News

Workplace stress on rise as employees work longer hours

Trying to establish a work-life balance is increasingly difficult as Australians work longer hours.
Trying to establish a work-life balance is increasingly difficult as Australians work longer hours. Contributed

AUSTRALIAN workers donate about $72 billion worth of unpaid overtime to their employers and work some of the longest average hours in the developed world.

But not today - today is National Go Home On Time Day, the day Australians are encouraged to say no to last-minute meetings, avoid out-of-hours emails and calls, and claim back some work/life balance.

Now in its fourth year, Go Home On Time Day is an initiative of The Australia Institute, a public policy think tank based in Canberra.

The day was conceived as a light-hearted way to start a serious conversation about the impact of poor work/life balance on our health, relationships and workplaces.

The Australia Institute's executive director Richard Denniss said for many Australians, leaving work on time was  harder than it seemed.

"Whether it's not knowing what time you're supposed to finish work, or feeling guilty if you're the first to leave the office, getting out the door can be a daily battle for many Australians," Dr Denniss said.

"National Go Home On Time Day provides at least one day of the year on which people can achieve a better work and life balance."

This year The Australia Institute is working with beyondblue, the national depression and anxiety initiative, to highlight the social and economic costs of job-related stress, which can lead to depression and anxiety. 

Beyondblue CEO Kate Carnell said overwhelming evidence showed a direct link between mental health and working conditions.

"Ensuring employees are not overloaded and have a good work life balance is one thing that business can do to improve mental health," Ms Carnell said.

"It's important employees see that good mental health is as important as physical safety in the workplace, and that good mental health in the workplace relies on good leadership, communication, support and balance."

One in two Australians would feel uncomfortable discussing issues about mental health with their manager, according to new research by The Australia Institute.

A new survey measuring the impact of work hours and workplace culture on Australia's health reveals there is an epidemic of workplace-related stress and anxiety, affecting about three million employees.

Dr Denniss said 43% of employees surveyed reported their managers were poorly skilled in discussing sensitive workplace issues.

"Australians work some of the longest hours in the developed world and the hours are becoming less and less predictable," he said.

Other key findings in the survey include:

  •  Employees of small businesses are far more likely to report feeling comfortable raising workplace issues with their manager than employees of medium sized and large businesses. 
  •  More than a quarter (27%) of respondents indicated that they considered that the ability to 'work flexibly' was a requirement of their workplace.
  •  Only 14% of employees report that their workplace discourages unpaid overtime.
  •  More than 2.2 million Australians head out to work each morning with very little idea what time they will knock off that night.
  •  3.2 million Australians experience stress or anxiety as a result of their working arrangements, with 2.9 million experiencing a loss of sleep and 2.2 million reporting adverse impacts on their ability to meet family commitments.

Visit www.gohomeontimeday.org.au for more.

The figures:

  • 6.8 million Australians have their personal time interrupted by mobile phones and work emails.
  • 2.2 million Australians don't know what time they will finish work as they head out the door in the morning.
  • 4.2 million Australians don't have time to exercise regularly, get enough sleep or go to the doctor when they are sick because of long work hours.
  • 4.8 million Australians find it hard to take annual leave at a time that suits them.
  • Australians donate around $72 billion worth of unpaid overtime to their employers.

Topics:  the australia institute




Eight-year-old Benny wants to save our reef

GREEN MACHINE: Boyne Island State School students Shaneeka Keegan, Indealee Semmler, Charli Johnstone and Kasey Pfeiffer, from the Green Team, and Benny Wyatt show off the prizes they won for their videos about threats to the Great Barrier Reef.

Will Benny still be able to catch trout in 10 years?

Fight for the Reef campaign welcomes new fish habitats

Imogen Zethoven is Australian Marine Conservation Society's new Great Barrier Reef Campaign Director. She carries on the work of the late Felicity Wishart, who was her best friend. Photo: Emily Smith / The Daily Mercury.

Fight for the Reef campaign welcomes declaration of new fish areas

Less than 48 hours left to get yourself a FREE tablet

Only two more days to get one of these free!

ONLY two days left to score yourself a FREE Samsung tablet.

Latest deals and offers

Thy Art Is Murder are killing it

See Thy Art is Murder on their killer tour happening right now. Photo Contributed

We talk with Thy Art is Murder about touring, babies, and new music

Date announced for Prince tribute concert

A Prince tribute concert will take place later this year

Matt Damon is taking a break from acting

Matt Damon is taking a break to spend time with his family

Police foiled terrifying 1m plot to kidnap Katie Price

Police foiled a £1 million plot to kidnap Katie Price and her family

Kristen Bell's baby confession

Kristen Bell once pretended to be asleep when her baby woke up early

Babylon 5's Jerry Doyle has died

Jerry Doyle has died from unknown causes at the age of 60

You can own this Queensland town for just $1

Yelarbon

Unprecedented auction of town's business centre with no reserve

Work starts on $15M Caloundra apartment building

Turning the first sod at the Aqua View Apartments site in Kings Beach are (from left) husband-and-wife developers Alex Yuan and Stella Sun with construction company Tomkins director Mike Tomkins and Councillor Tim Dwyer.

Developers excited about addition to Kings Beach skyline

72-year-old Coast developer set to start new project

GREEN LIGHT: The Cosmopolitan has been approved for development at Cotton Tree.

Meet the Canberran set to deliver another chapter for Coast suburb

Plans revealed for 1500-lot 'master-planned community'

Precinct will be bounded by Boundary St and Shoesmith Rd

Ecco Ripley sales run sparks prime release

MOVING IN: Sekisui House has announced the release of more residential blocks at Ecco Ripley.

Sekisui House is preparing to unveil more land at Ecco Ripley

The climb is slow but property on the way up

Michael Matusik, director of Matusik Property Insights.Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin

The improvement would be mild when compared to past cycles