American Workers Stretched to Limit, Personal Well-being Suffers
Economic Woes Push Work-life Balance to the Brink .
RALEIGH, N.C., September 26, 2011 Living in an unsteady economy plagued with job insecurity, plummeting stock markets and increasing unemployment levels, it’s no wonder American workers are on-edge. According to a recent survey by Workplace Options, a leading global provider of work-life programs and employee benefits, more than half of American workers (62 percent) say their employer is trying to do more with less as a result of the national economic situation – stretching resources, postponing hiring and trying to get more work out of each employee.
According to a recent survey by Workplace Options, 42 percent of workers are extending their workdays by coming in early or staying late in order to avoid distractions. But what happens to those who contribute to the constant interruptions? According to the survey, nearly one in four employees (22 percent) are aware of someone in their workplace who has been fired for wasting time in the office, disrupting other employees or partaking in other distractions.
“Worker intensification” is a phrase commonly used to refer to the increasing demands placed on workers – asking them to more with the same amount of time and resources. In most instances, worker intensification occurs with little to no reward. According to the Workplace Options survey, more than half of the respondents (55 percent) have taken on additional job responsibilities as a result of the recession, but 70 percent have done so with zero pay increase.
“In times of economic uncertainty a lot of the burden falls on workers. Employers are forced to make ends meet with fewer resources and turn to their staff for help,” said Dean Debnam, chief executive officer of Workplace Options. “It’s important for managers to recognize the size of their requests and the weight of added responsibilities for their employees.”
Sacrificing health, wellness and benefits
Additional responsibilities usually mean extra hours at the office and a struggle to maintain work-life balance. More than half of survey respondents (51 percent) say the increase in responsibilities has negatively affected their well-being and 37 percent said they wouldn’t be able to sustain their current workload in the long run.
According to the 2010 American Time Use Survey released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 35 percent of workers are no longer working for the weekends, they’re working on the weekends. Is this a continuing trend? Or is there light at the end of the tunnel?
Debnam says, “Regardless of the state of the economy, employers must recognize the impact of their resourcing decisions. If you aren’t able to hire more resources and you instead ask your current employees to take on that extra work, some productivity is bound to suffer.”
About Workplace Options
Workplace Options helps employees balance their work, family and personal life in order to make their lives healthier, easier and more productive. The company’s world-class employee support and work-life services provide information, resources, referrals and consultation on a variety of issues ranging from dependent care, legal and financial issues to stress management and wellness.
Drawing from an international network of credentialed providers and professionals, Workplace Options is the world’s largest integrated employee support services and work-life provider. Service centers in Raleigh. N.C., London, Toronto and Dublin support more than 40 million employees in 30,000 organizations, across 170 countries. To learn more, visit www.workplaceoptions.com.
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