New survey reveals the spillover of work into personal time
While many workplaces have work-life balance programmes in place, a recent survey by CareerBuilder has shown that many employees still lean heavily on the “work” side of the equation.
The survey was conducted with 1,078 workers in the USA from IT, business, sales, finance and other professional industries, and it revealed that 68 per cent of those questioned found the idea of a nine-to-five day outdated and over half of workers check and/or respond to emails outside of working hours.
Half the people who check electronic correspondence do so when engaged with activities with friends and family, due to the ease of accessing technology. This behaviour was worrying as it may lead to tension and loss of valuable relationship building outside of work with loved ones.
The survey also revealed gender divides in out-of-office communication as 59 per cent of men checked work emails at home compared with 42 per cent of women. They were also more likely to perform tasks outside the nine-to-five day, with 44 per cent of men compared to 32 per cent of women working after hours. This behaviour as driven by choice rather than obligation. Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer of CareerBuilder, stated that there were benefits to this flexible way of working.
“Moving away from a nine-to-five work week may not be possible for some companies (yet), but if done right, allowing employees more freedom and flexibility with their schedules can improve morale, boost productivity and increase retention rates,” she said.
As Workplace Stress Management Consultant Susan Wanmer told ABC news, the key to managing out-of-office communication is balance.
“If the person is strongly connected to their work, and feel they have a sense of control over their time, then checking emails ‘out of office hours’ is not an issue,” she said in a July 8 article.
“However, adequate rest time, and adequate non-structured time is essential for mental, emotional and physical health.”
HR consulting may be necessary to help maintain a healthy balance amongst your employees.