Home Business News Spike in workplace notifications hurting Gen Z work-life balance

Spike in workplace notifications hurting Gen Z work-life balance

by LLB Reporter
5th Dec 23 8:14 am

RingCentral, a leading provider of AI-first global enterprise cloud communications, video meetings, collaboration, and contact centre solutions, today released new findings from its Communications @ Work Index exposing the growing issue of out of hours notifications in the UK and their impact on work-life boundaries. As the Christmas holiday period nears, the question arises if Brits really will be switching off during this time.

Brits are suffering from “alert anxiety”

Research indicates that more than half of employees (52%) are toggling between six or more apps in a typical work week. With more apps comes more notifications and a quarter of British workers now experience annoyance (24%) and anxiety (23%) and one fifth experiencing stress (21%) when they receive a notification.

This is having a greater effect on younger workers as they experience more anxiety (27%) and stress (26%) when they receive workplace notifications.

Increased work notifications are generating a new level of annoyance amongst workers. Over a fifth (21%) of Brits find sitting in a traffic jam or waiting in a long line less annoying than navigating between different communications apps or programmes at work.

Furthermore, work alerts and/or notifications cause the same amount of anxiety as spiders and bugs (54%) and almost as much as going to the dentist (59%).

Clocking off in an always on culture

Compounding the alert anxiety is the fact that Brits are receiving work notifications outside of working hours with 31% saying that this has increased.

On average a quarter (24%) also say that the pressure to answer notifications outside of working hours has increased. This pressure to respond increases among younger workers to almost a third (30%), compared to only 14% of those aged 55-65.

This pressure is resulting in almost two thirds (63%) of workers bringing work home with them by checking notifications outside of working hours. Gen Z and Millennials feel this pressure more than older workers, with two fifths checking their work notifications out of hours. Two thirds (65%) of Millennials who check notifications respond most or all of the time and 57% of Gen Z.

The increased volume of notifications is also impacting time away from work. Of those that experience increased work notifications, half (49%) stated that they feel like they’re always at work even when they’re off the clock. A third (32%) of Gen Z and Millennials also say this impacted their time to fully focus on spending time with loved ones.

Is the UK heading towards a right to disconnect policy?

The research from RingCentral demonstrates that UK workers are feeling burdened by the number of notifications they are receiving and a pressure to be on, even when they are off the clock. The data also revealed that 54% of Brits said that they would be working in some capacity during their 2023 holidays, including reading emails and chat messages.

Belgium, France and Portugal have recently implemented  ‘right to disconnect’ laws to reduce workplace fatigue and anxiety. These policies give employees permission to disengage from work outside of their normal working hours, meaning once workers are off the clock they will not receive or be required to answer any work-related calls, emails or messages.

The findings from RingCentral’s Communications @ Work Index indicate that the UK may need to consider ‘right to disconnect’ regulations to support employees and maintain productivity.

Steve Rafferty, VP International at RingCentral, said, “Communications is and will continue to remain at the heart of every business. In the new era of work which continues to shift due to external factors, work and life boundaries are blurred more than ever before.

“Communication and collaboration tools have flooded the workplace, which is heightening negative feelings of anxiety, annoyance and stress. This is taking its toll on workers, who are unable to disconnect.

“As we approach the holiday period and new year, if businesses want to succeed at solving the productivity puzzle, they must take a proactive approach in adopting tools that consolidates cross team communication efforts, alongside, adapting their culture and updating their working policies to support employee wellbeing.”

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