Should you take annual leave this summer?

Here, Phil Sheridan, senior managing director, Robert Half UK, tells us why we should be taking our annual leave this summer.

Working long hours can easily become a habit, but all work and no play can quickly spiral into burnout. Your capacity for innovative thinking and effective problem solving can also take a dive as a result. Studies have shown that people are more productive and happier when they take their annual leave.

According to a study by the Chartered Management Institute, more than two fifths of managers don’t use their full annual leave entitlement. When our research shows that a quarter of finance leaders believes that commercial activity winds down over the summer months, why not use it as an opportunity to relax and unwind.

What are the holiday entitlements for UK employees?

Most workers are legally entitled to 5.6 weeks paid holiday per year, so an employee working five days a week is entitled to 28 days’ paid annual leave. For part-time employees, holiday entitlements are calculated on a pro-rata basis. While some employers may offer additional annual leave days, you can calculate your holiday entitlement based on your employment contract.

Still considering if you can afford to take time off this summer?

As you consider the stack of work on your desk and how short-staffed your department is, taking holidays are anything but a relaxing thought. Is it possible to get away without worrying about how far behind you’ll be when you return? Here are a few suggestions on how you can take a few days off over the summer holidays without feeling like to will pay for it later:

Head to an exciting destination for your summer holiday. Schedule a week off and pick an exciting destination which will give you something to look forward to. Pick a time far enough in advance so that you prepare for your annual leave accordingly to ensure that critical deadlines don’t pass while you are away.

Consider creating a few long weekends of your own. If you aren’t able to commit to long break from work, consider taking a few Fridays off for extended weekends. You’d be surprised how big an impact this small schedule change can have on your overall well-being. Use the time to pursue a passion project or check off your normal weekend to-dos so you can actually relax on Saturday and Sunday.

Consider a ‘staycation’. You don’t always need to go away to reap the benefits of taking annual leave of the summer, sometimes a week at home can be just as relaxing. Spending time at home with your family, reading a good book, or setting time aside to complete some of your home improvement projects will go a long way to helping you to reduce your stress levels.

While you are on are annual leave, it’s important to unplug from work. If you continue to check you emails and check in with your office while you are on annual leave, it can be just as bad as not taking time off at all. If this isn’t an option, schedule set times to review your email or follow-up on any urgent voicemail messages to limit the amount of time to spend on these tasks.

If you’re a manager, consider bringing in temporary employees to take on some of your team’s workload. Your employees will appreciate the reprieve (and feel less guilty about taking a summer holiday) and you can feel confident that projects will stay on track.

Phil Sheridan is senior managing director of Robert Half UK

Further reading on taking annual leave

Owen Gough, SmallBusiness UK

Owen Gough

Owen was a reporter for Bonhill Group plc writing across the and titles before moving on to be a Digital Technology reporter for the

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