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Irish can't escape work, even on beach

Friday, August 22 10:21:59

Bliss! On the beach; basking in the warm sunshine. Then the phone rings; and it's the boss.

This is a familiar scenario for 84pc of Irish workers, according to a survey today from lastminute.com.

It found that receiving just one work related phone call or email while on holiday is more stressful than being stuck in traffic or a fight with a partner.

The research also revealed that it took a third of Irish people over 4 hours to wind down and get back into holiday mode after being interrupted. For almost one in ten (9pc) it wiped out an entire day.

The study - a combination of lab research and representative surveys with 6,500 Europeans, 500 of them in Ireland - was commissioned by lastminute.com to explore the impact of not switching off when off.

Carried out in conjunction with the acclaimed neuro-psychologist Dr David Lewis it measured the human body's response to stress triggers in a laboratory environment. The results scientifically prove for the first time the extraordinary levels of stress that are felt when receiving work phone calls, voicemails, emails and text messages when we actually should be relaxing.

According to the lab research, receiving a single phone call, email or text message from a work colleague whilst lying on a beach generated a greater level of stress than getting into a verbal fight with a loved one, being stood up on date or being stuck in a traffic jam. Stress levels were only narrowly surpassed by the experience of lost luggage, ranked the highest of all the scenarios measured.

Commenting on the results Dr David Lewis says: "By assessing responses in our nervous systems such as subtle skin moisture levels as well as heart rates we are able to scientifically measure stress. Despite it being a situation that all too many of us have experienced in the past, there is no denying the effect even just a quick text message from the boss can have when we are on holiday. 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."

Matthew Crummack, CEO of lastminute.com, says people have a real need to be able to switch off while on holidays.

"We might leave our phones on but that doesn't mean we aren't trying to switch off and all too often bosses and colleagues are taking advantage of that by interrupting our hard earned holidays. Our research found, one of the more extreme measures some Irish have taken to avoid being interrupted on holiday is throwing your phone in the pool."

For more visit: www.businessworld.ie