UK workers 'are sacrificing personal life for work'

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British workers are putting themselves at risk of burning out due to an inability to switch off from work.

A study from Microsoft has found that a large proportion of employees are finding it hard to switch off from their work routines, with 30 percent saying they regularly sacrifice their personal life for work.

This is despite only around a third of workers saying they thought their workplace had an "always-on" culture that required them to be online all the time.


Microsoft's study quizzed more than 2,000 UK workers on their work habits, and found that a shocking 86 percent have experienced anxiety due to work pressure in the last year.

Over half (56 percent) said they answered work calls out of hours, with this need to be "always on" affecting their ability to relax at home, and even allow them to spend quality time with their friends and families.

Only around a quarter (23 percent) of organisations regularly implement initiatives to improve employee wellbeing and just over half (53 percent) disagree that their organisation offers training to help employees embrace a healthy, balanced lifestyle.

This is despite the increasing popularity of ideas such as flexible working, which is designed to allow employees more freedom in how they operate. Of the 50 percent of UK workers whose organisations offer flexible working, just 35 percent are actively encouraged to do so, and more than a third (35 percent) say they need an ‘official reason’ such as an appointment to work outside the office.

Microsoft is now calling on organisations throughout the UK to improve the services they offer employees, including better working from home policies, and the ability to provide workers with up to date hardware and devices to facilitate this.

“UK organisations have a duty of care to their employees and small changes can make a big difference," said Howard Lewis, Surface Business Group Lead, Microsoft UK, noting that the company's newly-announced Surface products would alllow workers to "empower themselves and claim their lives back."

"It’s not just about introducing a flexible working policy and hoping for the best. Organisational leaders must be role models for their employees, equip them with the tools to make flexible working work and, most importantly of all, communicate the value that these kinds of policies can have for an organisation – both in terms of employee wellbeing and the bottom line.”

Mike Moore
Deputy Editor, TechRadar Pro

Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro. He has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK's leading national newspapers and fellow Future title ITProPortal, and when he's not keeping track of all the latest enterprise and workplace trends, can most likely be found watching, following or taking part in some kind of sport.