Well-being experts proclaim the importance of a work-life balance for our physical and mental health, and many employers emphasize their flexible working conditions as a selling point when advertising positions. Yet recent data from Roy Morgan Research data suggests that Australian workers are finding it more difficult to switch off from work than they were in 2012. Personal assistants juggling the needs of their executives, whilst simultaneously project managing and checking their emails out of hours will probably be in agreement.
In 2012, 3.8 million Australian workers (or 34.5% of the workforce) agreed with the attitude statement ‘I find it difficult to switch off from work’. Last year, this figure had risen to 4.3 million people (38.3%).
The most pronounced change has been in Western Australia, where 38.2% of workers are now having trouble switching off after hours (up from 31.9%). With the end of the mining boom, WA has seen a marked rise in underemployment in the last 12 months alone, a concerning trend that may be causing a sense of job insecurity among some employed Western Australians that prevents them from fully detaching from work out of hours.