Holiday Stress: The Top 10 Reasons We Are Contacted By Work While Away

One of the joys of preparing to go on holiday is crafting that all important "Out of Office" (OOO) email. Once we have turned that on we can finally start to relax, safe in the knowledge that the all important break has finally started. Well not so fast; it turns out that 68% of Brits have been contacted when on holiday* by their bosses or colleagues. Some of the "pressing" reasons described have included "how to turn a computer on" and how often the office plants need watering; just what you need when you are basking in the sun on the beach or enjoying a cheeky cocktail by the pool.

A single work phone call when away is more stressful than a bungee jump


Our lab research**, conducted by psychologists, brought the startling news that receiving a single phone call, email or text message from a work colleague whilst lying on a beach generated a greater level of stress than getting into a verbal fight with a loved one, being stood up on date or being stuck in a traffic jam. Only the horror show of lost luggage ranked higher. So think twice before you make that call or send an email as it then takes us 4 hours to wind down and get back into holiday mode after being interrupted.

Dr David Lewis: “By assessing responses in our nervous systems such as subtle skin moisture levels as well as heart rates we are able to scientifically measure stress. Despite it being a situation that all too many of us have experienced in the past, there is no denying the effect even just a quick text message from the boss can have when we are on holiday. It may not seem like a big deal to the sender but to the recipient the results are dramatic and significantly compounded by being in the relaxed state of mind induced by a good holiday.”

Back our campaign

In response to these results we are now campaigning for a motion to be brought into parliament to stop us being contacted by work on holiday. At we not only want to help customers find amazing deals at the last minute. We are just as passionate about helping people make the most of this valuable free time without being interrupted by work phone calls or emails whilst away. Get behind our "Bosses back off" by signing our online petition; as if we get enough signatures we can lobby the government to help us switch off properly in the future!

The Top 10 reasons why Brits were contacted by work when away on holiday


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  • Number 1. To ask where a document was saved/ if I could send it through (22 percent)
  • Number 2. To ask for some log in details (15 percent)
  • Number 3. To ask about the status of a project (13 percent)
  • Number 4. To ask if I could work on something (10 percent)
  • Number 5. To share work updates with me (10 percent)
  • Number 6. To ask if I would be able to attend a meeting when I'm back (8 percent)
  • Number 7. To ask something about my handover (8 percent)
  • Number 8. To ask if I could read over a document (7 percent)
  • Number 9. To ask whether an invoice has been processed (7 percent)
  • Number 10.To ask how to turn your computer on (7 percent)



Have you had your holiday rudely interrupted?

We would love to hear your stories. Has someone rang you with a ridiculous question? Or do your colleagues not understand the concept of OOO? Leave a comment below or get in touch on Twitter. And don't forget - we can do something about it. Get involved and help us hit our signature target and make a real difference to switching off on holiday by clicking on our petition. *2,000 British working adults were polled from 7 August 2014 to 11 August 2014. **MindLab experimental work was carried out on 4 August and 5 August with 16 participants with an average age of 36.