More than half of Canadians don't mind handling work-related matters on their own time. More than half. A new Workmonitor survey from Randstad Canada revealed some troubling insights about Canadian workers' lack of ability -- or lack of willingness -- to leave their work at the office. A whopping 65 per cent of men and 50 per cent of women say they respond immediately to work-related calls and emails outside office hours, and 40 per cent even do so while on holidays - because they like it.
While the numbers are surprisingly high across all age groups, 18 to 24-year-olds seem to be driving the trend. Their survey responses indicate they are anywhere from 12 per cent to as much as 25 per cent more likely to stay involved while outside the office than the average worker.
This begs the question: are today's workers burning themselves out? The numbers certainly tell us a lot about Canadian employees' dedication to their work and their sense of professional responsibilities, but at the same time, their pressing need to stay connected could actually be doing more harm than good. Personal wellbeing, workplace productivity and critical thinking all tend to suffer when individuals don't have an opportunity to step back, rest and recharge.
It's not a one-way street, though. Employers have a responsibility to ensure the wellbeing of their employees and help them strike the right balance between their work and personal lives. We need to encourage them to disconnect completely from time to time, and be careful as managers not to blur the lines between home and work. Finding that balance can be tricky, because not all employees embrace the opportunity to disconnect and recharge. In fact, more than three-quarters say they'd like to be able to choose between taking time off, and receiving cash in lieu of vacation time.
There is a quid pro quo, though: 62 per cent of workers say they regularly deal with private matters during office hours. It's probably not what employers want to hear, but it's a sign that the needs and behaviours of workers are changing, and we need to pay attention. It's time to evaluate workplace policies and find ways to evolve them to address the realities of today's employees.
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