Global job board CareersinAudit.com has published the results of a survey which shows that 75 per cent of accountants admit they check their mobile or emails for work communication whilst on holiday. In addition, 40 per cent state they look multiple times a day and a further 37 per cent looking once a day. Five years ago, CareersinAudit.com conducted a similar research study around work life balance – whilst nearly eight in ten planned to check work emails or mobiles at some point during their holiday, far less (16 per cent) were looking multiple times a day, although nearly four in ten admitted to looking once a day.
It seems that work/life erodes in other personal time for the profession, with six in ten respondents admitting that have had to miss an important family or friend’s occasion because of work – these included a wedding (24 per cent), a children’s school event (22 per cent), a funeral (14 per cent) and a spouse’s/partner’s birthday (15 per cent). Five years ago, three in ten accountants admitted to missing an important event.
The results of 2017’s research regarding stress in the profession also revealed that nearly two thirds (65 per cent) revealed that their employer expects to contact them outside work hours throughout the year – with the majority of respondents, 54 per cent admitting that it bothers them and they feel they should be able to finish the working day and focus on their private life. However, three in ten are resigned to their work fate, stating ‘there is nothing I can do about it’ and a further 21 per cent believing that if they said anything it could affect their job or chances of promotion.
Simon Wright, Operations Director, CareersinAudit.com comments: “Despite all the talk about work/life balance, it seems little has changed over the past five years. If anything, the excessive working culture and expectancy to be available or on call 365 days is getting worse.
“No matter how much energy staff have and apply to their work, everyone needs to take a break. It has been proven time and time again that a good holiday, catch up on sleep and letting go of the day to day issues (whether for a few days or a couple of weeks) will mean that staff return with renewed enthusiasm and are even more productive when they return to work,” he concludes.
CareersinAudit.com’s top tips for making the most of the holiday season include
1 Manage the workload and your client’s expectations
Accountancy heads should be send written communication to clients or within their company to advise them the firm and/or certain individuals will not be around during the holiday season. Advance polite warning will mean clients or others within their company can get their matters in order and work requests ahead of the festive break. Remind all staff to switch “out of office” for email messages, so any client sending a message during the holiday season does not expect a response sooner.
2 Lead by example
Employers should encourage staff to take a break and ask them not to look at work communication during the holiday season - in the unlikely event that a client emergency arises then they will be called. This will go some way to reassure staff that it is acceptable and not remiss to enjoy time off.
3 Digital detox
These days we are constantly surrounded by digital screens and bombarded by pixel lit messages, mostly for work. Re-charging the batteries at the end of the year means time to focus on oneself and your family, so consider a digital detox for a few days (or as long as possible).