SME employees forced to work during summer holidays

Just under a third of Small to Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) employees will work every day this summer holiday (2019) instead of taking a break.

According to research from Process Bliss, a process management firm, 31 per cent of SME employees will work once a day during the summer holidays. A smaller representation, 7.7 per cent, said they would work more than once every day.

In total, 67 per cent of SME employees will spend some time working this summer holiday. There seems to be an expectation for SME employees to be ready and available to work over the summer. As 45 per cent of employees said their clients expect them to work over summer and 41 per cent saying their boss expects them to be available.

Employees stated their main reason for working over summer holidays (36 per cent) were that they could not relax properly on holiday without knowing things are being done.  Over a fifth (28 per cent) said they were being conscientious, 24 per cent said they were worried something important would be missed. As well as 16 per cent saying they did not trust colleagues and 13 per cent saying they felt like the only ones who can do the job.

A quarter (25 per cent) said it is currently a busy time for their business and so they must be constantly by their laptop. Still, 10 per cent said that working over holidays allows them to get away from their families and 7 per cent saying they get bored on summer holiday.

More than a fifth (28 per cent) will have direct contact with customers and suppliers with 17 per cent actually writing reports.

Alister Esam, CEO at Process Bliss said:

No-one should ever be expected to work during holidays, or feel that the SME they work for cannot manage for a few weeks without them. There’s also a clear difference between a few quicks checks on email and spending every day of a holiday working. SMEs need to put in place better training programmes to ensure people can take a full break, or establish proper processes for tasks and roles so others in the organisation can follow those and ensure everything gets done as it should do.

An online survey of 1,000 employees within UK SMEs was conducted in June 2019.

Interested in wellbeing in the workplace We recommend the Workplace Wellbeing and Stress Forum 2019.





Darius is the editor of HRreview. He has previously worked as a finance reporter for the Daily Express. He studied his journalism masters at Press Association Training and graduated from the University of York with a degree in History.