Office workers need time off every 43 days to avoid burnout, new study shows

Mental health being affected in workplace common in working animals too, says leading vet

Emma Elsworthy
Wednesday 22 July 2020 16:36 BST
Seven in 10 adults suffer fatigue and feel run down if they go too long without booking a holiday
Seven in 10 adults suffer fatigue and feel run down if they go too long without booking a holiday (iStock)

British employees feel the need to take a break every 43 days – to avoid total burnout.

A study of 2,000 office workers found taking annual leave at least once every six weeks helps stave off exhaustion.

And seven in 10 adults agreed they suffer fatigue and feel run down if they go too long without booking a holiday.

It also emerged that the top tell-tale signs of a holiday being due include feeling stressed (56 per cent) and finding mental well-being is starting to suffer (53 per cent).

For three in 10 adults, sleepless nights are an indicator that work is beginning to take over, while 23 per cent will book a break if they find themselves crying for no particular reason.

Geoffrey Dennis, chief executive of Spana which provides free veterinary treatment to working animals in developing countries worldwide, said: “Everybody deserves a break, and having regular little pit-stops can make all the difference to both productivity at work, and mental health.

“It is so important to book time out before it gets to the point where you aren’t eating, sleeping or functioning properly.

“Luckily most British employers are understanding of this fact, and workers get a choice about when they can take a break.

“However, it’s sadly a very different story for working animals overseas, which undertake gruelling work every single day and never get to enjoy holidays or retirement.”

The study also found seven in 10 adults don’t feel the need to book a holiday abroad or in the UK to recuperate – being just as happy to spend a few days at home.

Of those who would book a break right now, almost half said they’d thoroughly enjoy the opportunity to simply relax in the garden.

And 43 per cent want nothing more than to put their feet up in front of the TV, while 41 per cent want a bit of peace and quiet to read a book.

Taking long walks (43 per cent), exercising (32 per cent) and pursuing a personal interest (23 per cent) are also high on the agenda when they do get to enjoy some time off work.

But one fifth of workers relish the thought of booking time off to do absolutely nothing.

When quizzed as to how they are feeling about work right now, while 26 per cent think they are coping well, one in 10 adults feel stressed, and a further eight per cent are exhausted.

More than one in 20 (seven per cent) workers are at the point where they feel unable to concentrate while fifteen per cent are fed up.

Mr Dennis added: “Breaks from work are absolutely essential for our mental well-being.

“Unfortunately, this kind of respite isn’t an option for working animals and their owners in developing countries.

“These working horses, donkeys, camels, elephants and other animals work tirelessly throughout the year, carrying backbreaking loads in harsh environments and extreme temperatures. A break from this toil is a distant dream.

“These animals urgently need our help – and that is where Spana comes in.

“The charity improves the welfare of working animals worldwide, providing vital veterinary care for sick and injured animals, as well as training and education for owners in how to better look after their animals – including ensuring they have adequate rest.”


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