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Prekybos naujienos

Poles on vacation. Relaxation or work from a deckchair?

Polacy na wakacjach. Wypoczynek czy praca z leżaka?

A generation of workaholics - every second Pole works overtime, but new things are coming

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A generation of workaholics – every second Pole works overtime, but new things are coming

We are one of the busiest countries in Europe – the Polish Economic Institute is sounding the alarm.[1] Can we still rest despite our attachment to work? It turns out that we can take a break and maintain work-life balance. As many as 41% of respondents plan to take a 2-week vacation this summer. Nearly 39% of people decided to take a week of relaxation. Most Poles, over 70%, will spend their holidays abroad, 1/3 will go to Poland, and only a small percentage (9%) will stay at home. We can see a clear rebound here after last year, when we recorded high inflation and many of us tightened our belts also during the summer. Rest and relaxation, sightseeing, time with loved ones, sports, as well as education and acquiring new skills – these are most often the goals we set for holiday trips.

Working from a deckchair?

In many workplaces, summer leave comes with additional benefits. Some employers offer subsidies for holidays, workation, additional days off or shortened working hours, e.g. on summer Fridays. Such benefits are intended to convince us to relax and, additionally, encourage us to plan holidays, and sometimes also choose the outstanding holiday days accumulated over a long period of time. In Poland, the most common form of non-wage holiday benefit is still the so-called holidays under a pear tree, i.e. co-financing for a minimum of 2 weeks of rest, which is used by as many as 62% of respondents. Next, respondents mention additional days off, work and subsidies for trips for children.

The results of last year's HRK study on workation indicated that only 37% of people planned to use such a benefit. This year, this number has dropped significantly – only 19% of respondents want to combine work with a trip abroad. Most people who decide to take up this form of work declare that they will be away for a few days or a week at most. It is clearly visible that many companies are not yet ready for such a revolution. This is certainly due to the fact that Polish companies have not officially introduced a policy of this method of providing work.

– We are increasingly aware that taking care of our well-being and maintaining work-life balance is also a way to relax during holidays. Holiday benefits may additionally encourage you to take your leave for at least 2 weeks (because only then can we receive compensation for the so-called pear-shaped holidays), says Sylwia Kościuszko, a consultant at the HRK personnel consulting company.

Busy, not stressed

An endless list of responsibilities before the holiday, numerous overtime hours as two weeks off are approaching. Sounds familiar? Many people are so tied to their professional responsibilities that they feel irreplaceable (even only during holidays) in the workplace. However, what is most important to us is proper rest. Without it, we will be neither creative nor efficient, and we will ultimately come back exhausted after our vacation.

– Before going on holiday, often until the last minute, employees want to finish all tasks and delegate their responsibilities to others. And there is not enough time to calmly prepare for the trip, which creates tension and anxiety about whether we will forget anything, whether we will have time to pack, etc. Therefore, it is worth making sure that the people replacing us at work during our vacation prepare successively, already a few days before the holiday, not on the last day. It is also worth notifying your colleagues, clients and contractors in advance about your planned holiday. To avoid stress related to possible contact with the employer or other people with whom we cooperate, we should consistently avoid it, and certainly not at the first attempts on their part – explains Sylwia Kościuszko. – It's also not worth checking your work emails. If we have prepared our professional environment well for our absence, everyone will surely be able to cope, and some matters can certainly wait until our return. Such nervous checking of work emails may be caused by the desire to prepare for what will happen to us after the holiday, but by doing so we shorten the pleasure of the last days of the holiday. Some people already start to mentally prepare for what they will find at work after their return, but most often it turns out that the number of e-mails or matters waiting for us is not equal to the priorities that should actually be given time and attention first – he adds.

New trends

Our perception of free time is gradually changing, as confirmed by the results of the HRK survey, in which as many as 69% of people firmly deny that they feel stressed before their holiday break. Most respondents rate the level of pre-holiday stress as 1 on a 5-point scale. Almost 60% of respondents indicated that pre-holiday stress affects their daily functioning (score from 3 to 5). It is true that Poles are stressed by the upcoming holiday, but as many as 70% of surveyed specialists and managers plan to cut themselves off completely from professional matters during their holiday and not contact their employer or colleagues. On the other hand, those who take work equipment with them when traveling say that they will occasionally check their e-mail, telephone and professional social media.

A similar tendency is noticeable before returning from vacation. The list of tasks on the first day after the summer break is probably endless, but Polish experts are not preparing to return to work – this is what 74% of respondents say. On the other hand, those who are more afraid of the load of responsibilities often plan their work before their holidays to minimize the backlog or their co-workers inform them about the status of their tasks. There are also those who check their mailbox and work phone from the beach.

Even though we are considered one of the most hard-working nations in Europe, we still know the value and quality of rest. Additionally, this year, in which we recorded a financial and economic rebound, favors greater resources that we will spend on holidays. On average, in 2024 we will take two at least 7-day holidays (45% of respondents), and this summer we will go on foreign trips (71% of respondents). What can't we pack in a suitcase? Work-related stress and work tools. We will come back relaxed and full of energy.

[1] Work-life balance and flexible forms of work organization, Polish Economic Institute, https://pie.net.pl/wp-content/uploads/2024/04/PIE-Raport_work-life-balance_2024.pdf.

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