Brits can’t keep up with “always on” work culture, research shows

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An “always on” work culture driven by emails and out-of-hours calls is taking its toll on people’s mental health and their ability to juggle their personal life, according to new research by Microsoft.

Almost a third of Britons (30%) said they regularly sacrificed personal time for work, with more than half of people surveyed (56%) admitting that they have answered work-related calls away from the office.

Speaking to more than 2,000 British workers, tech giant Microsoft found that the majority experienced anxiety due to work pressure in the last year, with 86% having issues switching off and a similar number suffering with trouble sleeping.

Experts said organisations must encourage employees to “unplug” during their own time and make flexible working a business priority.

While half of people said working from home was available to them at their company, only 35% felt welcome to take it up.

Microsoft is urging firms to equip employees with tools and devices that enable them to work seamlessly and efficiently no matter where they are, and called for them to create a culture of trust. ‘UK organisations have a duty of care to their employees and small changes can make a big difference,’ said Howard Lewis, Surface business group lead at Microsoft UK. ‘It’s not just about introducing a flexible working policy and hoping for the best.

‘Organisational leaders must be role models for their employees, equip them with the tools to make flexible working work and, most importantly of all, communicate the value that these kinds of policies can have for an organisation – both in terms of employee wellbeing and the bottom line.’