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    When was the last time you took any time off work…?

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    The average British worker has not taken any leave from work for more than two months – and has shelved nine days off what they had planned to take because of the lockdown.

    Of the 2,000 workers polled, more than half said they had ‘completely written off’ 2020 when it came to taking holidays from work.

    However, three quarters said they feared burnout with the average worker feeling they need a break every 43 days to maintain their mental health.

    For two-thirds of those who have cancelled leave, this was due to the holiday they were meant to be going on no longer going ahead.

    But 16 per cent think they have enough free time at home now – due to not having to commute – so felt that it seemed pointless to take leave.

    Geoffrey Dennis, chief executive of SPANA, which provides free veterinary treatment to working animals in developing countries worldwide, said: “The Covid-19 lockdown is leading many workers in the UK to cancel their leave and put their holiday plans on hold for the foreseeable future.

    “But, the potential for burnout and negative mental health consequences is clear – and is a growing concern for both companies and employees. Thankfully, British workers are entitled to take time off and most people have a choice about when they have a break.

    “However, it’s sadly a very different story for working animals overseas, which undertake gruelling work every single day and never get to enjoy holidays or retirement.”

    The study also found seven in 10 would be happy enough just taking a few days away from work to unwind and spend at home.

    Given the fact Brits can’t easily travel abroad right now, half would just like some time just to relax in the garden. Another 42 per cent have TV programmes or books they’d like to catch up on, and a fifth would spend the time decorating their property. But 57 per cent said they don’t feel annual leave is a ‘holiday’ from work unless they actually stay somewhere other than their own home. And four in 10 believe they’d be much more likely to dip into work emails if they were to stay at home during a period of annual leave.

    It also emerged that to make up for missing out in 2020, 57 per cent of respondents are already planning their great getaways for 2021.

    Sadly, half of respondents claim the current working situation has had a negative effect on their mental health – leading many to consider booking a break to recuperate.

    A further 31 per cent would be more inclined to take leave if they were losing sleep at night, while others would take a rest if they were feeling exhausted (54 per cent) unable to concentrate (36 per cent) or crying for no reason (23 per cent).

    Dennis added: “In a period of great upheaval and major change in a short space of time, the current situation is very stressful and challenging for many workers. And breaks from work are absolutely essential for our mental well-being.”

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    AUTHOR

    Lisa Carter

    All stories by: Lisa Carter