Don’t be a 'wollie' – don't take your work on holiday | Blaise Tapp

As weeks go, this one is up there, mainly for the reason that I’ve officially been on holiday since last Friday.

Friday, 20th August 2021, 8:25 pm
We need to separate work from holidays, says Blaise Tapp. Picture by Shutterstock

Since I logged off, I’ve only checked my work emails three times but I’ve since made a deal with the little fella with the briefcase, who perches on my shoulder and whispers ‘another hour on the laptop won’t hurt’ into my ear on a daily basis, that I will leave the office well alone until my fortnight’s break is over.

This is easier said than done, given that the first week of my holiday has been spent in the familiar surroundings of ‘Costa Del Our Gate’ – a genuine staycation – but like millions of others over the past 18 months, my home has also doubled as my office.

While I very much appreciate the many benefits it has brought society’s way, I’m definitely in the technology-can-be-a-bit-of-a-pain-in-the-bum camp, especially when it means ‘going into work’ involves switching on the company issue smartphone.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

It’s taken a few years for me to perfect the art, but the first few days of a holiday aside, I’ve finally learned how to switch off.

It seems that isn’t necessarily the case for a significant proportion of the population who, this summer, will be packing their laptops and headphones into the boot of the people carrier, along with what’s left of the wine club subscription and the bodyboards.

This is because there appears to be a growing trend of people working from their holiday rentals.

It has even been given a name, albeit a rubbish one: ‘the woliday’.

Granted, the moniker appears to be the work of people plugging the services of a mobile phone giant, but I’m pretty sure that the name won’t catch on, for no other reason than people who do log on from the comfort of a caravan, won’t take kindly to being dubbed ‘wollies’.

But this isn’t some public relations wheeze, holidaymakers genuinely are updating spreadsheets and replying to emails from the bloke in accounts who always says ‘no’ and it should concern us all.

I have spoken to people who have succumbed to the temptation and have combined two-hour meetings while enjoying a Mr Whippy.

They say it ‘makes sense’, especially when any holiday home worth its salt has enough broadband to satisfy an army of teenagers, but I question whether logging on during a week off should be considered acceptable by society that has accepted an awful loft since March last year.

Isn’t it a step too far?

The pandemic has changed a great deal about the way we live our lives but holidays should remain sacred for the simple reason that we would all go crackers without them.

As a young man, I had genuine ambitions to cross the Atlantic and work Stateside.

That was until somebody told me that most Americans only get a fortnight’s paid leave each year – which explains an awful lot.

I suspect that the increasing numbers of those who are prepared to make this compromise are keen to show the lengths that they are prepared to go to work flexibly in these uncertain times.

Arguably the greatest benefit of the turmoil of the last year and a half is that a huge number of UK workers have been able to work from their bedrooms and the majority appear to want it to remain that way.

I’m yet to meet anybody who is prepared to admit that their productivity might have slipped, even momentarily, since our prime m inister told us to work from home.

I’ve not changed my view that I miss the office and, while it would be nice to split my working week between my kitchen table and my actual desk, I want to wear a tie again, even though I now need bigger-sized shirts.

Until then, I don’t intend to worry too much about what passes my lips as I will continue to enjoy my holiday and I won’t think about work again.

I promise.