We’re all guilty of it. Wake up, check emails. Watch Netflix, check emails. Get into bed, check emails. Just less than a month ago, we reported on a study that revealed that one in five sick days taken by staff at Camden Council were attributed to stress or depression, which the deputy chief executive put down to the ‘digital megatrend’ of staff failing to ‘switch off. Why the hell don’t we listen to the advice and chuck our iPhones out the bloody window (or something a little less extreme)?
Perhaps the latest evidence highlighting how much we neglect our time out of the office will spring us into action.
According to data released today by the Chartered Management Institute, the proportion of workers in managerial positions working over their contracted hours has risen to a whopping 92%. Unsurprisingly, these workaholic managers are three times more stressed than those working no additional hours at all.
Of the 1,574 managers that took part in the Quality of Working Life study, 77% admit to working at least one extra hour per day, which adds up to a total of 29 extra days over the course of the year. If you’re entitled to more than 28 days paid holiday a year then you’re very lucky (the UK average is 28), but if not, you’re actually working more days than your statutory holiday entitlement, outside of office hours. Basically, all those pre and post work spent drafting emails on your iPhone cancels out your paid time-off. Depressing, huh?
More than half of those surveyed refer to a very specific culprit that is responsible for the excess stress - yep, you guessed it -* technology*. One in five managers are ‘always on’ and struggle to switch off, hence stronger stress symptoms.
In a statement, Ann Francke, the CEO of Chartered Management Institute said:
'Most of us are comfortable with the idea that a modern workplace requires us to occasionally pitch in out of hours. But the ‘always on’ culture must be switched off, with line managers encouraged to support an ‘always willing’ mindset’
In terms of health consequences, Sir Cary Cooper CBE, Professor of Organisational Psychology, has warned businesses to be ‘on alert for signs of burnout’. While he acknowledges the positive impact that stress can have on motivation, ultimately, he says, ‘over longer-periods [stress] is extremely damaging.’ According to professor Cary, ‘striking the right balance is crucial’.
Despite all the hoo-ha, apparently worker bees are pretty cool with being overworked, overtired and constantly glued to their iPhone. Two-thirds of these worker bees are satisfied with their job, which is a 12% rise from 2012 and 5% higher than pre-2007 financial crisis figures.
Are they putting on a brave face? Or does emailing your boss in the bath just do it for some people? Either way, it seems striking a work/play balance is crucial. Probably keep your phone away from the bath though, just incase…
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This article originally appeared on The Debrief.