A new survey shows New Zealand employees are among the world’s most addicted to checking work emails during holidays, with over one quarter (26%) of Kiwis planning to monitor their accounts regularly over the Christmas break.
This number is increasing internationally with a third of Australians, 26% of British workers and 29% of Canadian employees planning to check emails during the festive season. Interestingly, this is despite New Zealand employers being some of the least demanding in the world when it comes to working over holidays.
The Randstad Workmonitor, which surveys over 400 New Zealanders every quarter, reveals only 16% of employees are expected to be available over the break. This compares to 58% of employers in China, 56% in India and 40% of organisations in Hong Kong who expect employees to be available at all times over the holiday period.
Paul Robinson, New Zealand Director of HR & recruitment specialists, Randstad, says while it’s good to see employees want to remain productive over the holidays, it’s also important they take time out to rejuvenate and unwind. “We all know the business world doesn’t stop over summer, however it’s important employees are encouraged to take a well-earned break over the Christmas period in order to recharge for the upcoming year.
“While this can be difficult in a high-paced, high performing environment, and with technologies making it easier than ever to be at work from anywhere in the world, all of us should try to make a point of switching off for even a small part of the festive period. “Whether this means leaving the laptop at work, not looking at or responding to work emails, nominating ‘no work’ days or sharing responsibilities effectively around a team, Kiwis need to work with their employers to ensure expectations are met and everyone has a good break over the Christmas and New Year period,” says Robinson.
The commitment to our jobs over the holidays goes beyond emptying work inboxes, with almost half (42%) of us staying up to date with what’s going on at the office through various channels, and 31% admitting they have trouble letting work tasks go when on holidays. “While the office doesn’t stop when you are on leave, there are ways to minimise the amount of time you spend on email or engaged with work. Communicate tasks with team members and split responsibilities amongst them, or alternatively nominate days where you won’t be available and try to stick to these.” Paul Robinson says no matter what time of year, it’s important workers make the most of their annual leave and use the time to truly relax and have a break, as best they can. And for those employees who need to work over the Christmas period, Robinson says it’s important these workers are rewarded appropriately.
“Not every office will be able to close down over the Christmas period, and there will be many Kiwis around the country who’ll find themselves working for a period of time over the festive season. So for those who have to work, employers just need to ensure the efforts of their employees are acknowledged and appreciated.
“The festive season gives most New Zealanders a chance to relax and escape the office, and it’s important we all make an effort to use our holidays to unwind and recharge. We all know the importance of a healthy work-life balance, so making the effort to disconnect from the work environment over Christmas can lead to a more productive start to 2014,” says Robinson.
Expectations for pay rises diminish
The Randstad Workmonitor also shows New Zealanders are far less confident of receiving a pay rise in 2014 than they were last year, with only 54% of employees believing they will receive a raise in the New Year. This compares to 69% of Kiwis who thought their pay would increase in 2013. This figure is also far lower than counterparts throughout the Asia-Pacific region, with 93% of Singaporean workers, 92% Indian and 82% of Hong Kong employees expecting a pay rise in the coming year. In fact Japan (35%) is the only nation in the region with fewer workers expecting a raise in salary. Robinson says with salaries potentially increasing throughout neighbouring countries, local businesses will have to work harder to keep their best employees in New Zealand.
“With economies in the Asia Pacific region surging, resulting in potential wage pressures, the fight for talented employees will be fierce for local organisations. “While many organisations may not be in a position to match the pay cheques offered by other regional businesses, it’s important to consider other benefits which will be attractive to employees.
Ensure your office culture is strong; your company reputation and image is positive in the market; offer non-financial benefits such as flexible working options and extended leave; and communicate all your employee value propositions wherever possible as this will help your employer brand, and therefore retain your best people while also making your organisation more attractive to prospective employees,” says Robinson.
Posted: Friday, 2 January 2015 - 4:17 PM