 19 per cent would like a more supportive working environment.
  • 62 per cent of respondents say they’re not expected to check in with work while on holiday.
  • 64 per cent of workers claim they like to hear about their colleagues’ holidays and see their photos.

*The Back to work survey was administered by Pollfish on behalf of Achievers via email on 21 August 2019. The sample size included 1,000 respondents.


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