New research by an online travel agency in the UK has revealed that half of Britons in employment throughout the UK have fallen out with a co-worker over annual leave; in the sense that they both wanted the same time off, but weren’t allowed.

Furthermore, 11% of workers have booked a holiday in the past five years and ended up having to cancel or move the departure date after finding out that they couldn’t get the time off work.

Holiday bookings seemingly cause problems in a number of UK workplaces, according to new research revealed today. More than half of employed Britons have previously fallen out with a colleague over clashes in dates that they wanted to take off as annual leave when the other person also wanted to.

The team behind online travel agency Sunshine conducted the study as part of ongoing research into the holiday bookings of Britons. 2,194 people aged 18 and over from around the UK took part in the study and all respondents were in full or part time employment (not self employed). Those taking part were asked questions about the annual leave they were allowed to take at work.

The first question put to respondents to the survey was ‘Have you ever fallen out with or clashed with a colleague over wanting to take the same dates off work, but not being allowed to?’ To this, 53% of the total respondents said ‘yes’. Women were more likely to fall out with co-workers in this way, making up two thirds (65%) of the respondents who said ‘yes’.

When analysing what sectors the people who’d fallen out with co-workers over annual leave were working in, to determine in what areas of employment this was most likely to happen, Sunshine found that those in the fields of finance/accountancy (27%), marketing/advertising/PR (16%) and retail/sales (12%) had the highest probability of clashing with colleagues over time off.

All respondents were asked if, in the past five years, they had ever booked a holiday which they had later had to cancel or re-arrange as a result of not being able to get the time off work for the trip. More than one in ten, 11%, of the respondents taking part in the survey said that this had happened to them. When these people were asked why they couldn’t get the time off work, the majority (71%) said it was due to someone else having already booked the time off and them not being allowed to  on the same dates.

Anyone who had fallen out with a colleague over not being able to have the same time off was asked if they had resolved the issues with the co-worker in question afterwards, to which 85% said ‘yes’. All respondents were asked if they felt like they were organised with their annual leave planning at work, to which 64% of the people taking part said ‘no’. When asked in what way they were disorganised, 39% of the relevant respondents said that they were ‘too wasteful/impulsive’ with their annual leave and ended up running out too soon, whilst 28% said that they were ‘too careful’ and ended up with too much left at the end of the year.

Chris Clarkson, Managing Director of Sunshine said the following: “Having harmony in a working environment is important and staff falling out over when they can and can’t take annual leave is never ideal. Some employers have strict rules about which staff members can be off at the same time and which cannot and that’s something that is often vital to the running of a business. Being left short-staffed because everyone wants to go on holiday during the same week can end up leaving clients and customers on edge and unsatisfied.

“It’s a shame that holiday bookings are causing clashes in UK workplaces, but the best advice that we could possibly give is to be extra organised with your holidays. If you know you want to go away during a certain week in a certain month, get in there early and book the time off before someone else does. If you do end up clashing with a colleague about annual leave, try talking to them. It may be that they don’t actually need to take the time off that they’ve booked, so they may be willing to re-schedule their annual leave to help you out. Perhaps they’d just booked it off to have a lazy week at home, in which case they won’t mind at all!”