Always-on' culture prevents employees from switching off at home, says Stuart Stone

working parent

A survey presented to the British Psychological Society’s Divisional of Occupational Psychology’s annual conference revealed that UK employers are need to do more to help their staff address their work-life balance.

Findings from a study conducted by Dr. Almuth McDowall (Birkbeck, University of London) and Dr. Gail Kinman (University of Bedfordshire) were revealed at the conference in Liverpool on January 6th.

Dr. Kinman explained: “From January 1st, French workers have the right to disconnect from email to avoid the intrusion of work into their private lives and protect them against burnout. We wanted to know what are UK organisations doing to protect employees against the risks of being always on?”

Findings showed that less than half of participating employees offer guidance in striking a balance and, surprisingly, that more than half of responding employees have no formal policies in place to help.

Dr Kinman added: “Our findings clearly show that organisations are not helping their staff accommodate to the changing world of work which is likely to have a negative impact on their wellbeing, their work-life balance and their effectiveness. Many individuals we surveyed clearly feel under great pressure not to switch off, leading to intense pressure, poorer performance and worry.”

Many survey participants flagged technology as a key reason for this inability to switch-off with 27% admitting it had a negative impact on staff wellbeing and 21% highlighting that advances had a detrimental effect on relationships at work.

Dr Kinman said: “It’s time to take a more proactive approach to helping employees and organisations become more ‘e-resilient’ and to manage technology in a more healthy and sustainable way”.