New year could see workplace stress spill into private lives

Date: Dec 22, 2011

The increasingly connected nature of the modern workplace environment means that employees are often accessible even when they are far from the office.

While some may view the advances in smartphone technology and wireless networks to be a valuable tool that helps to improve productivity, others can find that it adds to the problem of workplace stress.

Adding to this is the findings that increased levels of connectivity do not naturally lead to higher volumes of work being performed.

In fact a recent survey by corporate service provider Regus International has found that 58 per cent of Australian workers will be heading into the office over the Christmas break.

The study collected the opinions and plans of over 12,000 business people to discover what their attitudes were towards employment activities during the festive season.

Researchers also found that - while these individuals will be struggling to catch up on tasks left uncompleted throughout the rest of the year- 35 per cent of Australian respondents expect that very little will actually be accomplished over this time.

Regional vice president of Regus Australia William Willems said that the results showed that the country "has a strong work ethic" but that workers had experienced "a year of stress, long hours and employment uncertainty" and needed to dedicate time to family.

"Our findings suggest Australian workers are feeling the pressures of the global economy when it comes to workload and taking time off – with over a third of those planning to work over the holidays admitting their efforts could go to waste," said Willems.

“With developments in technology and information resources, businesses should be considering longer term solutions which help improve productivity, such as flexible working options to support working from remote locations or closer to family."

Employees who fail to take advantage of the opportunity to spend time with loved ones may find that their devotion to work activities places extra strain on relationships at a time of year where the burden is especially unwelcome.

For many families both Christmas and the New Year celebration provide essential time for bonding - with workers switching of their smartphones and paying more attention to domestic activities.

While divorce lawyers and family law advice are usually far from the mind over the holidays, the Regus survey helps to serve as a timely reminder to take stock of just what should be taking precedence at this time of year.