Annual leave is a benefit all employees receive. In the UK, the typical allocation is around 28 days, during which we’re encouraged to leave our work and focus on relaxing and rejuvenating.
Particularly in recent years, companies have implemented various initiatives to allow a more flexible approach to working, including cutting working hours to just six a day. We’re trying to make our working lives more balanced.
However, we seem to be forgetting that annual leave plays an important part in this. Reports suggest that only 1 in 3 of us actually takes our full annual leave allocation each year. Here, we’ll explore the benefits of annual leave and why it’s important to take yours.
The benefits of annual leave
There are many benefits to taking annual leave. These include:
- Stress relief
Taking time away from the business gives our bodies and minds the chance to realign. It’s our opportunity to relax, away from the pressures of our day job, and to focus on other areas of our lives that also make us happy, such as friends and family.
Much like sleep helps our bodies rejuvenate, annual leave is an important part of our year and one of very few chances we get to truly forget about work.
This in turn relieves stress. We delegate tasks to our colleagues while we’re away, which means the period prior to annual leave is usually one in which we complete tasks and re-prioritise. This helps us to focus and clear our minds, bringing our levels of stress down.
When we work constantly, our bodies are prone to burn out. This is where we've worked hard for so long, we simply can't do it anymore.
Time out of the office gives you chance to relieve that stress and think about things in a most positive manner, with clarity to help you work more productively and effectively.
Encouraging your employees to use their annual leave can also reduce the number of sick days taken each year, which has a tangible impact on your bottom line.
It’s important we show our colleagues that we trust them with our work, and that we can rely on them to do a great job in our absence. Taking annual leave, especially if you’re more senior in a business, tells your colleagues that you do trust them and gives them the chance to develop professionally too.
Top tips for annual leave
Follow these tips to make the most of your annual leave time:
- Set an out of office responder that gives people an alternative contact during your absence
- Turn off your email notifications and work phone so you can relax and forget about your day job
- Delegate work in advance so your colleagues have chance to ask questions of you before you leave
Holidays in the UK
Annual leave usually means going on holiday. For most of us, the lure of sunnier climates is strong, but at the same time, you needn’t take long overseas breaks to get the most out of your time off.
There has been a growing trend for ‘staycations’ in recent years, with people choosing to holiday right here in the UK. We’ve got some stunning destinations, including the Lake District, Peak District, Scottish Highlands, Welsh coastline, the white cliffs of Dover and so many more.
The New Forest is one area which has grown significantly in popularity as people have chosen to holiday in the UK. Located just 1.5 hours from London, it's a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of daily life. You can find a stunning range of luxurious, unique New Forest cottages for your stay via independent provider New Forest Living.
Of course, you don't even need to go that far; many people are choosing to stay at home for their annual leave, taking the opportunity to explore their home region as if they were a tourist in it.
Time for a break?
Many companies are implementing initiatives to make working life more flexible. But despite that, we’re still failing to even take our full annual leave allocation.It's important that we lead the way in ensuring we take the holiday we deserve and that we make the most of that time. Remember; the business won't fall apart just because you've been away for a few days!