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Workers take stress on holiday

Up to 86% of employees find it difficult to stop worrying about work and switch to holiday mode in the first few days of their annual break - a phenomenon that has been dubbed Summer Office Withdrawal (Sow) Syndrome, writes Nathalie Towner.

A study of 1,500 office workers by recruitment consultancy Office Angels, found that more than 50% of staff on a week's holiday take at least half of the vacation to unwind and forget about the demands of office life.

Sow Syndrome manifests itself through a variety of behaviours. The study revealed that 62% of workers get stressed about ensuring each day is packed with activities, 40% get worked up about securing the best spot by the pool, 25% make daily checks for work messages on their mobile phone, and 10% worry about sleeping in and missing the inclusive breakfast. All of these were cited as classic Sow symptoms.

Some 68% of people say they find it difficult to adjust to having lots of unstructured spare time while on holiday. Additionally, 45% admit to missing the "buzz and banter" of daily office life.

These findings support recent research which found that office workers are taking less holiday, shorter lunch breaks and are unable to "switch off".

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