Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

What Would You Pay for Time Away? as the Mornings Get Darker and Chillier, More of Us Dread Trudging into Work for the Daily Grind. but Would You Be Prepared to Give Up Some Hard-Earned Cash to Get out of the Office More? by Niki Chesworth

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

What Would You Pay for Time Away? as the Mornings Get Darker and Chillier, More of Us Dread Trudging into Work for the Daily Grind. but Would You Be Prepared to Give Up Some Hard-Earned Cash to Get out of the Office More? by Niki Chesworth

Article excerpt

Byline: Niki Chesworth

ANT to get your life back? Well, it will cost you. But how much are you prepared to sacrifice? WA survey of British workers has found that half of us would sacrifice five per cent of our annual income -- PS1,380 a year or PS115 a month on average -- for an enhanced pension, more annual leave and flexible working. This should ring alarm bells at HR departments.

Seven in 10 are more motivated and likely to stay at a company when offered attractive benefits, according to the research by Jobsite. In addition, eight in 10 check a company's benefit package when job-hunting. So better benefits can not only reduce staff turnover, but help to attract talent.

Yet only a third (34 per cent) of employers recognise benefits as an important recruitment tool, according to the research. Employers are also failing to recognise the importance of lifestyle benefits to their staff, with 62 per cent believing they offer good benefits -- a view not always shared by staff, with just 47 per cent agreeing.

Women feel the most negatively towards their benefits, with nearly half (41 per cent) valuing their workplace's package at PS50 or less per year.

Nick Gold, CEO of Jobsite, says: "It's yet another indication of the new working culture in which employees are looking for flexibility in their working life and remuneration."

STRUGGLING TO TAKE LEAVE While we may yearn for more time away from work, the reality is often very different.

New research by Direct Line Travel Insurance revealed that four million British workers (13 per cent) do not use up all of their work holiday allowance every year.

Men are more guilty than women of not taking holidays, with the main reason for not taking time off (34 per cent) being "work is too busy", although one in five of those not taking their full entitlement say they just "don't feel the need" to have a break.

Workloads and lack of staffing also play their part, with one in five saying they are "really limited as to when they can take their holiday entitlement" and nearly one in seven (15 per cent) saying "colleagues would suffer" if they took time off. One in 10 are unable to use all of their allowance because of other colleagues being away.

Some sectors and industries are affected more than others. About 20 per cent of those in IT and telecoms don't use their full allowance, compared with just eight per cent of those in manufacturing.

Psychologist Gladeana McMahon says: ''Not taking a break from work puts people at increased risk of developing stress-related conditions such as sleep deprivation, anxiety and depression.

While looking after others is generous and admirable, it is worrying that people do not recognise that looking after themselves is equally as important."

Tom Bishop, head of travel insurance at Direct Line, adds: "Our holiday allowance shouldn't be seen as a luxury, but as a necessity and something to be looked forward to. …

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