Work notifications make it harder for people to spend time with friends and family

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Out of hours work notifications on devices are having a significant impact on people's work-life boundaries, according to a new reportOut of hours work notifications on devices are having a significant impact on people’s work-life boundaries, according to a new report from Ring Central. According to the poll, work notifications are on the rise with 31 percent stating that notifications outside of work have increased in the past year. As a result, employees are also feeling the pressure to respond to work notifications immediately (14 percent) or within 1 hour (33 percent). The survey also suggests that notifications cause the same amount of anxiety for Brits as spiders (54 percent) and almost as much as going to the dentist (59 percent).

This is having a significant impact as 32 percent of those aged 21-34 note that as a result of increased work notifications, they’re unable to fully focus on spending time with loved ones. The research indicates that more than half of employees (52 percent) are toggling between six or more apps in a typical work week. With more apps comes more notifications and a quarter of British workers now experience annoyance (24 percent) and anxiety (23 percent) and one fifth experiencing stress (21 percent) when they receive a notification. This is having a greater effect on younger workers as they experience more anxiety (27 percent) and stress (26 percent) when they receive workplace notifications.

Increased work notifications are generating a new level of annoyance amongst workers. Over a fifth (21 percent) of Brits find sitting in a traffic jam or waiting in a long line less annoying than navigating between different communications apps or programmes at work.

Compounding the alert anxiety is the fact that Brits are receiving work notifications outside of working hours with 31 percent saying that this has increased. On average a quarter (24 percent) also say that the pressure to answer notifications outside of working hours has increased. This pressure to respond increases among younger workers to almost a third (30 percent), compared to only 14 percent of those aged 55-65.

This pressure is resulting in almost two thirds (63 percent) of workers bringing work home with them by checking notifications outside of working hours. Gen Z and Millennials feel this pressure more than older workers, with two fifths checking their work notifications out of hours. Two thirds (65 percent) of Millennials who check notifications respond most or all of the time and 57 percent of Gen Z.

The increased volume of notifications is also impacting time away from work. Of those that experience increased work notifications, half (49 percent) stated that they feel like they’re always at work even when they’re off the clock. A third (32 percent) of Gen Z and Millennials also say this impacted their time to fully focus on spending time with loved ones.

The survey from RingCentral suggests that UK workers are feeling burdened by the number of notifications they are receiving and a pressure to be on, even when they are off the clock. The data also revealed that 54 percent of Brits said that they would be working in some capacity during their 2023 holidays, including reading emails and chat messages.