Recession causing bad habits among workers: survey


Recession causing bad habits among workers: survey

Australian workers are developing bad habits, including coming to work while sick and checking their work emails in their own time, according to a survey.


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Australian workers are developing bad habits, including coming to work while sick and checking their work emails in their own time, according to a survey.
The survey also shows workers feel that more than one in three meetings they have to attend are unnecessary.
Recruitment firm Robert Half’s Workplace Survey of 404 Australian professionals reveals that the economic downturn is putting pressure on people to continue working when they shouldn’t be.
Afraid of getting behind in work
The survey shows one in two (52%) Australian workers frequently come to work when they are sick; mostly because they are afraid of getting behind on work (61%), they don’t want to be seen as slackers (48%) or they fear that too many sick days could cost their job (45%).
‘People shouldn’t go to work when they are not well,’ said Andrew Brushfield, Victorian director of Robert Half.
‘Aside from the possible implications on the health of their colleagues, employees who are unwell are generally not as productive as they would otherwise be.’
Pressure on jobs
Brushfield said the fact that people are coming to work when they should be resting at home reflects negatively on the pressure they are under.
He said this pressure is also reflected in other work practices, with two-thirds of Australian workers (64%) spending between half-an-hour and two hours each day checking their work email outside of work hours, compared to 44% of people in New Zealand and 55% globally.
‘The amount of personal time Australians spend on work-related emails is among the highest in the world,’ Brushfield said.
‘There is little doubt that employees are facing time pressures and being expected to achieve more with less.'
‘Employers need to be aware of these bad habits and the factors that give rise to them, and work with their staff to encourage more healthy and balanced work practices.’
However, the survey suggests such dedication of time isn’t necessarily reflective of employees’ priorities. Nearly one-half (48%) of those surveyed cite their family as their current top priority in life, compared with 29% who consider their career to be most important.
Too many meetings
In spite of such time pressures, many workers worry that their time at work could be better spent, with more than one in three meetings (34.5%) deemed unnecessary.
‘Unfocussed discussion, poor preparation, uncertainty about the purpose of a meeting, and people being asked to attend who don’t need to, make many meetings unnecessary,’ said Brushfield.
‘But the fact that workers are even concerned about this shows that they’re working hard to safeguard their jobs.’
The survey shows just 18% of companies have designated ‘no meeting’ days each week, but of those which do, 92% report that such days are equally or more productive than regular work days.
Cuts to employee benefits
The survey, of 6167 professionals across 20 countries, also indicates that 19% of Australian, UK and US companies have made or plan to make cuts to employee benefits due to the current economy.
However, the survey also reveals that, as budgets are being reviewed, the benefits that Australian employees least want to see eliminated are training programs (36%), followed by company parties (17%), indicating that staff like to work hard and play hard.
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