This article was published in The Age Business Day section on May 7th, 2015.
It was written as part of my internship at the Australian Financial Review.
Workers checking their phone late at night and while on holiday is causing widespread burnout, depression and even death, a survey warns.
The Bankwest survey of small business found two in five workers claim to have little or “some” work-life balance, while 12 per cent claim to have no work-life balance at all.
Bankwest business executive, Sinead Taylor said the magnitude of the problem should not be underestimated, considering the report has found more than two thirds of the sector is affected.
“Aggravating the issue can be an expectation that leaders take their technology home with them each night and even on holidays, so they never really get completely away from their work”, Ms Taylor said.
Two recent employee deaths have put a global focus on work-life balance.
Last month, a tax official in Finland died at his desk but his co-workers failed to notice for two days. And in 2013, a Bank of America intern suffered an epileptic seizure and died after not sleeping for three days because of overwork.
Bankwest suggested employers should schedule regular breaks and days in lieu to prevent burnout.
“Scheduling regular breaks is one strategy used by mid-sized businesses (35.4 per cent) as is providing days in lieu of overtime (33.1 per cent)”, Taylor said.
Other strategies include open communication channels, encouraging healthy eating and regular exercise as well as rostered days off.
Bankwest surveyed 500 mid-sized businesses with annual turnovers between $5 million and $250 million covering a range of industries including education, retail and manufacturing.