Business leaders seem powerless to stem tide of always on working, claims report

Always on workingAmongst the reported findings in the latest edition of the annual Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends survey is a growing belief amongst business leaders that information overload and the always on working culture are significantly undermining personal wellbeing, engagement and productivity. This challenge has been identified before in the same report, but the latest edition perhaps signals that despite the high level of awareness of the issue at both a personal and general level, little is being achieved in terms of stemming the inexorable erosion of personal time. The report is based on a survey of more than 2,500 business leaders. It found that over a third think that constant access to work is undermining employee productivity and engagement and fewer than one in ten feel they are dealing with the problem adequately. This is not a problem restricted to people’s evenings and free time. Constant technological disruption is a feature of the traditional working day too. Well over a half (57 percent) of interruptions in the workplace now involve social media or the switch between different applications and the habits this inculcates spill over to further embed the culture of always on working. The report goes on to highlight ten key findings of its research: Finding 1. Leadership, retention, HR skills, and talent acquisition are the top global trends in perceived urgency Finding 2. Companies report generally low levels of readiness to respond to the trends Finding 3. The largest capability gaps are reported in leadership, analytics, reskilling HR, talent acquisition and access, and the overwhelmed employee Finding 4. Leadership is the top priority in developed and growing economies Finding 5. While global trends are similar around the world, program needs vary by region Finding 6. Human capital priorities vary by industry, with one exception: Leadership Finding 7. “Excellent” HR companies and teams focus more intensely on the urgent global human capital trends Finding 8. Business leaders have less confidence in their organisation’s readiness to deal with future trends than HR leaders Finding 9. HR and talent executives grade themselves a C-minus for overall performance Finding 10. Companies worldwide plan modest increases in talent and HR investments in 2014