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Employee wellbeing at risk from pressure to work ‘out of hours’

1 July 2018

In an age of always being ‘online’, new research has revealed that almost a third of employees in the financial services industry are at risk of jeopardising their mental wellbeing by working outside of traditional office hours.

According to the Global Benefits Forum Survey by insurance broker Lockton, large employers need to reassess what they expect of their employees to ensure a happy and healthy workforce that performs to its potential.

While a large proportion of multi-national financial services employers (64%) offer mental health resilience support for employees, the same number (65%) also contractually require their employees to be available outside of core office hours.

The pressure to be available around the clock can prove detrimental to employee wellbeing, with almost a third of financial services employees (30%) stating that it negatively impacts their mental health.

The impact is also felt across productivity levels leading to a false economy, the survey found. While as many as 91% of employers felt that longer working hours would not affect productivity, the research found that almost a fifth (17%) of employees in the financial services sector felt their output was negatively affected by being on call.

The growing focus on mental wellbeing would prompt over three quarters (78%) of employees in the industry to refuse a position that required them to be online outside of office hours as part of their job description, the survey found.

Yet, 30% of HR directors questioned said that being online at home is expected as part of a role at their company, highlighting the disconnect between employer and employee.

Chris Rofe, senior vice president of UK and international benefits practice, Lockton, commented: “Many employers are ‘not walking the talk’ when it comes to work life balance. With employers spending millions on health and wellbeing initiatives, many are failing to acknowledge one of the biggest risks to their employees’ health and wellbeing.

“This just doesn’t make sense and leaves employees performing sub optimally or at worst, burning out altogether. Even the most dedicated and driven employees reach their limit and employers owe it to all employees to ensure appropriate down time to re-charge and re-energise.”

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