The quarterly study by HR and recruitment specialists Randstad has found that the lines between working hours and private time are blurring in the Asia Pacific (APAC) countries.
Sixty-five per cent of workers said their employer expects them to be available outside regular office hours.
This compares to 57 per cent globally and 51 per cent in Australia.
The quarterly Randstad Workmonitor & Mobility Index (Wave 2, 2015), which tracks employee confidence and labour market movement, provides a comprehensive understanding of sentiments and trends in the Australian and global job market.
the latest Wave 2, 2015 report also explores jobseeker sentiment around working outside of regular hours.
Technology is blurring the line between work and play.
The rise of smart devices means employees are rarely separated from work, with emails, apps and the ability to access documents anytime and anywhere.
This puts pressure on employees' work-life balance, as employers increasingly expect them to be available during personal hours.
working outside of office hours
In APAC, 65 per cent of workers are expected to be available outside of office hours, with China (89 per cent) having the highest expectation.
This is almost 10 per cent higher than the rest of the world (57 per cent) and nearly 15 per cent higher than Aussie workers (51 per cent), which had the second-lowest employer expectations behind Japan (46 per cent).
It is no surprise that employers expect employees to be available around the clock.
With technology impacting how we work, particularly as we move towards a more global workforce, employees increasingly work outside the traditional office hours.
Employers and employees must strike a balance between work and personal time.
Too much work and not enough downtime can have a negative impact, leading to burnout, loss in productivity and a decrease in workplace satisfaction.
Although employer expectations of out-of-hours (OOH) work in Australia are low, over half of the Aussie workers (56 per cent) don't mind handling work-related matters in their time.
Two-thirds (67 per cent) of employees are happy to respond to calls and emails at a convenient time.
The rest of APAC, excluding Japan (35 per cent), are even happier to handle work matters OOH, with 60 per cent willing to work during personal time and 76 per cent choosing to respond at a time convenient to them.
Additionally, APAC has a higher sense of urgency regarding responding to work-related calls and emails immediately OOH.
In APAC, 61 per cent of workers are happy to action items as soon as they receive them, particularly in India (82 per cent). In contrast, only 56 per cent of global workers and 49 per cent of Aussie workers would respond immediately.
However, reacting may not be the best way to stay on top of workloads.
employers mustn't take employees' inclination to work during their time for granted.
Rather than overworking their employees, employers should prioritise rewarding those who take the extra step and ensure they are capable of having a healthy work/life balance.
Employers could foster this by offering various benefits such as time off in lieu or extended lunch breaks to avoid overworking.
Conversely, from an employee's perspective, responding at a convenient time rather than immediately, even if offline, demonstrates commitment and the ability to take advantage of well-earned downtime and balance their work and personal life.
However, when working with their APAC colleagues, it will be beneficial to understand how they work and the pressures they face.
This will help to solidify those relations, especially if expectations are established early.
In addition to finding out how much work impacts employees' time, the Randstad Workmonitor report also investigates whether the opposite is true.
The results show a clear correlation between expectations to work OOH and whether employees resolve personal matters at work.
The higher the expectations are to work OOH, the more likely employees will address personal issues at work.
Overall, 71 per cent of workers in APAC say they sometimes deal with personal matters during work.
This drops to 64 per cent globally, as expectations of working outside office hours are lower.
However, both Australia and New Zealand buck this trend.
With both nations having low employer expectations for employees to work OOH, most employees should not be bringing personal matters to perform.
Yet, 71 per cent of employees sometimes address personal issues at work.
working on holiday
Most consider holidays precious, as it is a time to relax, unwind, refresh and re-energise by clearing the mind of work-related matters for a well-deserved break.
However, 58 per cent of employees in APAC say their employer expects them to be available by phone and email during holidays, with China again being the highest (81 per cent).
The exact expectations and pressures can’t be said of Aussie workers, with only 41 per cent saying their employer expects them to be available during their holidays.
Although this is better than APAC and even the rest of the world (58 per cent and 47 per cent, respectively), employers still need to understand this expectation defeats the purpose of using this valuable time to recharge your batteries.
Although expectations around working on holiday are increasing, employees must keep this time for themselves.
The number of days we all have for holidays is limited. People must ensure these days are used to separate themselves from work, clear their minds and unwind.