13 Mar 2012

Work eats more and more into private life - survey

9:00 am on 13 March 2012

One in three workers questioned in a survey say they are required to be available to their employer 24 hours a day.

The recruitment company that did the survey of about 400 employees throughout the country says it shows a growing trend for work to spread into private life.

The company, Randstadt New Zealand, says it found that more than half take work home, while a third say they're expected to be available to their employers around the clock.

Just under 60% of those surveyed reported receiving work calls and emails outside regular office hours.

Randstadt director Paul Robinson says it's a matter of give and take, and a work-life blend can increase job satisfaction as well as make for a more efficient workplace.

He says employers have to accept that sometimes workers will need to attend to personal business in work hours.

Mr Robinson says the traditional concept of work-life balance has become outdated, as work and life are now inextricably combined.

'Not necessarily more productive'

The director of the Healthy Work Group at Massey University, Tim Bentley, says just because more employees are taking work home with them, they are not necessarily being more productive.

Professor Bentley says there are times when it makes sense to be responsive to work outside work hours, because it reduces pressure and stress.

But he says it's important for workers to maintain an adequate work-life balance, or they risk burning out.

He says working longer hours can actually make people less productive, because they need time to recover from the cognitive and physical demands of work.