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48% of Brits check work emails on holiday, up from 38% last year

LONDON, UK. – 17 October, 2011 – TripAdvisor®, the world’s largest travel site*, can reveal Britain’s workforce is under increasing pressure to stay connected to the office, even while on holiday.  Since last year, the proportion of British workers checking emails on holiday has increased to 48%, up from 38%.*

Not only are Brits working on holiday, a significant number aren’t taking the time off to begin with – 31% of respondents admit they don’t always take their full annual leave allowance.

“These results expose some challenging modern developments, with Brits finding it increasingly difficult to switch off from work and unwind on holiday,” commented Emma Shaw, TripAdvisor spokesperson.  “While mobile technology has made our lives easier in so many ways, it’s added an additional layer of expectation to be on call even when on holiday.”

Addicted to email

With nearly half of Britons now checking work emails on holiday, up substantially from last year, it is clear Brits feel increasing pressure to keep in touch while out of the office:

  • 57% check emails on holiday to reduce their workload upon returning

  • 39% claim they relax more if they know what’s going on in the office

  • 23% check because they love their job and want to stay in touch

  • 19% claim they simply find it difficult to switch off from work

  • 12% check because it’s the status quo in their workplace

Of those Brits who check work emails on holiday, 47% say they do so every day. While Brits may find it difficult to stay offline on holiday, the majority draw the line at actually making or taking work calls – only 43% admit to taking work calls on holiday – far fewer than the European average of 67%.

Our European neighbours are even worse - over half (54%) of European respondents admit to checking their work emails on leisure trips.  German respondents top the list with almost two-thirds (61%) unable to disconnect.

Employees feel pressure to stay connected

The TripAdvisor research reveals some worrying insights into the British workplace – 13% of respondents claim their employer expects them to be contactable when they’re away. Although this may seem high, the expectation is even higher in Europe where 20% of French respondents, 23% of Italian and German respondents and a significant 32% of Spanish respondents said they’re expected to be contactable.

Working on holiday causes relationship tension

Working on holiday is taking its toll, with nearly one-third (32%) of British respondents admitting they enjoy their time away less as a direct result.  In addition:

  • 15% of Brits have argued with a partner about working on holiday.

  • 5% have lied to their partners about working on holiday – making Brits the most deceptive of all Europeans surveyed.

Hard-working Germany

Of all the European markets surveyed Germans are the hardest at work while on holiday:

  • 61% of Germans check emails while on holiday, compared to the UK’s 48%

  • 23% of Germans say their employers expect them to be contactable when on holiday, compared to 13% in the UK

Perhaps this is a symptom of decreased job security in an uncertain economy, but Brits – as well as Europeans – are really putting in the hours, even when away on holiday,” continued Shaw.

*Survey was carried out in September 2011 on 10,115 French, German, Italian and UK respondents.  1,103 of the respondents were from the UK


For more information contact Emma Shaw / / 0203 320 3210