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Always on: Aussies aren't switching off this Christmas

Working on Christmas.
Most Aussies feel like they need to work this Christmas, despite managers telling them to take time off. (Source: Getty)

The holidays are fast approaching, but many Aussie workers aren’t planning to switch off.

New research from Slack revealed two thirds (67 per cent) of Aussie employees were planning to be available for work during their scheduled time off, while 44 per cent said they would be checking their messages.

The survey of more than 2,000 workers found there were a number of reasons why Aussies were choosing to “stay on” these holidays. These included having important tasks or projects to finish, personal preferences, as well as client, customer and employer expectations.

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Medical practitioner Dr Jenny Brockis said taking proper time off wasn’t just a “nice to have”, and was important if Aussies wanted to avoid burnout and mental and physical illnesses.

“Time off needs to be honoured, not diluted with justifications around needing to tie up loose ends, play catch-up or to meet the expectation of others,” Brockis said.

“It’s time to stop kidding ourselves that we don’t need a break over the holiday season. Everyone does.”

Bosses sending mixed messages

Managers were also sending mixed messages to employees around work expectations, Slack found.

Despite the majority of managers (84 per cent) saying they would encourage employees to switch off during the holidays, a big proportion of them (71 per cent) also said they expected employees to check their work-related messages over the break.

Slack’s country manager for Australia and New Zealand, Nicola Woodley, said this was a dangerous message for employees.

“Executives need to lead by example when it comes to setting boundaries, and not respond to Slack messages and email,” Woodley said.

“Otherwise, employees will likely vote with their feet and look for employers where they don’t just feel like a commodity, or move into quiet-quitting mode, both of which have a clear impact on productivity.”

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