The death of the traditional package holiday is costing the UK up to £2billion as workers research their next sunshine break at their desks.
A new study by employment law specialists ELAS revealed that the average British worker spends as much as 8hrs 24mins at their office computer researching and booking their next holiday.
This is compared with just 2hrs 58mins for those who booked package holidays.
As well as spending extra time researching flights and hotels separately, extra tasks include printing off boarding cards, online check-in and booking extras such as transfers, car hire or travel insurance.
Peter Mooney, head of consultancy at Employment Law Advisory Services, said those small tasks soon add up.
He said: “Most employers don’t mind turning a blind eye to workers using the internet for personal use as long as it doesn’t get in the way of their work.
“But eight and a half hours is the equivalent of an extra day of holiday for every member of staff.
“Aside from the sheer loss of productivity, employers need to be careful about setting precedents which could lead them open to charges of unfair treatment of staff as and when they say enough is enough.”
The cost to UK Plc of 243 hours of lost time – 8hrs 24mins for every one of Briton’s 28.98million workers – is a staggering £3.023billion.
Had those workers booked package holidays, and so spent a third of the time researching, the cost would have fallen to a still considerable £1.043billion.
Employment Law Advisory Services surveyed 1,000 consumers from across the UK on how much time they spent at their desk researching their holiday.
The greatest time was spent choosing and booking hotels, which took the average holidaymaker almost 2½ hours.
A little over two hours was spent choosing destination, 1 1/2 hrs was spent selecting flights, while 57 mins was spent researching and booking extras.
A further 68mins was spent on “admin tasks” such as online check-in, printing off boarding cards, printing directions or booking excursions.