Tue. Feb 25th, 2020

Brits can’t keep up with ‘always on’ work culture, research shows

3 min read

Professional burnout. Young exhausted female manager sitting at the office. Long working day. Millennials at work. Flat editable vector illustration, clip art

Keeping up with emails and phone calls all the time is draining (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

We Brits are a hard working bunch.

But there comes a time when working hard or being a good employee has a negative impact on other parts of your life.

The ‘always on’ work culture driven by emails and out-of-hours calls is apparently taking its toll on people’s mental health, suggests new research from tech giant Microsoft.

The company, famous for Windows and, recently a slew of new Surface gadgets , says almost a third of Brits are regularly sacrificing personal time for work.

More than half of people the company surveyed (56%) admitted they have answered work-related calls away from the office.

Speaking to more than 2,000 British workers, Microsoft found that the majority experienced anxiety due to work pressure in the last year, with 86% having issues switching off and a similar number suffering with trouble sleeping.

Burnout businesswoman under pressure in the office

The research suggests employers need to encourage their workers to unplug when away from the office (Getty)

Experts said organisations must encourage employees to ‘unplug’ during their own time and make flexible working a business priority.

While half of people said working from home was available to them at their company, only 35% felt welcome to take it up.

‘The success and wellbeing of people and business go hand in hand,’ said Abby Hubbard, co-founder of Work Well Being. ‘Encouraging time to unplug and to invest in re-energising activities is an important part of any thriving business.’

‘Organisations that understand and act on this will continue to adapt, innovate and outperform those that don’t.’

Microsoft is urging firms to equip employees with tools and devices that enable them to work seamlessly and efficiently no matter where they are, and called for them to create a culture of trust.

‘UK organisations have a duty of care to their employees and small changes can make a big difference,’ said Howard Lewis, Surface business group lead at Microsoft UK. ‘It’s not just about introducing a flexible working policy and hoping for the best.

‘Organisational leaders must be role models for their employees, equip them with the tools to make flexible working work and, most importantly of all, communicate the value that these kinds of policies can have for an organisation – both in terms of employee wellbeing and the bottom line.’

Microsoft announces dual-screen Surface Neo, coming next holiday Surface Pro 7 Picture: Microsoft

Microsoft’s gadgets are designed for mobile productivity (Microsoft)

The survey revealed that under-35s appear to be putting themselves under extra pressure, with 43% saying they need to prioritise work over their personal lives in order to be promoted.
Single parents are also feeling the strain, with little over a quarter (26%) saying they are able to prioritise their children because of their work-life balance.

And Generation Z (loosely defined as those born between 1995 and 2010) are starting to enter offices around the country. They’re taking over from millennials and bringing a different way of working with them.

‘What we see from an organisational perspective is the need to enable mobile working,’ Howard Lewis previously told Metro.co.uk.

‘By 2022 mobile workers will be half the workforce,’ he explains, citing a Global Mobile Workforce Forecast Update 2016-2022 report .

‘We need to enable that trend and embrace it.’

In the meantime, the company has published 7 tips on how to manage mental well-being in the workforce .

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