Almost a third worry they will have to answer work calls while away

Nearly two-thirds of workers (61 per cent) dread returning to work after summer vacation, a study by Bupa has found.

In a survey of 2,000 full-time workers, 55 per cent said they worried about returning to a huge backlog of work and 54 per cent said they were concerned about the number of emails they would come back to.

And almost a third (32 per cent) worried that their vacation would be interrupted by calls or emails from the office that they would be expected to respond to.

Those left at work are also feeling the strain. Almost two-thirds (64 per cent) of those responding to the Bupa survey said that they felt under pressure over the summer because they had to pick up the work of those away on holiday, with 44 per cent saying that they face a ‘dramatic’ workload increase during the summer months.

Worryingly, more than 34 per cent said that they had experienced ‘stress, anxiety or depression’ over the summer and 35 per cent said they believed employee well-being was often ignored by managers at this time of year.

These findings are consistent with research by Harris Poll on behalf of Glassdoor published earlier this year.

It found that 44 per cent worked while they were on leave and 19 per cent said it was difficult not to think about work while they were away.

Furthermore, 18 per cent of those surveyed by Harris Poll said that a colleague had contacted them about a work-related matter while they were away and 13 per cent said that their boss had contacted them during their vacation.

The CIPD Annual Absence Management Survey Report 2013, which is produced in partnership with Simplyhealth, found that workload is the most common cause of workplace stress, with management style issues being the second most common.

However, one-third of employers who had identified stress as one of their top five causes of absence were not taking any steps to address it.

Dr Tim Woodman, medical director at Bupa, said: “Employees must be allowed to take their full annual leave entitlement and for that time-off to be a genuine break from work. It’s vital to maintain a healthy work-life balance and focus on family and relationships, uninterrupted by calls and emails.

“Far too many workers are enduring an extended period of summer stress – in the lead up to their holiday, while away and on their return. Stress can be the trigger for serious mental and physical health issues and many businesses are still failing to realise the importance of employee well-being.”

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