- A new survey by the nonprofit RAND Corporation found that more than half of the 3,000 respondents do work-related assignments on their personal time, Marketplace reports. Additionally, more than a third can't control their own work schedules, and a quarter don't have enough time to perform their jobs.
- While non-college graduates tend to have the least control over their schedules, they also earn overtime for performing extra work, according to RAND; exempt workers aren't paid for the time they spend working on their personal time.
- Marketplace says that although the RAND survey showed that many U.S. employees work in high-pressured, stressful workplaces, more than half of respondents said their bosses are supportive and that they have good friends at work.
Employers often aren't aware that employees are putting in excessive hours to get work done, nor that they're struggling to do so. A Kimble Applications study of employees whose work is converted into billable hours were found to be submitting fewer hours than they actually worked.
Billable workers, typically salespeople, accountants and consultants, often have high-pressure jobs requiring long hours with quotas to fulfill. Some billable workers in the Kimble study accepted excessive hours as the normal course of doing business — an unsettling revelation. But others didn't want to document how long it took them to perform their jobs for fear of looking incompetent.
Employees who don't take their full allotted vacation time or who are connected to the office 24-7 via email, smartphones and apps are letting work rob them of down time and much-needed personal time. Workaholics are prone to medical problems leading to burnout and absenteeism — the latter may cost employers up to $3,600 per worker annually. HR can look for signs of distress in workers and train managers to do the same.
HR can also work with managers to see if workloads and schedules need adjusting to allow workers time to complete assignments, and that includes reviewing assignments to ensure the work isn't overly burdensome. They should also review billable hours to uncover under-reporting that might lead to burnout.
As critical as technology is to a well-functioning workplace, employers can discourage workers from being connected to the workplace 24-7.