What is the most popular week to be out of office this summer?

As the end of July draws nearer, the most popular week to be out of office is swiftly approaching. This being the week starting the 5th of August.

According to research by Cornerstone onDemand, a talent management software provider, almost a quarter (22 per cent) or seven million UK workers will be out of the office, on the week commencing 5th August.

For those who are not taking time off, 87 per cent of employees are expected to cover their colleague’s work. This could be made more difficult by the fact that over a third of companies (34 per cent) do not have a set procedure for handing over work whilst people are away on holiday. Also out of those leaving to go on holiday, 41 per cent feel guilty leaving their work for colleagues.

However, there are more benefits to covering work than initially expected.

Research shows that taking on others’ work leads to 39 per cent of UK workers learning more skills.

This is heightened if a worker is expected to take over the work of a senior colleague as 40 per cent said they learned more advanced skills. Additionally, just less than a third (32 per cent) of UK workers actually admit expanding their skills more by taking over a senior colleague’s role.

Furthermore, research shows this could actually improve relations within organisations as 40 per cent feel that colleagues trust them to take on more responsibility after taking on a senior colleague’s workload. It also improves the employee’s experience once their colleague does return from their time off as 33 per cent report feeling more confident in their own role.

Lizzie Benton, culture consultant at Liberty Mind, a company that supports SMEs improve their company culture, says:

Employees taking over other individuals work should be seen as a positive part of company culture. It provides support to those who need to take time off, and also allows for deeper collaboration. Many of us in the workplace are unaware of what our co-workers do. Therefore, getting others to support and help can lead to greater collaboration between team members.

Susan Hiller, head of communications EMEA, Cornerstone OnDemand, says:

Organisations should have a realistic view of what can be achieved during the summer months. That said, many employees seize the opportunity to learn new skills and leaders should track this untapped potential. Having that glimpse into colleagues’ job roles also means that employees are more likely to recognise possible career opportunities within their own organisation and how they can carve out that desired career path.

This study surveyed over 2,000 UK adults.






Monica Sharma is an English Literature graduate from the University of Warwick. As Editor for HRreview, her particular interests in HR include issues concerning diversity, employment law and wellbeing in the workplace. Alongside this, she has written for student publications in both England and Canada. Monica has also presented her academic work concerning the relationship between legal systems, sexual harassment and racism at a university conference at the University of Western Ontario, Canada.