Stressed Staff Work Extra Ten Days

Stressed-out staffStressed-out British employees who refuse to turn off their mobile phone and stop checking emails outside work are putting in an extra ten days’ of work a year, research has found.

A failure to switch off after hours and during weekends means that workers never get a break and are always “on call”, according to the survey of 1,000 office workers by Nectar Business, which looked at the impact of technology on employees.

The research found that 15.5% of employees believed their working week had become one to two hours longer due to an increase volume of information coming through on email and phone.

A fifth of those surveyed admitted to leaving their work phone on all weekend and of those who do manage to switch off, 22% owned up to checking work emails on Saturdays and Sundays.

However, the survey suggested that a lack of downtime may be taking its toll on employee health, with 24% of respondents saying they felt stressed by always being in work mode.

Work life balance organisation Work Wise’s chief executive, Phil Flaxton, said that technology had transformed the workplace in recent years and enabled people to use their working time more effectively by not necessarily being based in the office all the time.

“But it’s also created a blurring of the lines between the workplace and home. These days, people are more comfortable with the idea of taking work home or answering calls in their own time. But being constantly available can seriously affect work-life balance.”

Flaxton added that employers had a responsibility of care towards staff and needed to set a good example.

“If staff are working excessive hours and are finding it difficult to switch off, find out why. There’s a difference between simply being on call, which might be part of the job, and having to take loads of work home each weekend because of a heavy workload.”

“Working long hours could lead to poor health among employees and a higher sickness rate.”

According to the Health and Safety Executive, around 13 million working days are lost each year because of stress-related illness.

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