A third of Brits fail to use their full annual leave allowance

Could Brits be making more of their annual leave? At least one in three are run-down (41%), depressed (34%) or stressed (30%) because it’s been too long since their last holiday, yet a third (33%) of people in the UK failed to use their full annual leave allocation to ‘recharge’ in 2015, according to new research released today.

The findings are part of the Wellness Research conducted by teletextholidays.co.uk, looking into the holiday habits and trends of the British traveller1. The research also highlights that:

  • Around 3.15 million people2 forfeited at least three days of annual leave in 2015, with 30% of these people missing out on seven or more days
  • Of those who didn’t take all of their annual leave, 32% said they had too much work, 17% didn’t feel they could take time off and 6% said it’s so stressful coming back to extra work that they don’t see much point in going away in the first place
  • Signs of being ‘burnt-out’ and needing a holiday typically occur after just four months, however Brits leave around five months between holidays
  • Men start to feel ‘burnt out’ at work after 4 months and 1 week without a holiday, compared to women who feel they need another break just 3 months and 3 weeks after their last holiday
  • More than half of Brits go on a beach holiday abroad (54%) during the year, however less than a third (29%) have a sun getaway during the winter months
  • When we are run down, depressed or stressed, people feel their work productivity drops by an average of an hour per day
  • In contrast, it takes just 1.5 days into a holiday to switch off, with the benefits continuing long after workers return, with a quarter (25%) of people feeling more productive at work after their holiday. 13% have earned praise from their boss for impressive work in the four weeks following a holiday and a lucky 9% have even secured a pay rise
  • A third (32%) of Brits found that just booking a holiday boosts their mood
  • Enjoying the sunshine (42%) topped the list of the best thing about a holiday, followed by experiencing something new (33%), spending quality time with family or a partner (32%) and escaping day-to-day life (32%)

The research was tracked against the ONS National Happiness Index3 to help teletextholidays.co.uk identify how British holidaymakers can get the best value from their annual leave. By analysing how the happiest people in the country (those who score nine or ten on the happiness scale) have spent their annual allowance, teletextholidays.co.uk has created the ultimate holiday combination4:

Beach based holidays=allocate 23% of your annual leave
City breaks=allocate 16% of your annual leave
Duvet days and personal staycations=allocate 19% of your annual leave
Family time and days out=allocate 18% of your annual leave
Energetic/active holidays=allocate 11% of your annual leave
Spa and wellness breaks=allocate 8% of your annual leave
Life admin (e.g. waiting for tradesmen etc.)=allocate 5% of your annual leave

Based on this holiday combination, people with the UK average of 28 days annual leave, would equate to 6.4 beach days, 4.5 city break days, 5.3 duvet days, 3.1 energetic/active days and 5 days with the family or at days out and the rest equating to wellness breaks and life admin.

“Our research has shown that not getting the best value from each day of your annual leave or, leaving it too long between days-off has a knock on effect on people’s wellbeing and career.  A good spread of get-away breaks every 2 to 3 months – both big and small – throughout the year is key to maximising happiness. When we are burnt-out, productivity can drop as much as three days5 per month, so taking a long weekend here and there can increase someone’s overall productivity,” comments Wayne Perks, Managing Director at teletextholidays.co.uk.

Mark Cropley, Professor of Health Psychology at University of Surrey commented: “The Teletext Holidays Wellness Research found that more than two thirds (68%) don’t get away for short breaks, however mini breaks can be a great way to recharge the batteries – whether abroad or in the UK. Not only do they force us to distance ourselves physically from work, they can also give our brains a mental vacation and allow us to spend quality time with family and friends without the distraction of work. By taking regular breaks, you may find yourself becoming more productive and happier in other areas of your life.”


To help British holidaymakers increase the chances of unwinding and enjoying their holiday, teletextholidays.co.uk has teamed up with Mark Cropley, Professor of Health Psychology at University of Surrey to create a series of holiday tips:

  • Plan in advance and book your holidays as soon as you can at work – simply booking a holiday is enough to boost your mood. This will also give you and your employer ample time to plan for when you are away
  • Book somewhere new for your holiday, half the excitement is in researching things to do and places to see. When it comes around you’ll be ready to switch off and excited to explore
  • Before you go away try to arrange your work so you either completely finish a project or you are in a good position to handover to someone else
  • Tidy your desk (or work station) before you go so you have a fresh start to come back to
  • Once on holiday allow yourself to unwind. It takes on average 1.5 days to, so avoid taking work away with you and turn off your mobile phone
  • Do not check emails while on holiday. Common reasons are to reduce the backlog of emails, or to fill in downtime whilst you’re relaxing. By checking emails it stops you from being able to switch off and causes extended stress and worry. More importantly it also sends the wrong impression to colleagues, making them think you’re always accessible
  • Find activities to distract the mind from thinking about work. Treat yourself to a massage, explore the local area, go on an adventure or just spend quality time with those you’re away with.
  • Taking a holiday is about unwinding, have some break days where you can sit back and relax
  • To avoid the holiday blues on return, share the experience with friends, family and colleagues to keep the excitement alive
  • Most importantly, don’t leave it too long before you start researching your next getaway

For more information, last minute holiday deals or low deposit summer escapes to make the most of your annual leave allowance, visit teletextholidays.co.uk.


For further media information, please contact teletext.holidays@clarioncomms.co.uk or 020 7479 0910.

Top ten best things about a holiday

  1. Enjoying the sunshine (42 per cent)
  2. Experiencing something new (33 per cent)
  3. Spending quality time with family or partner (32 per cent)
  4. Escaping my day to day life (32 per cent)
  5. Experiencing different cultures (25 per cent)
  6. Foreign food (23 per cent)
  7. Avoiding work (20 per cent)
  8. Down time or me time (20 per cent)
  9. Researching where to go (17 per cent)
  10. Booking it (17 per cent)


1 Censuswide survey of 2,069 adults in fulltime employment, January 2016
2 Based on ONS statistics for UK workers (Labour Market Statistics, June 2014 [11 June 2014]) multiplied by the proportion of respondents who selected three (3) or more days in the teletextholidays.co.uk research
3 http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/wellbeing/measuring-national-well-being/personal-well-being-in-the-uk–2014-15/sty-2-4-insights-into-personal-well-being.html
4 Based on the average days per year people with a happiness rating of nine (9) or ten (10) spend per holiday type
5 Based on a working day of seven (7) hours and 20 days per month multiplied by the proportion of respondents

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