Our Experience

Should Bosses Call Employees On Holiday?

by Moderator August 2011 - last edited February 2013 by Community Manager

A quarter of bosses think it's acceptable to call employees while they're on holiday, according to new research conducted here at Virgin Atlantic. A study of 2,000 employers shows that unless staff are willing to travel to far-flung destinations like the Maldives or the Caribbean, they're considered fair game for texts, phone calls and emails.


A step too far?

In fact, one in three bosses reckon that staff should expect to be called while on holiday if they've failed to tie things up properly before jetting off, according to the study. It also emerged that more than one in ten managers think that if employees are provided with a company mobile phone they should be open to receiving calls when on annual leave.


Four in ten managers say they're much more likely to ring an employee if they haven't travelled too far away and according to the survey workers are most likely to get bothered if they visit Devon, the Lake District and Cornwall, whereas very few bosses would disturb a holiday in New Zealand, the Caribbean or Thailand.

A brutal 14 per cent of no-nonsense employers have even telephoned a worker to reprimand them while they're away on annual leave. But 23 per cent of adults said they simply don’t get paid enough to have their holiday disturbed by their employer and over a quarter refuse to let work take over their time off.


Creatures of habit

But it seems Brits don’t help themselves, with the typical holidaymaker checking their phone up to 12 times a day, although 80 per cent said they do this more out of habit than necessity. The poll found that 20 per cent of workers actually expect to get calls when on holiday but find it extremely annoying.


It also emerged that in a typical two week holiday the average adult sends nine work related texts or emails. A more relaxed one in five workers said it didn’t bother them that much when they get calls from the office while in sunny climes, although nearly half of us have ignored calls while holidaying.


And you?

What do you think? Have you ever been bothered by the boss's long-distance breathing down your neck while you're sipping a sundowner on the beach? Or if you arethe boss, would you ever dream of disrupting someone else's dream holiday? Let us know in the comments below.


For a get-away-from-it-all holiday, visit Virgin Holidays who can tailor something to your exact requirements (including remote destinations with patchy phone signals) or hop on over to www.virginatlantic.com for all of our latest flight deals.

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August 2011
Simple. Set your phone to divert straight to voicemail. No calls then. Texts can be ignored as can emails.

Most of the time it's all about managing your work/homelife balance.

If it's that much of a bother, turn it off or leave it at home

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August 2011
I have actually told my boss that he can call me whilst I'm off, although it does sometimes feel like you're being 'guilted' in to doing it... Why does work need to be so all-consuming these days? Whatever happened to working 9 - 5 and leaving it behind?
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August 2011

I am an HR Manager (UK) and have mixed views about this....however, I do agree that where you hold a key position at a certain level within a company you should be required to touch base if you are the key decision maker (and havent assigned a deputy, although why didnt you!?!?) did not conclude your workload pre hols it is acceptable.

To contact someone because they are on leave for something minor or trivial is not acceptable, I also disagree that if someone is taking their holiday in the UK, its ok to bother them! It doesnt matter where they go!

A work life balance is critical, particularly whereby we are working longer hours, it takes us away from our families. What I would encourage here is if you are in a position where the company cannot make key decisions for you, you should assign a half hour a day to work, check mail etc etc. Switch off for the rest! I am a bit of a workaholic and it drives people mad when I am on holiday with them - they are right, it should be a break, however, for me, checking in makes my life easier when I land back!!

As soon as you start a company, you should make rules to yourself, you can pave the way you behave, and you can change the way you behave! consider a buddy system where you hand over o/s issues to whilst on leave.

Just depends on how much you love your job I guess!

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August 2011
If a simple call means a problem is dealt with quickly and efficiently and saves you coming back to a heap of trouble - then yes, it's beneficial to all concerned.

BUT absolutely not, if it's "just to let you know" or "don't want to worry you but...."

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August 2011
Absolutely NOT. If you are an absolutely irreplaceable member of staff, then the question needs to be asked what the company would do in a disaster recovery situation (i.e. if you are run over by a bus, go missing in an Indonesian tsunami, or die in a plane crash), and that situation would need rectifying sharpish.

I've only ever had one phone call from an employer, and that was only because I gave instructions to call me if there was a problem with a specific piece of software that I was primarily responsible for. The problem was soon rectified and it never happened again. As of that day, I always make sure that there is at least some way for people to sort out the problem while I am not there.

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August 2011
A holiday is a health issue.wind down physically,mentally,explore new ideas and concepts to enrich the company upon your RETURN.A call from work could could cause sub stress to the body making burn out more likely and deterrioration in work performance (the medical profession is on board with this).

Optimum holiday break for the body is two-three weeks as the body does not start to unwind until day ten.You health,your job and your family relie on getting complete rest...so don't short change yourself..voice mail or e-mail upon your return only.Don't mix work and pleasure...!

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August 2011
holiday is very important expecially to those are always partaking in the decision making of a company cos that is the only time they can fully be with their family .
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November 2011
If you work hard and do your job properly and ensure it is up to date before you leave delegating any unfinished jobs there should be no need to be contacted when you are away so switch your phone off and kick back and enjoy your holidays!!
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About the author: Maxine

Maxine Sheppard

Maxine is the editor of the Virgin Atlantic blog. Travel and music are her joint first loves, and despite having written for Virgin for more years than she cares to remember she still loves nothing more than jumping on a plane in search of new sights and new sounds.