Out Of Office... Or Maybe Not! UK Employees Fall Out Over Annual Leave Clashes

Posted by Sue Anderson, 2nd Mar 2016

This is the time of year when everyone's starting to get serious about their holiday plans. They're thinking about where they will be heading this year and for how long and people are putting those all-important holiday requests in at work.

In our latest study, we polled 2,194 people aged 18 and over from around the UK; all of whom were in full or part time employment (not self-employed). We wanted to find out more about annual leave and people's experiences with booking time off work.

Women More Likely To Clash With Co-Workers Over Holiday Bookings Than Men

The first question we asked respondents was 'Have you ever fallen out with or clashed with a colleague over wanting to take the same dates off work, but not being allowed to?' To this, 53% of the total respondents told us that they had. Women were more likely to fall out with co-workers in this way, making up two thirds (65%) of the respondents who said 'yes'.

When we analysed what sectors the people who'd fallen out with co-workers over annual leave were working in, to determine in what areas of employment this was most likely to happen, we found that those in the fields of finance/accountancy (27%), marketing/advertising/PR (16%) and retail/sales (12%) had the highest probability of clashing with colleagues over time off.

11% Have Had To Cancel/Move Holidays Due To Not Being Able To Get The Time Off Work

We then asked everyone if, in the past five years, they had ever booked a holiday which they had later had to cancel or re-arrange as a result of not being able to get the time off work for the trip. More than one in ten, 11%, of the respondents taking part in the survey told us that this had happened to them. When these people were asked why they couldn't get the time off work, the majority (71%) said it was due to someone else having already booked the time off and them not being allowed to on the same dates.

Anyone who had fallen out with a colleague over not being able to have the same time off was asked if they had resolved the issues with the co-worker in question afterwards, to which 85% said 'yes'. All respondents were asked if they felt like they were organised with their annual leave planning at work, to which 64% of the people taking part said 'no'. When we asked in what way they were disorganised, 39% of the relevant respondents said that they were 'too wasteful/impulsive' with their annual leave and ended up running out too soon, whilst 28% said that they were 'too careful' and ended up with too much left at the end of the year. Planning is key everybody!

Having harmony in a working environment is important and staff falling out over when they can and can't take annual leave is never ideal. Some employers have strict rules about which staff members can be off at the same time and which cannot and that's something that is often vital to the running of a business. Being left short-staffed because everyone wants to go on holiday during the same week can end up leaving clients and customers on edge and unsatisfied.

It's a shame that holiday bookings are causing clashes in UK workplaces, but the best advice that we could possibly give is to be extra organised with your holidays. If you know you want to go away during a certain week in a certain month, get in there early and book the time off before someone else does. If you do end up clashing with a colleague about annual leave, try talking to them. It may be that they don't actually need to take the time off that they've booked, so they may be willing to re-schedule their annual leave to help you out. Perhaps they'd just booked it off to have a lazy week at home, in which case they won't mind at all!
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