By Marcus Leach
While half the country may be glued to their TV sets on Friday to watch the wedding, spare a thought for the other half of the country who admit they face a bank ‘holiday’ dominated by work.
A survey by serviced office operator Business Environment has revealed that more than four in 10 (42%) of us find it impossible to switch off from work when they leave the office, leading Business Environment to brand the extra day bank holiday a ‘poisoned chalice’ for the UK’s workforce.
Office-hours look set to become extinct in future with one in five of us (20%) now working remotely once a week and a quarter (27%) carrying out our work from the bedroom or lounge, rather than a dedicated home office.
The trend is threatening the UK with a culture of ‘hyper-connectivity’ says David Saul, managing director of Business Environment.
“Work is now only a smartphone away. Although this enables us to respond to client emails and calls when and where it suits us, we risk being unable to tear ourselves away from the workplace," Saul said.
“This will be felt most acutely this weekend, when employees feel compelled to work because of the extra day’s holiday. While it is great that the UK plc is supporting the royal wedding, the harsh reality for many is that they still have just as much work to do in the week — just less of a working week to complete it in.”
The boundaries between working and personal lives are now so blurred that nearly half the respondents to the survey (46%) said they thought it was acceptable to use their business phones and emails to run their personal lives.
“The tables have really been turned — with many of us running our personal lives from work and our business lives from home,” added Saul.
“While instant communication appears to have made our lives easier, we need to ensure we don’t become a slave to this technology. Rather than leading to higher productivity, employees who work around the clock may just burn-out.”
It seems that not all of us are happy about the growth in mobile-technology, with one in four of us (24%) saying we feel isolated from work colleagues as a result.
“Draw boundaries between your personal and work life — scheduling a ‘cut-off point’ when you turn off your mobile and computer to spend some time with your family, friends or alone — uninterrupted,” he concluded.