East Midlands Burnout: 8 in 10 workers won't be able to switch off this summer

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With the summer holidays around the corner, wellness brand Naturecan reveals East Midlands workers struggle to unplug from work, and many will suffer work-related anxiety this summer break.

In today’s hyper-connected world, the line between work and personal life is becoming increasingly blurred. More and more people struggle to leave work at work, carrying those worries with them long after their shift is over and extending to their days off or holidays.

In some countries like Portugal, there are already laws in place to guarantee the right to disconnect for employees. The UK, however, is lagging behind. Although Labour are calling for "the right to switch off" as part of their New Deal for Working People, a very timely topic with the upcoming elections, there’s still nothing set in place to safeguard UK workers' time off.

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To explore this issue, Naturecan conducted a survey of 1,250 employed UK adults via OnePoll to look into their ability to switch off from work and their working habits, identifying patterns based on age, and variations across regions.

Source: UnsplashSource: Unsplash
Source: Unsplash

Work worries follow East Midlands workers on days off and holidays

Even during their days off, a whopping 80% think about work at least twice a day.

“We have become so accustomed to being contactable 24/7 that the boundaries have become blurred between our work life and our home life. This can make it hard for us to switch off, even when we are not meant to be working.” says Georgina Sturmer, Counsellor and MBACP.

Although holidays are meant to be relaxing and allow for unwinding, 45% still check work emails or messages at least once during a week-long holiday. Not being able to fully disconnect has a direct toll on their holidays perception as well, with 25% admitting that work-related anxiety has negatively affected what should be an enjoyable and stress-free time, and will do so again this year.

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65% struggle to switch off after work

Many carry work-related worries and stress long after working hours. In fact, over 6 in 10 employed East Midlands workers struggle to switch off after work on a regular basis. Not only do they find it difficult to clear their heads, but 46% also check their work emails and messages at least once a week out of working hours, and 19% do it every day.

This inability to disconnect has broader implications beyond just mental fatigue. 50% report that their inability to switch off from work has prevented them from participating in post-work activities, with men being more likely than women to cancel their plans due to work burnout.

“When we've had a difficult day, it may feel like we want to preserve energy by taking a night off from hobbies and physical activity, but it can have the opposite effect. Hobbies and physical activities release the brain's 'happy chemicals,' such as endorphins, serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin. These chemicals help reduce stress and boost mood, allowing us to switch off from work-related worries more effectively” says Joanna Buckland, counsellor, and founder of WellBe Link.

“To protect your holidays and prevent work-related stress from permeating this time of the year, you must first establish these boundaries before your holiday time begins. Notify your workmates and clients about your unavailability and assign someone else to take care of the urgent things in your place. Then, avoid bringing work-related material such as laptop when possible, and engage in activities that will enhance the happy hormones of your brain” advices Niloufar Esmaeilpour, MSc, RCC, SEP and founder at Lotus Therapy.

With summer holidays around the corner, it’s more important than ever to acknowledge the burnout problem that UK employed adults suffer, and to reflect on our own work habits.

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