Employee holiday cancellations rose by 32% on Monday 7th June, following changes to the UK travel green list*. This follows the UK Government’s recent removal of Portugal and its islands from the “green travel list”, as well as no new additions, which threw travel plans into doubt for many Brits.
Whilst these cancellations are a source of significant concern for the survival travel industry itself, it also has wide reaching effects on much of the British business landscape. The start of Q4 last year saw 37% of UK workers with 14 or more days of holiday to take before the end of the year and, with unpredictable summer holiday plans, the UK workforce is heading towards another year of holiday hoarding.
Hints of another year of ‘holiday debt’ presents concerns for business leaders. The operational challenges for HR are significant if the latter half of the year is to see a surge in holiday bookings without leading to resourcing issues and ongoing disruption. Additionally, businesses cannot overlook the issues that this may raise for employee wellbeing and mental health. Edays recently reported that the UK workforce saw a 113% increase in stress-related leave over the past 2 years.
To maintain a healthy culture of absence within the workforce, HR and business leaders need to make sure that they are taking regular time off to avoid burnout, increasing stress levels and presenteeism / absenteeism.
Steve Arnold, Founder, Edays, commented: “Businesses need to start planning for the effects of widespread holiday cancellations now to ensure that they are prepared for disruption well in advance. Are they ready for a potential employee exodus in winter? How will this affect their resourcing levels at such a crucial time?
The consequences of the volatility of the travel industry will likely have a ripple effect on the entire UK workforce. With mental health seeing an ever-increasing importance for businesses, HR teams need to look beyond the immediate resourcing issues and prepare for the less obvious impacts on employee wellbeing in the coming months.”