Half of all IT managers are forfeiting holidays because of spiralling work stresses, according to the Chartered Management Institute (CMI).
In its annual survey the CMI found that only half of the IT managers it questioned use their full holiday entitlement, compared to two thirds last year. And among those who did manage to get away, eight out of 10 said work impinged on their time off.
A growing number also felt obliged to stay in touch with work while on holiday.
Half said they now left contact details with their employer, almost twice as many as a year ago, while 39 per cent took a laptop or PDA with them so they could continue to access the office remotely.
A fifth also used their holiday time to catch up on work-related reading.
IT managers put the blame squarely on the pressures of the job. More than a fifth say they have difficulty delegating work, while similar proportions cited project deadlines or fear of returning to an overloaded in-tray as the key reason for forgoing leave.
Almost half said they would have to deal with more than 100 emails on their return after a break of just one week.
Only 23 per cent said they worked through their holidays for their 'love of the job'.
A meagre seven per cent said a relaxing break helped rejuvenate their interest in their career - while more than half admitted that having the space to think made them question their whole working lifestyle.
Petra Cook, head of policy at the CMI, said the findings were worrying. "Other research on stress and productivity levels shows that if you are working incredibly long hours on a regular basis without a proper break it affects both your health and your overall productivity," she said.
"Individuals need to take responsibility for their time management and delegation, while companies must ensure the appropriate management structures are in place. You need to set out clear job definitions, objectives and expectations. If you get that right at the outset, you can avoid a lot of problems in future."
The CMI's findings were part of a wider survey of more than 500 managers across various sectors.
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