NGA work-life balance research finds Australian workers don't want to be 'always on'
Are we too available?
Just recently, NorthgateArinso Australia New Zealand released research findings which suggest that Australian office workers appear to be cooling to being ‘always available’ for work via communications technology.
It’s the second survey on work-life balance we’ve undertaken in Australia; the first was in May last year. We ensured similar questions and sampling processes were maintained to allow comparisons from one survey to the next.
Key findings for this current survey are:--
- Fewer workers think that technology enables them to work from home this year (37%) versus last (52%)
- Fewer workers this year (62%) feel that technology enables them to manage their work-life balance more effectively versus last year (73%)
- Fewer workers make work related calls from home this year (24%) than last (36%)
- Fewer workers check emails at home this year (38%) versus last (46%)
- Workers agree that technology is playing less of an integral in their day-to-day work role now (78%) versus last year (94%).
What does this this mean?
Is ‘online fatigue’ from being ‘always available’ a growing HR issue? Let’s face it, the ongoing blurring of home and working life driven by communications technology has been tacitly condoned by senior managements for some time.
In a vodcast interview I did on these results I noted that while some workers are turning off because of fatigue, others (perhaps younger?) are saying ‘it’s just the way things are going.’ Maybe I’m cynical but I think the next comment was probably ‘get over it’ or ‘suck it up.’
The research prompts me to ask: Is it fatigue or is it just this communications ‘market’ maturing – coming off a high of so much choice available in related technology? Is it “just the way things are going” – is this blurring of work and life an ongoing phenomenon that we should just ‘get over’?
I note that some businesses are taking it seriously and are taking action – putting in place ‘turn off’ policies with their workers outside work time. Volkswagen in Europe for example has turned off Blackberry email after hours. Some businesses are implementing email amnesties at various times of the day and on weekends.
An interesting issue