Brits on a Break: Unveiling the Truth Behind Annual Leave

Brits on a Break: Unveiling the Truth Behind Annual Leave

Read Time: 5 Minutes


26 Mar 2024

In today's fast-paced professional world, understanding the annual leave habits of employees has become more critical than ever. 

To gain deeper insights into annual leave, we surveyed 1,000 UK employees from various industries with the goal of uncovering valuable insights into how employees manage their annual leave, including their approach to work emails, the use of out-of-office notifications, and their overall annual leave consumption.


How Much Annual Leave Are Brits Taking?

In a fast-paced work environment, securing time off can be challenging. However, with companies increasingly offering progressive benefits like unlimited paid time off, the annual leave landscape in the UK is shifting. Yet, amidst these changes, the question remains: how much annual leave are Brits really taking?

Unsurprisingly, almost 50% of us use between 20 and 30 days of annual leave a year, pretty standard given that by law, you're entitled to 5.6 weeks of statutory paid holiday a year.

Shockingly, one in eight respondents revealed that they don't take their annual leave!

Of those who work for more progressive companies, 12% shared that they indulge in more than 30 days of annual leave a year, with just under a quarter of Brits having only 20 days or less of annual leave.

To deeper understand why workers take annual leave, we asked respondents their reason for taking time off.

Unsurprisingly 69% shared they mainly use their annual leave for holidays and getaways.

16% use their annual leave due to health and wellbeing and one in twenty use it just because they have to.


To Prepare or Not Prepare

From wrapping up a big project to creating a detailed handover, when the countdown to Brit’s holiday begins, the question of preparation levels arises: Is diligent pre-holiday work preparation a must, or simply an added stressor, particularly for those taking leave for their well-being or to combat burnout?

We asked survey respondents how much preparation they do when they have a holiday coming up.

Interestingly only 52% of Brits prepare work in advance for a handover.

Leaving just 23% who shared they’ll only do the bare minimum and a quarter of Brits who revealed that they’ll just drop everything and pick it up on their return to work.



Out of Office: Essential or Expendable?

Crafting an effective out of office message is more than just a formality; it's a vital tool for setting boundaries, managing expectations, and maintaining work-life balance in today's interconnected world, but does that mean we actually remember to set one?

We asked our survey respondents if they set an out-of-office when they leave the office for their annual leave.

45% of respondents shared that they will always make sure to set an OOO, with almost a third revealing they only set one sometimes.

Good luck getting in touch, almost a quarter of survey respondents revealed that they don’t set an OOO for their contacts.


Bosses Behaving Badly

Delving into the realm of work-life balance, a pressing common issue often emerges: should bosses have the prerogative to cancel plans or reach out on your day off? 

We quizzed our survey respondents to find out whether they reply to work emails when they’re meant to be on annual leave.

A staggering quarter of Brits revealed that they reply to work emails during annual leave, with 55% sharing that will reply to work emails if they deem them important.

Only 20% of respondents shared that they never responded to emails when on holiday.

Shockingly, almost 40% of respondents shared that at some point their manager or boss has tried to contact them about work or to do work whilst on annual leave. 3 in 50 respondents also revealed that they have had their annual leave cancelled or revoked without good reason.

Are you guilty of answering work emails on holiday? Had to cancel your time off due to work commitments? Let us know your thoughts on social media by using #instantprintuk!


About the Author

Hi, I’m Ally and I’m instantprint’s PR Lead. I enjoy writing content to help small businesses succeed and inspire them to get creative with their print marketing.