Office workers discouraged from taking leave

Over half of employees (60%) have said their employer actively discourages them from taking time off, according to new research.

A survey by Just Eat for Business found 22% of office workers were unable to take annual leave as a result of staff shortages and reduced resources.

Even when taking annual leave, a quarter (26%) of office workers felt unable to enjoy their time as they were being contacted by their employers to help cover unplanned staff absences and excessive workloads.

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Ensuring employees take their annual leave

This practice is having a negative effect, as 44% of workers reported feeling burnt out at work.

A further third (33%) said that maintaining a healthy work/life balance was the most stressful aspect of work.

Claire Lassiter, senior HR consultant from Pure Human Resources, said annual leave is an employee right and shouldn't be viewed as a benefit.

Speaking to HR magazine, she said: "Annual leave should never be seen as a perk. Everyone needs a break to maintain their health and wellbeing, and ultimately to maintain their performance levels at work. Some organisations mandate that a set amount of annual leave is taken within each quarter of the year to ensure that employees use leave on a regular basis: others need to limit how much can be taken during their peak periods.

"Restricting the amount of discretionary carry over at the end of the leave year and reminding employees on a regular basis to plan ahead and book time off can help ensure that people take time out throughout the year – for the benefit of the individual and the business alike."

Recent Office for National Statistics (ONS) data showed the UK is experiencing a record high 1.3 million job vacancies, compounding the staff shortages seen in the workplace.

Rosie Hyam, people partner at Just Eat, highlighted the importance of flexible working for employees.

She said: "Given the emphasis on employee well being and work-life balance over the last few years, it’s essential that employers are receptive to flexible working arrangements, and that they allow employees to take time away from work when needed.

"It doesn’t have to be a big break - organisations may want to carve out some time to ensure that employees can take a break and socialise with colleagues during the working week. This can be done through in-office lunches, socials or team bonding activities."

Just Eat for Business surveyed 200 workers across the UK.