Work calls while on holiday more stressful than bungee jumping – study

22 Aug 2014

Eighty-four per cent of Irish people have been contacted by work when on holiday, with calls from the boss ranking as being more stressful than a bungee jump, a study suggests.

OnePoll carried out the study, which involved a combination of lab research and representative surveys, with 6,500 Europeans, 500 of them in Ireland, on behalf of The purpose of the study? To explore the impact of not switching off when off. 

The findings also revealed why bosses and colleagues interrupted employees on their holidays.

Reasons ranged from wanting to know how regularly the office plants needed watering, how to turn a computer on, checking how to file expenses, and wondering where the air conditioning unit was located.

Nine per cent of respondents said they were called to be asked when they were coming back to the office.

Being asked about the status of a project (29pc), where a document was saved (28pc) or for computer login details (21pc) were among the most common reasons.

Even though almost three out of five holidaymakers deemed the cause of the interruption as unimportant, 70pc still opted to deal with the interruption rather than ignore it.

The research also found it took a third of Irish people more than four hours to wind down and get back into holiday mode after being interrupted. For almost one in 10 (9pc) the interruption wiped out an entire day.

Neuropsychological research

The study involved neuropsychologist Dr David Lewis and measurements of the human body’s response to stress, triggered in a laboratory environment.

According to the lab research, receiving a single phone call, email or text message from a work colleague while lying on a beach generated a greater level of stress than doing a bungee jump, getting into a verbal fight with a loved one, being stood up on date, or being stuck in a traffic jam.

“There is no denying the effect even just a quick text message from the boss can have when we are on holiday,” Lewis said.

“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.”

Vacation phone call image via Shutterstock

Tina Costanza
By Tina Costanza

Tina Costanza was a journalist and sub-editor at Silicon Republic. She came to Ireland from Canada, where she had held senior editorial positions at daily newspapers in Ottawa and Toronto. When she wasn’t saving dangling participles, she was training for 10K races or satisfying a craving for scones.

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