SENIOR managers are devoting more than 19 hours a year of their holiday time to answering work-related calls and emails, research suggests.

The telecommunications company Onecom, based in Fareham, found that only five per cent of managers completely switch off on holiday.

Some six per cent spend more than 50 hours of holiday times on calls and emails.

Onecom’s survey also found that managers spend, on average, 6.9 hours a week on work related emails and calls outside normal working hours. Only two per cent said that they did not do this at all.

Parysa Hoseini-Sech, head of human resources at Onecom, said: “At Onecom, we’ve adopted ‘agile working.’ It’s a popular approach that recognises the priority we put on a healthy work life balance. Ultimately, it lets our teams work in a way that suits them but still within the core hours.

“Our vision is to use technology to help us all work more effectively and allow for greater flexibility in terms of when, where and how our people work to drive productivity and give our people the autonomy that will make it easy to strike the right balance for them.”

Christina Stone, Southampton-based founder of Goldfinch Marketing, who provides consultancy to SMEs, said: “I think as a small business owner it's incredibly hard to switch off for a number of reasons including the fact there's always so much to do.

“I also believe that the drive you have that makes you want to run a business never really turns off. Why would I sit in front of the TV doing nothing when I could be doing something to better my business?

“I find that because I work with many other small business owners, they're always working too so even if I have a night off inevitably I get texts or Facebook messages from clients.”

Mike Lammas, Southampton-based director of training at audio-visual training business Train AV Ltd, said: “I was on holiday beginning of July, I spent an hour in the morning doing work, answering calls and emails thoughout the day and then in the evening when everyone else was in bed, I would be on my laptop designing or refining courses. I am lucky my wife is my business partner and I made sure to spend quality time with the children. When you own the company and other people depend on you it's the only choice you have. Thankful I love what I do and can work at home once kids are asleep at weekends and evenings.

Lynda Daniels, director of the Southern Sustainability Partnership and organiser of the Big Sustainability Expo in Southampton, said: “I never really switch. I do try to be selective about emails I open on holiday. One year I opened one and it ruined that day for me."