Patrice Dougan

Patrice Dougan is a NZME. News Service reporter based in Auckland.

New tech leads to more time on the job - survey

File photo / Thinkstock
File photo / Thinkstock

Technology such as smart phones has led to spending more time working and increasingly taking work home, a survey has shown.

Nearly two-thirds of respondents to The Great New Zealand Employment Survey said new technology led to spending more time on the job.

The survey conducted by Clarian HR with Massey University found workers, particularly managers, were also more likely to take work outside the office.

But people were divided over whether this was a positive or negative effect, with feedback suggesting some felt technology allowed more freedom and flexibility, while others saying there was a psychological toll of bringing the office into their homes.

A quarter felt technology was harmful to their personal lives, saying they ``can't disconnect from work'' and citing reduced family time and criticism from partners.

Professor Jane Parker from the Massey University School of Management said the figure represented "a lot of people feeling disgruntled''.

"What I find the most interesting was the fact that a number of people were on a learning curve,'' she said.

"They were saying, `I'm getting better at managing this', `I'm not taking work related emails at home', basically developing some sort of resilience.''

Dr Parker said that raised a question over whether employers were providing support for employees in how to cope with new technology.

She said it was vital for businesses to provide "some sort of steer'' to their employees on how to handle the introduction of smartphones in their working lives.

"Anything that builds up that area of individual resilience in understanding how to use IT in a way that best suits them is a good thing,'' she said.

"If that learning curve improves and becomes more widespread for more people, it's helpful in terms of psychological barriers some people may have in terms of new technology. So it's hopefully giving them some new momentum, helping them to engage better.''

Despite just over half of survey participants citing excess workload as the greatest barrier to better performance, the report said there was no link between this and an increase in technology.

"Our respondents did not report that technology contributes to increases in workload, however they do report that it contributes to more time on the job,'' it said.

Dr Parker said this years results were "more optimistic'' than the 2012 survey, with 70 per cent of people believing their firms are performing better than, or as expected in the current economic conditions, and 61 per cent saying they had received a pay increase over the past year.

"There was a sense that we've been through tough times but entering a recovery period,'' she said.

The survey questioned 334 respondents, aged between 21 and 70 from around New Zealand.

- NZ Herald

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