August 28, 2015
There have been quite a number of polls over the summer warning of the dangers of presenteeism and overwork; but the latest one from Mind does make for uncomfortable reading. It has found that more than 1 in 7 of people (15 percent) who receive work emails sometimes check them while in the toilet and nearly 2 in 5 (38 percent) of those who receive work emails admit that they often check them outside of work. Only half of respondents (50 percent) say that their manager respects that they have a life away from work. As well as having personal lives interrupted, the survey found that this relentless email-checking culture is making it difficult for workers to switch off when they should be preparing for sleep and the mental health charity warns a culture of working round-the-clock is making it difficult for people to achieve a healthy work/life balance.
Mind is urging employees to leave their work at work, and encouraging managers to set a good example by not sending work emails outside of their usual work hours, wherever possible.
The online YouGov poll of 1,095 English and Welsh workers found that nearly 1 in 4 (24 percent) of those who receive work emails said that they sometimes check them before they go to sleep, while almost 1 in 5 (19 per cent) sometimes check them before they’ve even got out of bed in the morning.
Emma Mamo, Head of Workplace Wellbeing at Mind, said: “Despite our busy lives, modern technology means that many workers are now contactable around the clock. While many staff have to work outside their normal working hours from time to time, we all need a break from work to unwind and de-stress. Checking our emails outside work makes it difficult to maintain boundaries between our jobs and personal lives.”
“It’s not acceptable for staff to be expected to send and receive work emails at all hours. Employers and managers need to ensure this relentless email-checking culture doesn’t become the norm.”
“Encouraging a clear work/life balance is just one thing employers need to do to create a mentally healthy workplace. Staff are happier, healthier, and more likely to be loyal and productive if their workplace proactively promotes mental wellbeing. Employers can promote good wellbeing by encouraging staff to leave work at work so they can come back refreshed and rejuvenated.”