Work life balance in a social world

chained_to_deskI wrote yesterday about the importance of sleep, and the encroachment of mobile devices into our home lives making it difficult to switch off sufficiently to get the good sleep we all need to be happy and productive.

So it was interesting to read this morning a new survey conducted by enterprise social company Jive that looked specifically at work life balance in a social world.  It found that people were increasingly taking their work home with them, and that a major cause of this was the inherently unproductive nature of the modern workplace.  This trend was shown to be affecting the health and even personal relationships of those surveyed.

It’s not good that 90% of those surveyed across America, the UK and Australia were taking work home with them.  Here are the key findings from the report.

Work and Personal Lives Continue to Merge:

  • 91% of employed adults in the U.S., Great Britain and Australia report working during personal time.
  • American workers have the highest proportion of employees working 10 or more hours per week during their personal time with 37%.
  • 27% of Australians and 18% of Brits also report working more than 10 hours per week during their personal time.
  • 11% of employees in the U.S., Great Britain and Australia are working an extra 7-10 hours per week during their “off” time – the equivalent of a full work day.

When asked what workers would do with 10 more hours in any given week:

  • 44.3% reported they would spend the extra time exercising
  • 62.3% said they would spend that time with family and friends

Tethered to the Office While on Vacation:

  • 50% U.S. workers and 51% of Australian workers reported devoting some time to doing work while on vacation, compared to only 34% of Brits.
  • 14% of workers in the U.S., Great Britain and Australia do not take vacations.
  • Compared with a related online Jive survey conducted on their behalf by Harris Interactive in February 2013, the percentage of American employees who take vacation has dropped slightly from 88% to 85%.

Mobile and social tools do undoubtedly allow people the freedom to work more flexibly, but it seems at the moment that the balance is all wrong, and it just gives employers greater opportunities to make (unpaid) calls on our time when out of the office.  Seldom is the flip side explored that allows people to work literally whenever and wherever as long as the work is done.  Instead, the 9-5 office culture pervades, with everything else simply added on top.


One thought on “Work life balance in a social world

  1. Exactly. Right now managers are still scared to let people free from the office during the day, but still expect extra work in the evenings. It's so wrong.

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