2013 – Year of the working holiday?

Business people in the Middle East are too stressed to clock off for a holiday

Kuwait City, Kuwait – 6th August, 2013 – Hard-pressed workers the world over will lose out on precious holiday time this summer, finds research from Regus, the world's largest provider of flexible workplaces.

Regus asked more than 26,000 business people from 96 countries to reveal just how much of their summer holiday they planned to spend on work-related activities. In the Middle East, 51% of professionals reported that they would work one to three hours a day during their summer holidays, while 22% plan to devote more than three hours a day on professional tasks. 71% confirm that their level of attention to work while on holiday will equate to a slightly reduced ‘business as usual’ level.

Professionals in the Middle East are working even harder on holiday than in other countries. Worldwide, 39% of business professionals take a slightly reduced business as usual approach to their holiday, while 17% plan to work more than three hours a day and 41% say they dedicate one to three hours a day to work.

Global expert, Professor Thomas Cox CBE, comments: “It is documented that giving workers some control over their work and the way they do it can help reduce work stress. In particular by offering workers some freedom to manage how and when they work can help them achieve a better work:life balance ensuring that time devoted to family and relaxation is not riddled with work stress and activities. Being able to connect from any location is great, but workers really need to carve out time to switch off.”

The research also found that men have the most difficulty switching off with 42% of men globally turning their vacation into nothing more than business as usual by vowing to make calls, respond to emails, and attend to business during their vacation. A still very significant proportion of professional women (34%) are committed to the same level of work.

This gender trend is confirmed with 44% of professional men worldwide reporting that they will work between one and three hours a day, compared with 35% of women and 18% of men devoting over three hours daily to work versus 16% of women professionals.

Garry Gürtler, Vice President Middle East at Regus said: “The dedication people worldwide and are showing towards their jobs is admirable with a huge percentage of business professionals taking their work away with them. However, this can also be interpreted as an indication that they feel overstretched or insecure in their jobs and are unable to properly switch off. The effects of work place stress are well documented so it is important that workers carve out some personal time.

“On the one hand technology, such as video communications and WIFI, has certainly made working from almost anywhere in the world a reality, on the other this innovation should be channeled towards helping professionals work more flexibly and productively. Allowing workers reduce their commute or work closer to home can help professionals work more efficiently so they can really devote their holidays to relaxing.”