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Annual Leave Trends: Who’s taking More Time off?

What WorkSmarter’s latest HR insights reveal about your wellbeing.

Kathryn Webb
Kathryn Webb Worksmarter Team
UK employees are opting for a healthier work-life balance by booking more time off, but part time colleagues are falling behind by taking less of their available allowance.
The latest data, from HR software provider WorkSmarter, analyses the last two years’ holiday take up from around 8000 SMEs across the UK and their employees.

Full Timers Versus Part Timers
The findings reveal that full time workers used 3.4% more of their annual holiday entitlement in 2023 compared to the previous year, while part timers used nearly 5% less holiday allowance.
The discrepancy suggests that those who work full time now feel able to prioritise their wellbeing by taking more opportunities to recharge away from work, while part timers may be more affected by cost-of-living pressures and job vulnerability.

Remote Workers
Although more employers are now encouraging workers to return to the office, full time employees who work remotely led the way over their personal wellbeing by booking 7.2% more holiday entitlement in 2023 than the previous year – more than any other group.

Managers typically take less holiday than their staff, using a significant 9% less of their available holiday entitlement in 2022 than their team. However, mental health priorities for managers may also be changing as their bookings increased by 5% last year, in line with full time workers. 
A Cultural Shift
WorkSmarter Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer Jack Webb-Heller said the figures pointed to an important cultural shift in work attitudes. 
“Better mental health and wellbeing mindsets are now more firmly embedded within workplace culture and we’re seeing this reflected in our data, with employees understanding how important it is to take time off from their responsibilities and minimise burnout. 

Specific Challenges
“Part time workers still face specific challenges however, particularly during the current economic uncertainty,” he said. 

“Some part timers may feel that taking less holiday will be seen as a demonstration of commitment to their employer, but those of us with experience of managing teams know that well-rested employees are more creative, efficient, and provide better service - creating a win-win scenario for everyone.”

Transforming the Landscape
WorkSmarter is a leading HR software provider for small and medium-sized enterprises, creating innovative products that are transforming the software service landscape
Founded by a team of experienced business leaders, with expertise in technology, People Management and HR, WorkSmarter’s powerful software simplifies complex admin tasks and helps SMEs level the playing field. 
WorkSmarter’s HR data provides empirical insights into workforce dynamics and employee behaviour. Our analysis helps employers and industry professionals to identify trends, predict outcomes and make informed decisions.

Strategic Advantage
HR data can be used strategically to enhance employee engagement, increase productivity, and improve overall organisational health. Aligning your people practices with your broader business objectives helps create a firm foundation for success in an ever-evolving workplace landscape.
We’d love to share our knowledge and expertise with you. Our friendly team are on hand to discuss your needs, answer your questions and introduce you to the WorkSmarter platform.
Get in touch: [email protected]
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