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Staff spend up to three hours a day working while on summer holiday, claims Regus

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Two fifths of employees (39%) will not be relaxing properly this summer, but trying to fit in up to three hours’ work each day on their ‘workation’ instead of relaxing by the pool or spending time with their families and friends, according to a 2,500-strong poll commissioned by Regus, the global workspace provider.

Amongst those who just can't switch off are a hard-core minority of workaholics: almost one in 10 (8%) will work over three hours a day on holiday.

Not only are UK professionals taking too much work on holiday, but far too many will be glued to their smartphones and netbooks with 25% declaring that they will be operating on a slightly reduced 'business as usual' from the sunbed. So instead of enjoying some free time with their nearest and dearest, they will try to juggle all the stress of work alongside disgruntled partners and disappointed children.

Katherine Rake, chief executive of the Family and Parenting Institute, said: "Developments in technology such as wifi and smartphones have placed the UK on the cusp of a flexible working revolution, allowing people to work at a time and location which best suits their personal and family needs. But this technological change also means it's now all too easy, and all too tempting, to allow work to encroach on a precious family holiday.

"Employers need to support staff to truly switch off while they are on leave. Bosses must introduce company policies banning themselves and other staff from contacting those taking time off. If they can pledge to save the summer holiday in this way, they will be rewarded with more productive workers returning to the office. They will also be helping to defend family life."

Steve Purdy, UK MD of Regus, added: "We all know how easy it is to check work emails while holiday but that runs the risk of getting sucked into completing tasks that arise from them. With smartphones, netbooks and internet connections everywhere it has become very difficult to really switch off, but taking a break and devoting time to rest, family and friends is vital to remain healthy. Reports show that a stressed mind is the perfect breeding ground for further unhealthy anxiety. The consequences of not truly taking a break are evident across Britain where stress has become the main cause for long-term sickness absence.

"Businesses need to urgently look at ways of increasing efficiency and productivity to save their staff from carrying work over into their personal time if they want staff to remain happy, healthy and productive. By introducing more flexibility and allowing workers to reduce commute time and work closer to home, businesses can become more efficient leaving workers free to really switch off when they are on holiday."