If the first thing you did this morning was check your work emails, you're not alone.

A new study has found that on average people start checking their emails at 7.42am and don't stop until almost 12 hours later, at 7.19pm.

The survey of 1000 European and United States workers and bosses by Seattle technology company Mozy said the advent of smartphones and cloud computing meant workers were always in touch with the office.

And it found three-quarters of bosses don't mind employees being half an hour late because they are confident they will have been working elsewhere.


"The days of working 9 to 5 are long behind us," said the report.

But employees expected "give and take" and many did online shopping and social networking during the day in return for the time they put in after hours, said Mozy spokesman Steve Jensen.

Auckland business psychologist Jasbindar Singh said that executives, corporate workers and the self-employed had to work out what worked best for them and establish boundaries.

Ms Singh said the problem of a blurred work/life balance was only the case when not managed properly.

"I think people have to actively say, 'Now hang on, this is enough, after 7pm I need to spend more time with the kids and catch up with what's been happening with my family'."

A report published this year by workplace provider Regus found New Zealanders' work-life balance to be better than the global average.

A Department of Labour spokeswoman said there was no legal limit to the number of hours a day or days in a row an employee could work. It was a matter for agreement between employer and employee.