According to The Australia Institute, “Australians are donating billions in unpaid overtime to their employers” each year. If leaving your desk at 5:30pm is a rare occasion, unfortunately you are not alone. When employees do not leave work on time, the number of negative impacts associated far outweighs the number of positive impacts. We took a look at The Australia Institute’s recent research into whether current working arrangements negatively impact on a range of personal situations and the results are outstanding. Whether you’re an employee or a manager, the following four reasons should further convince you that you and your employees should leave work on time.
1. Increased mental health
As we’ve been told time and time again, mental health is one of the most important factors of success and happiness. The Australia Institute’s research indicated that 38% of workers felt that their working hours impacted negatively on stress levels, and 27% on anxiety levels. ‘Stressed’ and ‘anxious’ are both words that no employer would like to associate with their employees. To encourage good mental health, working hours should be enforced to avoid burnouts and stress related absenteeism.
2. Greater productivity
A happy employee is a productive employee – it’s often as simple as that. Research stated that 14% of people find that their ability to concentrate is impacted negatively by their working arrangements, and a further 21% stated that it affects their mood negatively for most of the day. The Economist shared the below graph which shows the interesting correlation between working hours and output. With higher working options, output per hour fell – further arguing that productivity is greatly impacted when we stay at work longer than prescribed.
3. Positive personal relationships
With more time spent at work comes less time for personal activities and commitments. Relationships with both family and friends require attention and should never be prioritised over working back late consistently. It’s important to take the time to engage in extracurricular activities, as well as spend quality time with those closest to you. Without this time, the strength of our relationships will suffer.
4. Improved physical health
When we are at work for most of our day, activities such as cooking and exercise become difficult to fit in around other commitments. The reality is though, nutritious food and physical exercise are essential for good physical health. The Australia Institute’s research explained that 24% of people’s exercise routines are negatively impacted by working hours, meaning that work is prioritised over health. In addition, 33% said that not being able to leave work on time negatively impacted their sleeping patterns.
What do you think?
Do you regularly leave work on time? I’d love to hear from both those who do and those who don’t. Do you find it impacts on your health, relationships and productivity? Comment your views below and join the conversation.
This article was written by Laura Hutton on behalf of the Australian Institute of Business. All opinions are that of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of AIB. The following sources were used to compile this article: The Australia Institute; The Economist
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