Are Unlimited Holidays a Cure for Burnout?

The workplace epidemic of ‘burnout’ is on the rise and experts have suggested that unlimited holidays may provide a solution. Perkbox recently conducted a survey of 1,342 working Brits to reveal opinions surrounding unlimited holidays and the impact that these policies are having on the fight against burnout.

Perkbox’s study shows that this initiative is indeed backed by many. 39% of employed people see unlimited holidays as either a great or good idea to help them switch off. This figure rises to a staggering 70% at the C-suite level.

What’s more, when looking at how long it takes people to switch off from work on vacation, it becomes apparent why unlimited holidays may be necessary. On the one hand, 30% of people take 1-2 days to switch off from work, the results revealed, whilst almost 1 in 5 (18%) take 3-4 days. On the other, the most popular amount of holiday to take off in one go was 5-6 days. It’s therefore clear that employees’ vacation time is often cut short by thoughts of the office or uncompleted tasks – signaling that limited holiday policies may no longer allow for enough time to fully recharge and combat burnout year-round.

In terms of being a ‘cure’, 1/3 agree that unlimited holidays help to alleviate stress and burnout and that more holidays are needed to compensate for intense day-to-day working schedules. As for whether the policy actually works, 26% believe unlimited holidays have decreased the number of sick leave days taken, rising to an impressive 37% of the C-suite level.

Whether unlimited holidays can actually cure burnout or are simply a means of hiding it, is yet to be proven. But for the benefits to be reaped by employees, the thought appears to be that workplace leaders must communicate such policies with genuity in the company – 26% of respondents believe that unlimited holidays don’t help alleviate stress and burnout in the workplace unless workplace leaders ‘show that they really mean them’.

Madlena Pozlevic, Employee Experience Lead at Perkbox says:

“It’s clear that employees can find it hard to switch off from work on holiday. Factors such as the ease at which we can communicate with work, heavy workloads and the growing expectation of high performance, are leading to a rise in burnout and the need to be strict with ourselves when taking time to switch off and de-stress.

Employees should feel entitled to have a strong work/life balance, but for any policies aiming to achieve this, such as unlimited holiday, to genuinely work, they need to be utilised. What’s more, with the results of this study clearly showing that C-suite Execs are in agreement with the policy, it’s vital that these leaders communicate such thoughts with the whole company clearly to avoid anyone from ever feeling like an ‘office slacker’ when using them.”

About the author: Perkbox is a platform that provides a unique employee experience, enriching the personal and working life of employees. It offers a suite of products including a platform with access to best in class Perks, Perkbox Medical, Perkbox Recognition, and Perkbox Insights. It serves companies of all sizes from SMEs to large companies such as Whole Foods, Nando’s, Caffe Nero and Levi Strauss & Co. Headquartered in London, with offices in Sheffield and Paris, Perkbox has raised over £11.0 million in funding from the leading European venture capital firm Draper Esprit

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