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Work life balance in a social world

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Work life balance in a social world

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I wrote yesterday about the importance of sleep, and the encroachment of mobile devices into our home lives making it difficult to switch off sufficiently to get the good sleep we all need to be happy and productive.

So it was interesting to read this morning a new survey conducted by enterprise social company Jive that looked specifically at work life balance in a social world.  It found that people were increasingly taking their work home with them, and that a major cause of this was the inherently unproductive nature of the modern workplace.  This trend was shown to be affecting the health and even personal relationships of those surveyed.

It’s not good that 90 percent of those surveyed across America, the UK and Australia were taking work home with them.  Here are the key findings from the report.

Work and Personal Lives Continue to Merge:

  • 91 percent of employed adults in the U.S., Great Britain and Australia report working during personal time.
  • American workers have the highest proportion of employees working 10 or more hours per week during their personal time -- 37 percent.
  • 27 percent of Australians and 18 percent of Brits also report working more than 10 hours per week during their personal time.
  • 11percent of employees in the U.S., Great Britain and Australia are working an extra seven  to 10 hours per week during their “off” time – the equivalent of a full work day.

When asked what workers would do with 10 more hours in any given week:

  • 44.3 percent reported they would spend the extra time exercising.
  • 62.3 percent said they would spend that time with family and friends.

Tethered to the Office While on Vacation:

  • 50 percent of U.S. workers and 51percent of Australian workers reported devoting some time to doing work while on vacation, compared to only 34 percent of Brits.
  • 14 percent of workers in the U.S., Great Britain and Australia do not take vacations.
  • Compared with a related online Jive survey, conducted on their behalf by Harris Interactive in February 2013, the percentage of American employees who take vacation has dropped slightly from 88 percent to 85 percent.

Mobile and social tools do undoubtedly allow people the freedom to work more flexibly, but it seems at the moment that the balance is all wrong, and it just gives employers greater opportunities to make (unpaid) calls on our time when out of the office.  Seldom is the flip side explored that allows people to work literally whenever and wherever as long as the work is done.  Instead, the 9-5 office culture pervades, with everything else simply added on top.

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