• Half claim that they respond immediately to work-related calls, emails and text messages outside of their regular working hours
  • 51% say that their employer expects them to be available outside of their regular working hours
  • 36% say that their employer expects them to be available during the holidays and time off

Research from recruiter Randstad shows that Brits allow their work to intertwine with their personal life as 50% claim that they respond immediately to work-related calls, emails and text messages, outside of their regular working hours, according to the Q4 Workmonitor report. 

Over half (51%) say that their employer expects them to be available outside of working hours in general, meaning that ‘switching off’ is near impossible for a huge chunk of the British working population. For many, the discomfort of seeing the emails racking up and the fear of returning to an overflowing inbox is too overwhelming, driving many to what they think is a simpler solution - working outside of regular hours playing catch up.

Graham Trevor, Randstad UK HR and Corporate Services Director said: “Although with some roles it’s part of your contract to be available outside of traditional working hours, employers should encourage non-operational staff to wind down and take a well-deserved digital detox, especially when on holiday and over Christmas. Creating an environment where employees are frowned upon for not being available around the clock can be bad for company culture, engagement and staff retention.” 

The weeknight evenings aren’t the only time that employees are online dealing with work related queries - a third (36%) say that their employer expects them to be available via phone and text during the holidays and time off, and 34% feel pressured to respond to work-related calls, emails and text messages, when they are away on holiday. Fear of missing out or ‘FOMO’ isn’t something that only applies to social situations - 47% choose to handle work-related matters during their holidays simply because they like to stay involved or updated. 

Graham continues: “With so many organisations now embracing flexible working, it's important that managers consider the impact of sending correspondence to colleagues outside of traditional office hours. A positive work-life balance doesn’t only make you feel better, it’s a key contributor to mental well-being. So important, that in France, the law ‘the right to disconnect’ came into effect in January 2017. Working parents often communicate before or after the school run, which can unintentionally put pressure on others to respond. A great HR hack for BAU correspondence is to draft your response and auto-schedule circulation. It’s also really important to plan in some downtime, which can prove tricky at times, due to accessibility becoming increasingly easier as technology evolves. Try and set boundaries where possible, particularly if it’s non business critical and just to help you feel involved.”

While employees are handling work matters during personal time, research shows that responding to private matters during work time is also something that three quarters of Brits admit to doing. Interestingly, 74% occasionally handle private matters during working hours.

about the randstad workmonitor.

The Randstad Workmonitor was launched in 2003, and now covers 34 markets around the world. The study encompasses Europe, Asia Pacific and the Americas. The Randstad Workmonitor is published four times a year, making both local and global trends in mobility visible over time. The Workmonitor’s Mobility Index, which tracks employee confidence and captures the likelihood of an employee changing jobs within the next 6 months, provides a comprehensive understanding of sentiments and trends in the job market. Besides mobility, the survey addresses employee satisfaction and personal motivation as well as a rotating set of themed questions.

The study is conducted online among employees aged 18-65, working a minimum of 24 hours a week in a paid job (not self-employed). The minimum sample size is 400 interviews per country. The Dynata panel is used for sampling purposes. The fourth survey of 2019 was conducted from 22 October until 6 November  2019.

Press Contacts: Marc Heley, Randstad UK marc.heley@randstad.co.uk

About Randstad

Randstad is an HR services business active in 38 countries around the world.  In 2018, Randstad trained over 300,000 people and helped more than 2.5 million candidates find a job with one of 250,000 clients.  In 2018, Randstad had approximately 39,000 corporate employees and generated revenue of € 23.8 billion. Randstad was founded in 1960 and is headquartered in Diemen, the Netherlands. Randstad N.V. is listed on the NYSE Euronext.  Randstad is a global leader in the HR services industry, supporting people and organisations in realising their true potential by combining the power of today’s technology with a passion for people. For more information, see www.randstad.co.uk.