Springfords LLP blog

Some news, views and comments about everything and anything, relevant and irreverent.

Bank holidays are bad for you

21 April 2014

Does the ritual of the bank holiday, public holiday, call it what you will holiday, do more harm than good? Breaks to routine, added family stress, and not to mention lost productivity all add up to more than the bottom line.

There’s probably nothing we look forward to more than a day off in the week. That feeling of skipping away from the office, and seeing what the week looks like when it’s not appended by ‘end’. It appeals to the free spirit in us all - but free spirit comes at a cost.

The national economy picks up the tab, estimated at around £2.3bn, for each bank holiday. Does all that planning, preparation, racing about to get ready to relax actually do us the good we all hope for? Well, possibly not. Certainly not for everyone who has to work on a bank holiday - presumably everyone who doesn’t work in a bank; and everyone who has to work on a public holiday - presumably everyone who doesn’t work in a … erm … public.

Of course, smart folks will simply use a bank holiday as a natural extension to their annual leave - until they find out that everyone else is just as smart, and has booked their holiday on the same day - those bank holiday tailbacks don’t generate themselves, nor do the surcharges.

For growing legions of people, particularly the self employed, bank holidays tend to be nothing more than a day to get some serious work done - without the cacophony of phone calls and blizzard of emails to distract from the task in hand. So, if you are among those 4.5million selfies, perhaps you should move to … Japan. Japan has twice as many bank holidays as the UK and lots of public holidays - Coming of Age Day and Respect for the Aged Day to name but two!

Lots of other places have more bank holidays than the UK. Spain, South Korea and South Africa among them. Though it’s possibly no coincidence that, among the G7 economically developed nations, only bank-holiday league leaders Japan had lower average productivity than Britain.

So, take a tip from Springfords. Never mind about all those traffic jams, and over crowded theme parks. Get all your book keeping up to date this next bank holiday. Give yourself a Tuesday off sometime in October instead. After all, unlike Spain, South Korea and South Africa, and maybe Japan too, it’ll probably rain anyway.

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Some news, views and comments about everything and anything, relevant and irreverent.

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