How much time off do we need or deserve?

Cat & Dog resting ( worrying trend, academic ‘leave’ the next to be hit? Most academics seem to spend their leave indulging in other projects, research and creative thinking… or probably getting that book published?!:

Still gazing at the prairies and reading the other pages of (generally) dire economic news in The Globe, I had to ask: can we afford such generous holidays any more? Specifically, can British universities afford to spend up to 10 per cent of their entire income (increasingly, student derived) on…staff holidays? Will our students, many working right through the summer if they’re lucky, see this as good value for money for their growing debt ledger? And looking further afield, and keeping in mind those hard-working Canadians, can we be competitive with countries that work longer or harder, or both longer and harder?

Then again, what about well-being? I thought back to the reasons why I had eschewed long summer holidays: to let families go on holiday together. After all, lack of vacation time can damage relationships, alienate seldom-seen children and lead to injuries and errors at work. But is there real evidence that the Lithuanians, French, Finns or Russians, with eight weeks of holiday, or the British with seven, are more “well” than the Canadians or the Americans on closer to four (or even as little as two weeks for more junior employees)?

I suspect that holidays, like pensions and pay, will soon be yet another area of diminishing entitlement. In a more competitive academic world, as we teach more accelerated courses and seek year-round usage of expensive estate, those holidays will be seen as an indulgence – an inconvenience – not just in the UK but also across continental Europe.

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By admin

Dr Bex Lewis is passionate about helping people engage with the digital world in a positive way, where she has more than 20 years’ experience. She is Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing at Manchester Metropolitan University and Visiting Research Fellow at St John’s College, Durham University, with a particular interest in digital culture, persuasion and attitudinal change, especially how this affects the third sector, including faith organisations, and, after her breast cancer diagnosis in 2017, has started to research social media and cancer. Trained as a mass communications historian, she has written the original history of the poster Keep Calm and Carry On: The Truth Behind the Poster (Imperial War Museum, 2017), drawing upon her PhD research. She is Director of social media consultancy Digital Fingerprint, and author of Raising Children in a Digital Age: Enjoying the Best, Avoiding the Worst  (Lion Hudson, 2014; second edition in process) as well as a number of book chapters, and regularly judges digital awards. She has a strong media presence, with her expertise featured in a wide range of publications and programmes, including national, international and specialist TV, radio and press, and can be found all over social media, typically as @drbexl.

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