Most Aussies struggle with 'switching off' after work

With the boundaries between work and home life blurred, remote workers are finding it hard to step away from their tasks

Most Aussies struggle with 'switching off' after work

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced millions of Australians into a work-from-home arrangement, but some are finding it difficult to ‘switch off’ from work when it’s time to power down.

This always-on culture is affecting nearly two in five workers in Australia (39%). Of that figure, 52% perform paid work and 55% handle unpaid tasks from home, according to research firm Roy Morgan.

READ MORE: The perks and pitfalls of working from home

“COVID-19 has led to employment changes for over 10.5 million Australians (68% of working Australians),” said CEO Michele Levine. “One of the most stunning is the requirement for many office workers around Australia to work from home during the pandemic.”

“Over half of employed Australians who have done work from home find it difficult to switch off compared to only a third of those who do not work from home (35%),” Levine said.

Those who perform part or all of their tasks remotely are more likely to struggle – by up to 20% points – with stepping away from work than those who handle their tasks entirely at a worksite.

Remote workers, according to Levine, are “likely keenly awaiting the lifting of the harshest restrictions which will allow a return to a more normal work-life balance.”

READ MORE: How leaders can combat 'always on' culture

The findings from Roy Morgan add to a growing body of literature about the impact of remote work on Australians.

In April, a survey by enterprise software group Citrix found seven in 10 workers have either maintained or improved their productivity levels since they started working remotely.

Telecommuters (49%) are reportedly reallocating the extra time – usually spent on commuting to and from the workplace – to other more productive activities at home. But, as a result, 38% of home workers are now choosing to work additional hours.

Experts therefore recommend employees unplug from work by doing the following:

  • Refrain from checking your mobile phone or laptop for a fixed time each day
  • Switch your mobile phone off at specific times to free you from non-stop notifications

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