British workers work less flexibly than European workers

British workers have less flexibility and take fewer sabbaticals than employees from other countries. That’s the finding from a new study by a travel company. It says that although one in five employees said their workplace allowed them to take extended breaks, more than half believed that it would, in reality, be hard to return to work after a sabbatical.

In fact, some employees (one in five) felt the time off could make them less employable generally and one in ten think it will harm their career prospects with their current employer.

How that compares to Europe

Many other European nations take a different view, says the study. It found that they are much more in favour of sabbaticals, saying that it helps with employment for potential roles in the future within companies across the globe.

Almost two-thirds of people (61%) in Spain believe extended leave will help them in the future in terms of employability, says the Opodo study and more than half (60%) of the people in Germany said the same, while a further 49% of people working in France also believe sabbaticals can help with employment.

Reasons for the break

Despite the worry about future work prospects, the research suggests that an extended break from work would be useful for many people. Almost one in four of us (23%) feel revitalised after a regular holiday or extended break, compared to 48% of people from Germany and 47% of respondents from the USA, says the study.

According to the research, if British employees were to request extended leave from their employer, the major factor influencing their decision would be to remove themselves from work-related stress.

Half of those people surveyed (50%) said this was their main reason while improving mental health (43%) and improving physical health (32%) were also given as reasons.

Flexible benefits

When it comes to other forms of flexible working benefits, British companies are lagging behind other businesses in other countries, says the study.

Three-quarters of employees in the UK (75%) don’t believe they have a generous holiday allowance and 84% aren’t offered time back in lieu for days worked over the weekend. Spain leads the way in terms of flexible working patterns for its staff, according to the research. It was the most likely nation to offer a summer-hours arrangement with a third (29%) allowed to alter their schedule compared to a worldwide average of 11%.

The also study reveals that just 30% of British workers feel they have a good work/life balance, which is less than the worldwide average of more than a third (34%) people surveyed.

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