Workers unable to switch off

The majority of Australian workers are unable to stop working, even during holidays.

Workers unable to switch off

The blurring of the work-life balance is an issue many workplaces continue to grapple with. However, new research shows the problem is spreading.

A survey of more than 1,000 workers in Australia, by Jive Software, found 94% of Australians admit to completing tasks for work during their personal time. Almost half (42%) stated they work over seven hours per week during non-business hours. Twenty-seven per cent said they work more than 10 hours per week during personal time.

While on vacation, 51% of Australians admit to doing some form of work, compared to the US’s 50%, and British workers’ 34%.

Robert Yue, vice president of Jive, Asia Pacific, stated that low productivity in the workplace is a factor. “While the increasing use of mobile devices is aiding flexibility, it’s clear the current working environment isn’t resulting in effective and efficient work practices for all Australians,” he said.

While 40% cited co-workers as  their biggest distraction at work, email was also mentioned by 29%. This reflects the increased use of personal devices for work-related activities, including email correspondence. Fifty-one per cent of Australian workers stated their personal smart-phones were used for work-related purposes.

“Employees around the globe are spending far too much time sitting through unnecessary meetings, wading through endless email, and constantly searching for long-lost documents,” Yue said.

He believes email should be integrated into a framework that fosters collaboration. “In our busy lives, workers should be able to operate individually as well as in a team to generate business results – and this shouldn’t eat into personal time,” Yue said.

Alternatives to using email include ‘social intranets’, which refers to intranet systems based on social networking models, aggregating communication between colleagues and providing quick access to documents such as business strategies and policies.

Jive views its social intranet products as replacements for both email and in-person meetings.


Are emails and in-person meetings really that problematic? What do you think of the idea of the social intranet?

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