Working the Day AND Night Away

Almost half of workers in Malaysia work well over eight hours a day and regularly take work home to finish in the evening. This evidence of long working hours is seen in the latest global survey findings from Regus, the world’s largest provider of flexible workplaces, canvassing the opinions of over 12,000 business people in 85 countries. Arguably pressure on working hours has increased in recent years because of slow economic recovery in mature economies and, conversely, very rapid growth in emerging ones. Key findings include:-

· 32% of Malaysian workers and 38% of global workers usually work between nine to eleven hours every day;

· 15% of workers in Malaysia regularly work more than eleven hours a day, compared to 10% globally;

· In Malaysia 47% of workers take tasks home to finish at the end of the day more than three times a week compared to 43% globally;

· Remote workers globally are more likely to work eleven hour days (14%) than fixed office workers (6%) and to take tasks home to finish (59%) than fixed office workers (26%);

· Globally, only 5% of women work 60 hour weeks compared to more than twice that (12%) for men. They are also less likely (32%) to take work home to complete more than three times a week, than men (48%);

· Workers in smaller companies globally were more likely to take work home with them (48%) more than three times a week than those working in large firms (29%).

William Willems, Regional Vice-President, for Regus Australia, New Zealand and South-East Asia, comments: “This study finds a clear blurring of the line between work and home. The long-term effects of this over-work could be damaging both to workers’ health and to overall productivity as workers drive themselves too hard and become disaffected, depressed or even physically ill.

“While women were found to be less likely to work longer hours, probably because they are more likely to be employed in part-time work, small company workers are more likely to clock up the hours than large company employees. Workers in small businesses are perhaps more likely to feel that the impact of the single employee on the success of a project is more marked.

“While our survey found remote and mobile workers generally worked longer hours, there is a growing body of evidence suggesting that remote workers are more productive, have a higher job satisfaction and lower stress levels. [1] These workers typically spend far less time commuting, freeing-up more time for their job. Businesses that enable their employees to work from locations closer to home and manage their time more independently will offset the stress of a poor work-life balance and gain more productive, committed and healthy staff.”

[1] Microsoft, Work without walls, 2011; Cranfield School of Management, Flexible working and performance, 2009