British workers reluctant to take career breaks risk burnout

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Despite almost two-thirds (65%) of British employees saying they would consider an extended leave away from work, it seems they are unlikely to take such a break and instead risk burnout. New independent research commissioned by Opodo compared Britain with other nations across Europe and the USA, which reveals that British workers are lagging behind employees from other countries when it comes to flexible working hours and benefits like extended leave such as ‘sabbaticals’. 

UK employees are among the other European nationals most likely to be allowed extended leave by their current employer, with one in five (20%) polled in Britain saying their workplace allows them to take this break. However, more than half (54%) of those questioned believe it would be hard to return to work after a sabbatical.

A very wary one in five (21%) feel it could make them less employable, while a further one in ten (13%) think it will harm their career prospects with their current employer. Many other European nations are much more in favour of sabbaticals, stipulating that it helps with employment for potential roles in the future within companies across the globe, while British workers think that it will do more harm than good.

Almost two-thirds of people (61%) in Spain believe extended leave will help them in the future in terms of employability and more than half (60%) of the people in Germany said the same, while a further 49% of people working in France also believe sabbaticals can help with employment. The research suggests that an extended break from work would actually be useful for many, despite Brits being least likely of all the nations surveyed to return refreshed from their summer holiday. Almost one in four of us (23%) feel revitalised after a regular holiday or extended break, compared to 48% of people from Germany and 47% of respondents from the USA.

A spokesperson for Opodo said: “It’s all too easy to become overwhelmed by the stress of working life, particularly now we are working longer hours until later in life. “Given to the advancements in modern technology, many now also have their work emails and calendar synced to their phone, meaning we’re no longer simply working 9-5 but are clocked on 24/7. Taking a sabbatical can be a great release valve for this stress and offer the opportunity to do something you’ve always wanted – whether that’s going travelling, learning a new language or skill, or just taking some time off to focus on yourself.”

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