Workplace stress is the enemy of productivity – yet as research compiled for yesterday’s Go Home on Time Day revealed, millions will continue to develop mental health issues as a result of poor work/life balance.
The Australia Institute is the organisation behind the annual awareness raising day, and it says excessive work hours and workplace culture are causing an epidemic of workplace-related stress and anxiety affecting around three million employees.
So why is getting potentially free overtime out of workers a bad thing?
According to BeyondBlue, a national depression and anxiety initiative, the social and economic costs of job-related stress can lead to depression and anxiety, and ultimately have tragic consequences.
Executive director, Dr Richard Denniss, said the best workplaces have a good relationship between employers and employees, and that it goes both ways. “Good mental health is as important as physical safety in the workplace, and that good mental health in the workplace relies on good leadership, communication, support and balance,” Denniss said.
Yet one in two Australian workers feel uncomfortable discussing issues about mental health with their manager, and some 43% of employees surveyed reported their managers were poorly skilled in discussing sensitive workplace issues.
Other key findings in the survey include:
6.8 million Australians are interrupted by work phone calls or emails during their personal time
2.2 million don't know what time they will be leaving work on a daily basis
4.8 million find it hard to take their annual leave at a time that suits them
Employees of small businesses are far more likely to report feeling comfortable raising workplace issues with their manager than employees of medium sized and large businesses.
Only 14% of employees report that their workplace discourages unpaid overtime.