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UK office hours becoming extinct

Nearly half of UK employees admit they cannot switch off from work.

Despite the advances that mobile technology has brought to the workplace, nearly half of UK employees (42%) admit that they struggle to switch off from work. The research, carried out by serviced office operator Business Environment, shows that one in five employees (20%) now works remotely once a week and a quarter (27%) carry out work from their bedroom or lounge, rather than a dedicated home office.

The situation is worst in London, where half of workers (51%) said there was an ‘always on’ culture as a result of mobile working, followed closely by the West Midlands and Scotland (44%).

The trend is threatening the UK with a culture of ‘hyper-connectivity’ says David Saul, managing director of Business Environment. “Work is now only a smart-phone away. Although this enables us to respond to client emails and calls when and where it suits us, we risk being unable to tear ourselves away from the workplace.

“While it is great that technology is evolving and has brought the advances that has made our working lives quicker and easier, the downside is that employees are always at the end of a mobile phone or on email, making them more ‘available’ to clients and employers.”

The boundaries between working and personal lives are now so blurred that nearly half the respondents to the survey (46%) said they thought it was acceptable to use their business phones and emails to run their personal lives.

The tables have really been turned – with many of us running our personal lives from work and our business lives from home,” added Saul.

While instant communication appears to have made our lives easier, we need to ensure we don’t become a slave to this technology. Rather than leading to higher productivity, employees who work around the clock may just burn-out.”

Although people questioned said that the growth in mobile technology has made them more productive (70%), a quarter (24%) say they feel isolated from work colleagues as a result.

Saul said: “Employees need to ensure they draw boundaries between their personal and work life – scheduling a ‘cut-off point’ when they turn off their mobile and computer to spend some time with family, friends or alone – uninterrupted.”

Despite the advances in technology in the workplace, 51% of employees say they could do their job as effectively without mobile devices and nearly half of those surveyed (47%) said they do not think their organisation will rely solely on mobile technology such as laptops, ipads and mobile phones, in the future.

Notes to editor
For further press information please contact Julie Longton and Elinor Tyler on +44 (0) 20 7240 2444 or e-mail julie@stormcom.co.uk / elinor@stormcom.co.uk.

Survey details
The survey was run by ONEPOLL on a sample of 2,000 UK respondents.
It was completed on 10 April 2011.
Go to www.onepoll.com for more details.