The impact increased working pressures is having on the Work Life Balance
An increasingly demanding work culture is creating a work/life imbalance. Gone are the days where working 9 till 5, 5 days a week is the norm. Expectations have evolved; individuals are working longer hours and spending more time working out of the office, at home.
Advances in technology mean individuals have greater flexibility towards how, when and where they work. Remote access via a laptop, tablet or mobile phone allows people to work at their convenience, around the clock. Companies are also becoming more relaxed towards employees’ working habits with more employers offering the option of working from home on the premise that the required contracted hours are met.
These changes however are resulting in individuals devoting more time to work thus reducing the amount of down time they enjoy and often working above and beyond their contracted hours.
Is this increased accessibility and flexibility blurring the line between work and pleasure? Is it reducing an individual’s ability to turn off from work at the end of the day? It used to be that once work was complete for the day, there was nothing more that could be done until the following working day, but this is definitely no longer the case. More people are working late into the night, spending their weekends at a desk and losing out on quality time with loved ones because they are consumed with work – for many, this cannot be sustainable.
The increased working pressures and expectations in the UK is perhaps the biggest and most pressing challenge to the mental health of the population and this is a worry.
The cumulative effect of increased working hours is impacting the lifestyle of a huge number of people which is likely to prove damaging to their mental well-being.
Work related stress already costs Britain 12.8 million working days per year and if pressures continue to rise, so will this cost.
What affect is the work/life imbalance having on individuals?
A recent survey conducted by the Mental Health Foundation into the work life balance of individuals discovered that;
- More than 40% of employees are neglecting other aspects of their life because of work
- As a person’s weekly working hours increase, so do their feelings of unhappiness
- Nearly two thirds of employees have experienced a negative effect on their personal life, Including lack of personal development, physical and mental health problems and poor relationships and home life.
The culture of leaving the moment the clock strikes 5pm is long gone and is being replaced with a trend to get home and do more work. Some individuals feel obliged to work extra hours, others feel there isn’t enough time in a normal working day to get everything done and this skewing the work life balance entirely.
From the findings of the Mental Health Foundation’s research the increased working pressures are having a detrimental impact on people’s happiness and mental health and this comes at a cost for both employees and employers. Therefore, this issue is something that both need to be aware of and address head on if they believe that someone is suffering or unable to cope with their workload.
Feeling under pressure can lead to unnecessary stresses and if the stress becomes unmanageable can lead to more long term mental health issues that could result in long term absences from work, in some instances. The press is reporting on this more and more frequently and there is a demand for employers to make provisions to support their employee’s general well-being.
Seeking advice about your work/life balance concerns
From an employee perspective, if you are concerned about your work/life balance and are worried it is having a detrimental on your personal life or mental health you must speak to your employer. If you already have and this has not worked, it might be time to seek legal advice. The same applies if you are an employer dealing with a grievance or complaint regarding contracts, absences or well-being and require further advice and guidance.
If you require any support through an employment issue, are looking for advice or believe you have grounds for an Employment Tribunal claim, in the first instance contact our employment team on 0116 212 1000 or 018585 445480 for a free initial consultation, during which we will be able to suggest the most appropriate course of action for your situation. Alternatively,complete our contact form and we will contact you directly.
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