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Blurring work-life communication – are you always on?
We talk about it a lot, but does a “work-life balance” really exist? What does it mean for people – and is it even a remote possibility in our age of hyper-connectivity?
Over the last decade, technology has become an even bigger part of our working lives, with companies regularly giving employees mobile phones, laptops, and occasionally tablets. Many employees in Turkey also use these connected devices for personal reasons outside of office hours, further blurring the lines between work and free time.
What has this done for our impression of a balanced life?
This blurring of the lines between what constitutes ‘work’ and what makes up ‘free time’ has an impact on happiness. How does this topic make today's working population feel about their professional life – and their private one?
Michael Page, part of PageGroup decided to investigate this phenomenon by conducting a survey in June 2018 of 754 people in Turkey. The results show significant levels of ‘blurring’between what constitutes their work life and their ‘free time,’ with three out of four professionals in Turkey using at least one connected work device outside of business hours on weekdays
More employees equipped with professional connected devices
It appears the old saying ‘always on call’ has never been so true. 83% of respondents are equipped with at least one device (mobile, laptop, tablet) from their company. When asked about what they use the device for, overall 58% said they use it solely for professional purposes regardless of their seniority in the company. Having that said the survey shows as seniority increases the lines between professional and personal lives start to blur. While 66% of the non-managerial level use their work device only for professional purpose, this ratio decrease to 53% at managerial level. Moreover, even if they are not provided a device by their employers, 60% do not hesitate to use their own phone for work purposes regardless of their seniority. Moreover, even if they are not provided a device by their employers, 60% do not hesitate to use their own phone for work purposes regardless of their seniority.
Are employees‘prisoners’of their devices?
78% of people agree that their work devices have changed their lives, with 54% saying it was a negative change. The data shows that professional life really is encroaching on the personal. 70% of professionals take business calls and 63% check their emails outside of office hours every day, including weekends. Is this really the ‘new normal’ for busy office workers and executives? Why?
Two main ideas point to why employees connect outside of hours – responsibility (87%) and obligation (38%). These idea of feeling obliged ranks quite high among employees in Turkey, especially at the non-managerial role with 44%. At the managerial level, 35% of the people feel obliged, while 90% of them are required by their responsibilities.
Work during holidays
12% of Turkish respondents said they often work during holidays. Interestingly, another blurred line appears between work and private life as seniority increases: while 46% of those who work during holidays are employees, the percentage goes up to 52% for managers.
Even if this is a simple check of an inbox, or answering a phone call (or two), does this mean that disconnecting from work is a growing challenge in the 21st century?
Turkish labour laws are there to protect employees from overworking, stress and burnout, but are they fit for purpose? One route to help both the employer and the employee find that balance is remote working.
Remote working: a good compromise?
Remote working lets employees work outside the office, normally on a voluntary basis, by using the connected devices that the company provides them.
A benefit to remote work for the employee (manager or non-manager) is the increase in control they have over their schedule – meaning that they can balance their workload with their other responsibilities.
Although this practice is quite common globally, only 45% of Turkish professionals have this option and we see that 57% of them agree that it has a positive impact on their work-life balance. Moreover, 63% of the respondents who gave this answer claim that they are satisfied with their work-life balance overall. No big surprise, after seeing Michael Page Job Confidence Index results, which show that 36% of Turkish professionals want to change their job to improve their work-life balance, while less than 30% take this decision for reasons related to their salary.
About the study
Sample: the survey was conducted among a sample of 754 people in Turkey, including unemployed people, employees, and managers.
Methodology: the representativeness of the sample assured by an adjustment of the data (gender, occupation of the interviewee, proportion of people in a job).
Collection method: the interviews consisted of self-administered questionnaires completed online from June 2018.
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