AnxietyMore than a third of people admit to often feeling worried or apprehensive the night before returning to work after the weekend, a survey has found.

An online YouGov poll of more than 1,250 employees in Britain, commissioned by mental health charity Mind, found that many people struggle to switch off from work – not helped by 24% saying that their employer had tried to contact them while on holiday. 

The survey highlighted how boundaries between work and life are becoming blurred. As well as a quarter of us having our holidays interrupted, the research also indicated that only 50% of respondents said that their manager respects that they have a life outside work, while 28% admitted that they often check work email outside of work.

Meanwhile, a separate survey by the Nationwide Building Society found that 15% of people still take work calls while on holiday.

The Nationwide survey also reported that 23% of people return from holiday more stressed than they left. And while 26% of people take two to three days to truly unwind on holiday, 1 in 10 take 3-4 days to relax.

Emma Mamo, head of workplace wellbeing at Mind, said: “We all need a good work/life balance to help unwind, de-stress and stay mentally healthy. With modern technology and our increasingly busy lives, the boundaries between our jobs and personal lives are becoming blurred. While many of us have to work outside normal office hours from time to time, we all need a break away from work in order to be at our best when we return. Encouraging a clear distinction between work and life is just one thing employers need to do to create a mentally healthy workplace. It’s not acceptable for staff to be contacted while they’re on annual leave unless it’s an emergency and there’s no alternative.

“Staff are happier, healthier, more likely to be loyal and productive if they work for an organisation which puts in place measures that promote mental wellbeing, such as flexible working hours and generous annual leave. With stress now the number one cause of sickness absence in the UK, it’s in employers’ interests to ensure that they look after the wellbeing of their staff. This includes rewarding employees for their hard work by ensuring their time off is exactly that so they can come back refreshed and at their best.”