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Emails after hours? 77% of employees feel pressured outside of working hours

In a recent study conducted by people2people Recruitment, startling statistics emerged regarding the impact of digital expectations on employees’ work-life balance.

Key Findings:

  • 56% of respondents reported an expectation from their employers to check emails and work apps outside of work hours.
  • Of those who acknowledged this expectation, a staggering 77% indicated that it was implied rather than explicitly stated by their employers.
  • Furthermore, the study revealed concerning trends regarding the amount of time spent on work apps and emails during both work and personal time:
    • 30% of respondents reported spending no time on work-related digital platforms outside of work hours
    • The remaining 70% admitted to varying degrees of engagement
    • 25% spend over 5 hours per week attending to work emails and apps outside of their designated work time

“These findings underscore the need for greater awareness and action surrounding the issue of digital boundaries in the workplace. With the new right to disconnect legislation coming into place, employers are set to be faced with an added layer of difficulty when it comes to managing employees who request flexible work hours,” says Catherine Kennedy, NSW Managing Director of people2people Recruitment. “While advancements in technology have undoubtedly improved productivity and connectivity, they have also blurred the lines between work and personal life, leading to potential burnout and decreased well-being among employees.”

Catherine’s advice to assist organisations navigate digital connectivity and work life balance includes:

  1. Employers should establish clear guidelines regarding digital availability outside of work hours, by communicating expectations to employees, including when it’s appropriate to respond to emails or messages outside of regular work hours.
  2. Promote a culture that values downtime and encourages employees to disconnect from work-related communications during evenings, weekends, and vacations.
  3. Lead by example by respecting employees’ personal time and refraining from sending non-urgent emails outside of work hours. When an employee engages in work activities outside of work hours, investigate why, and what can be done to avoid this situation moving forward.
  4. Create a safe space for employees to voice concerns and issues related to digital expectations and potential burnout and find mutually beneficial solutions.
  5. Utilise technology, tools and platforms that enable employees to manage their digital workflow more effectively. From email scheduling tools, sleep mode, notifications turned off to automatic replies, there are various solutions available to help employees maintain boundaries between work and personal life.

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