A UK report shows that working while you should be relaxing isn’t the flex you think it is. In fact, it may lead to a slump in productivity over time and even worse, exhaustion.
Originally published in the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, researchers conducted weekly surveys of 90 full-time school educators in the United Kingdom over two months before, during and after their school’s winter break.
The results showed there were practically no benefits of vacation time when the employees were working when they should’ve been resting. This activity includes checking email, preparing or finishing work, or speaking to colleagues about work.
Other companies recognize the counter-productive nature of their employees working while on vacation and have put policies in place to stop it. For example, CNN reported that Dream11, a fantasy gaming platform, announced they will fine its employees 100,000 rupees ($1,200) if they contact colleagues with “work-related calls or messages” during their time off.
Another example is Nike, who in August 2021 closed offices for a week to give employees a mental health break. The leading sports apparel brand said they made the move to show their commitment to putting some of its employees’ mental health ahead of productivity.
Mental health and wellness have increasingly become major priorities as rates of work-induced burnout continue to rise. According to a November 2022 workplace report from Aflac, more than half (59%) of American workers are experiencing at least moderate levels of burnout. That’s a 7% increase from last. year.
“A major concern of employee burnout is the impact on their well-being and how it affects engagement and retention,” said Matthew Owenby, chief human resources officer, Aflac Incorporated.