The number of Australian office workers being constantly available for work via communications technology has decreased, according to a study conducted by HR systems and services provider, NorthgateArinso.
It is the second time the NorthgateArinso Work-life Balance study has been conducted. This year, 504 Australian adults aged 18-64, either working full-time or part-time, were polled.
It showed that in comparison to last year, fewer respondents felt that technology equipped them to work from home.
In 2011, 52 per cent considered technology to aid working from home, while only 37 per cent felt so this year.
The number of respondents turning to technology to manage their work-life balance more effectively fell from 73 per cent last year to 62 per cent.
Most of the workers (94 per cent) agree that technology is playing a less integral role in their day-to-day work life now versus last year (78 per cent).
NorthgateArinso A/NZ managing director, David Page, said fewer workers feel that work is intruding on their personal life this year as companies are starting to change culturally.
“There is a small but increasing number of bosses who recognise the online fatigue from being always available as a growing HR issue.
“The ongoing blurring of home and work life, driven by communications technology, has been tacitly condoned for some time. Its downsides for workers’ health and wellbeing are emerging as significant concerns,” he said.
He suggested that businesses take action to curb it, for example, putting in place ‘turn off’ policies outside work hours.
“Steps like this underline to employees that the business takes this 24/7 demand on their attention seriously,” Page added.
Other key findings from the survey include:
- 24 per cent of respondents made work related calls from home as compared to 36 per cent last year.
- 38 per cent checked emails at home this year versus 46 per cent in 2011.
- 44 per cent use smartphones with email access but only 42 per cent did in 2012.
- 35 per cent of businesses provided their employees with laptops last year – only 24 per cent do this year.
- The use of social networking remains almost constant – 24 per cent this year and 28 per cent in 2011. But, the use of instant messaging, Skype and video conferencing by businesses has decreased.
- ‘Flexible work hours’ is the most highly regarded employee benefit with almost half of participants rating this as their number one. This is significantly higher than the next two benefits – doona days and work from home days.