A new survey shows Australian employees are among the world’s most addicted to checking work emails during holidays, with over one-third (35%) of Australians planning to monitor their accounts regularly over the Christmas break.

This number is significantly higher in Australia than elsewhere, with only 26% of British workers, 29% of Canadians and 25% of New Zealand employees planning to check emails during the festive season.

Interestingly, this is despite Australian employers being some of the least demanding in the world regarding working over holidays. The Randstad Workmonitor surveys over 400 Australians every quarter and reveals that only 22% 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 SAR who expect employees to be available at all times over the holiday period.

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. Employees must be encouraged to take advantage of their break during the Christmas period to be ready and recharged for the new year.

While this can prove challenging, particularly in high-performing environments, coupled with technology easing work mobility, everyone should consciously try to ‘switch off’ even for a short period during the festive season.

This could mean leaving your laptop at work, not checking work emails, nominating ‘no work’ days or even sharing your responsibilities amongst your team members. Australians must work with their employers to ensure expectations are achieved and all take advantage of their break during Christmas and New Year’s. 

The commitment to our jobs over the holidays goes beyond emptying work inboxes, with almost half (45%) of us staying up to date with what’s going on at the office through various channels, and 29% admitting they have trouble letting work tasks go when on holidays.

No matter what time of year, it is essential for workers to make the most of their annual leave and use that time to relax and have a break as best they can honestly.

And for those who need to work over Christmas, management must remember the importance of recognising their efforts and appropriately rewarding their employees.

It is important to remember that the festive season allows most Australians to unwind and escape the responsibilities of the office, even for a short time. Everyone must make a conscious effort to take these breaks and recharge for the upcoming year.

A healthy work-life balance should be a priority for all workers. Thus, making an effort to disconnect from work over Christmas can ultimately lead to high productivity at the start of 2014.

expectations for pay rises diminish

The Randstad Workmonitor also shows Australians are far less confident of receiving a pay rise in 2014 than last year, with only 58% of employees believing they will receive a raise in the New Year. This compares to 75% of Australians 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% of Indians and 82% of Hong Kong SAR employees expecting a pay rise in the coming year. Japan (35%) is the only nation in the region with fewer workers expecting a raise in salary.

With salaries potentially increasing throughout neighbouring countries, local businesses must work harder to keep their best employees in Australia. Economies within the Asia Pacific region are rapidly growing, resulting in potential wage pressures and increasing the competition for talented employees among local businesses. 

It is eminent that organisations are open to offering alternative benefits attractive to employees to remain competitive, mainly if they are not in a position to match paycheques provided by other regional businesses.

Management must ensure the office culture is strong, company reputation and positioning are positive, non-financial benefits are offered, and employee value propositions are well communicated to sustain the employer brand. This will ensure the best talent is retained whilst positioning the organisation as more attractive to prospective employees.

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