Home and Work Boundaries Are Blurring

July 29, 2014 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – Even when Americans are away from work, they are thinking about work, says a recent poll from employment services provider Randstad.

For example, many Americans cannot seem to enjoy their vacations, with thoughts of work running through their heads. Forty-two percent of poll respondents feel compelled to check in with work while on vacation. Age seems to have a bearing on this mindset, with 45% of Millennials and Generation Xers saying they are likely to check in, while only 36% of Baby Boomers say the same.

Just more than one-quarter (26%) of respondents feel guilty about using all of their vacation days. Millennials seem to feel the most guilty (40%), while fewer of their Gen X and Boomer counterparts feel such guilt (28% and 18%, respectively). Only 8% of the Mature or Silent Generation say they feel guilty about taking vacation. The poll also finds that almost half of employees (47%) feel guilty if they do not work when they are sick.

Many employees (45%) also feel compelled to check and respond to emails after traditional work hours. Again, this mindset seems to have a correlation with age, with 52% of Millennials and 47% of Gen Xers reporting they are likely to do so. Other the hand, only 39% of Boomers report doing so.

Overall, only 33% of employees say that the blurring of home and work boundaries has increased their productivity, while 67% say it has not.

A June survey by collaboration software and services provider PGi came up with similar findings about the blurring of home and work boundaries, noting that 88% of respondents work above and beyond the traditional 40-hour work week, and 71% take home work at least one day a week. PGi initiated a “TakeBack60” campaign and asked employees what they would do with 60 extra minutes added to their day.

Answers included:

  • Go back to school – 10%;
  • Cook – 10%;
  • Enjoy more media time watching TV shows or movies – 13%;
  • Spend time with friends – 17%;
  • Take a nap/relax – 18%;
  • Run errands – 22%;
  • Learn or improve skill(s) – 23%;
  • Do household chores – 25%;
  • Pursue a hobby – 31%;
  • Exercise – 64%; and
  • Spend time with family – 64%.

The Randstad poll, carried out online by Ipsos Public Affairs, took place in April. It sampled 2,257 adults age 18 and older from across the United States.