Employee Wellbeing and ‘Always On’ Technologies

David Southern | Date: December 13, 2016

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Being connected is an essential part of people’s daily lives, but is the Always On culture in today’s work culture putting employee wellbeing at risk?

Modern technology is blurring the boundaries between work and home life. Smartphones are now owned by 70% of adults, so working on-the-move - on holiday or on public transport - is now a daily reality for most of us.

Nearly half of internet users say they are happy to do this because it allows them flexibility outside the usual 9-5. But fielding calls and emails and responding to queries at home or on the daily commute means it’s no longer possible to take a proper break from work.

As consumers, we expect to be in control 24 hours a day. However, this same attitude is creating a workplace culture of instinctive presenteeism, where staff are always on call. Feelings of indispensability explain why around 40% of us access emails on holiday. In the long-run, Always On working leads to fatigue and has consequences for employee wellbeing. A good HR department will check we are sitting at our desk correctly, but who controls the impact that mobile technology has on our health?

The warning signs are often harder to spot when there’s a slow erosion in wellbeing caused by stress or a lack of relaxation and exercise.

It’s often said no-one lies on their deathbed wishing they had spent more time at work.

The key to employee wellbeing is learning to judge what’s important and to work as a team. Set boundaries for everyone and stick to them.

Technology has transformed our working lives, but is it really necessary for your smartphone to come with a health warning?

  • For many, it’s no longer possible to take a proper break from work.
  • The warning signs from working long hours are hard to spot.
  • Being Always On can help those who don’t want a 9-5 life.
  • Productivity and health suffer when we can’t switch off.

Are you running the Always On office? Take care of yourself and your talented staff. Download: Teaming with Talent – The Business Leader’s Guide to People Management.

Teaming with Talent - The Business Leader's Guide to People Management

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