Some people love their jobs, others aren’t so lucky. Yet, no matter how you feel about your job, one thing that almost everyone agrees on is the relaxing power of a good holiday. Given this, receiving a call, email, or text from work while you’re on holiday can be extremely irritating. One minute, you’re taking a well-earned break, the next, you receive a flurry of messages from your boss requesting your opinion on a new project.

Actually, a recent study tested how stressful receiving a message from your boss while on holiday really is. They placed participants in a variety of situations to ascertain their stress levels, and found that receiving a call from your boss while on holiday was the most stressful scenario, beating things like arguing with a partner and even bungee jumping. On average, it took people four hours to get back into ‘holiday mode’ after being interrupted by their boss’ message.1

Despite this, a new survey by Budget Direct Travel Insurance has found that 61% of surveyed Australians had been contacted by a boss or colleague while on holiday. The survey used a used a sample size of 1,000 people weighted to be representative of Australian adults aged 18+.

Has your manager or colleague ever called, emailed, or texted you while on holiday?

The majority of surveyed Australians (61%) said they had been contacted by a manager or colleague while they were on holiday. It seems likely that technology has played a role in normalising this behaviour, allowing managers and colleagues to contact an employee in almost any situation. Additionally, this suggests that many people are struggling to implement work life balance strategies which separate their job from their personal life.

Women were more likely than men to have been contacted by a manager or colleague while on holiday, with 64.4% compared to 57.5% of surveyed men. Further, 25-34 year olds were more likely than any other surveyed age group to have been contacted by a manager or colleague while on holiday, with 67%. This number dropped to 56.8% among surveyed 35-44 year olds. Elsewhere, 18-24 year olds and 45-54 year olds both hovered around the overall average of 60% for being contacted by a manager or colleague while on holiday.

In terms of location, Tasmania (47.6%) was the only state in which fewer than half of surveyed employees had been contacted by a manager or colleague while on holiday. While there is no obvious reason that this should be the case, given all Australian states and territories are governed by the same annual leave laws, it certainly bodes well for employees in the Apple Isle.

In every other Australian state and territory, more than 50% of surveyed employees had been contacted by a manager or colleague while on holiday. Western Australia led the way with a massive 71.7%, while more than 60% of those surveyed in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, and the Northern Territory had been contacted by a manager or colleague while on holiday.

Unsurprisingly, full time employees were more likely than part time employees to have been contacted by a manager or colleague while on holiday, with 62.9% vs 56.9% of surveyed part time employees.

Just as noteworthy, however, were the reasons why participants had been contacted while on holiday.

If yes - what was it for?

 

Respondents were able to select more than 1 response

The first thing that stands out about these results is the number of people who had been contacted more than once. While 613 respondents had been contacted while they were on holiday, there were 1,009 responses to this particular question. Evidently, many people had been contacted for multiple reasons.

The most common reason that people had been contacted by a manager or colleague while on holiday was simply to ‘ask a question about something’. 62.8% of those surveyed had experienced this, making it almost twice as prevalent as the next most common response of ‘an emergency or problem cropped up’ (37.8%). Women were significantly more likely to be contacted to answer a question than men, with 70.1% of surveyed women compared to 54.4% of men. Perhaps this indicates that women are perceived as better problem solvers. On the other hand, it may paint a less than favourable picture of the workplace gender divide.

Conversely, if an emergency situation cropped up, men were more likely to be contacted, with 39.6% compared to 36.3% of surveyed women. 18-24 year olds were by far the least likely to be contacted in an emergency with only 29.5% of those surveyed. For every other age group this figure hovered around 40%, showing that senior employees were considered to be more reliable in emergency situations.

Nevertheless, when it came to locating a file, 18-24 year olds were the go-to age group. Nearly one quarter (23.5%) of those surveyed had been contacted by a manager or colleague for this reason. This percentage decreased for every other surveyed age group, reaching a low of just 11.1% among 45-54 year olds. In all likelihood, this is because 18-24 year olds are typically more ‘tech savvy’ than their older counterparts, and are therefore more likely to know where specific files are located.

The news wasn’t all bad, however, with 11.7% of those surveyed being contacted to discuss something unrelated to work. Women were again more likely than men to be contacted for this reason, 13.7% vs 9.5%, while 45-54 year olds were almost half as likely as any other surveyed age group to be contacted to discuss non-work related matters, with only 6.9%.

With all of this in mind, it comes as a slight surprise to learn that 40.2% of surveyed Australians chose to connect with their office during their last personal holiday.

On your last personal holiday, did you connect with your office (manager or colleague) at some point?

There was a stark difference between respondents who had been contacted by a manager or colleague while on holiday (61%) and respondents who had connected with their office at some point on their last personal holiday (40.2%). It is possible that people chose to connect with the office while on holiday simply because they wanted to stay in the loop. Equally, people may have felt obligated to stay in contact with their office, even while on a personal holiday.

Men and women were both likely to have contacted the office during their last personal holiday, with surveyed women edging it slightly by 42.4% to 37.9%. In terms of age, 25-34 year olds were by far the most likely to have connected with the office during their last personal holiday, with nearly half (47.7%) of those surveyed having done so. This correlates with 25-34 year olds also being the age group most likely to have been contacted by a manager or colleague while on holiday. At the other end of the scale, only one third (33.6%) of surveyed 45-54 year olds had connected with the office during their last personal holiday.

Location-wise, results were relatively even. Most states and territories hovered around the overall average of 40% when it came to connecting with the office during their last personal holiday.

Whether your phone rings off the hook while you’re on holiday or you switch it off for the duration of your time off, it’s clear that a large number of surveyed Australians have to deal with the tricky situation of being contacted by work while on holiday. And with apps and technologies constantly evolving, it seems likely that this trend will continue. As such, setting firm boundaries with your work may become more important than ever.

Disclaimer

This survey was conducted by Pure Profile on behalf of Budget Direct in October 2018. All figures are from this research unless stated otherwise. The survey was conducted online with a total sample size of 1,000 weighted and representative of all Australian adults (aged 18+)

Get a quote and buy online to save 15%^