The Psychological Toll of being "On Call" all the time from Work

Posted on September 15, 2015

That increasingly common end-of-day feeling: of physically leaving the office, only for it to tag along home. Thanks largely to technology, our availability - to clients, bosses and co-workers - extends into our evenings, weekends and even holidays.

Getting a clear account of what this means for us isn’t easy, as jobs that intrude more into leisure time are also distinguished by higher pace and further factors known and unknown, making it hard to pinpoint what harmful effects, if any, are specifically due to our constant availability.

A new study published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, and led by Jan Dettmers at the University of Hamburg, takes a fresh tack on this, investigating workers who have two types of free-time: on-call periods where they are free to please themselves but must remain available for potential work demands, and other periods where they are truly off-duty. For each individual participant, this set up keeps job-role demands and responsibilities equal while varying the need to be available. The data suggest that extended work availability has a negative effect: dampening mood and also increasing markers of physiological stress.

We already know that use of work technology during free time makes it harder to relax and detach. Here we see further evidence that the mere prospect of work-related interruptions during free time can exacerbate stress.

Click on the link below to read the full article


Category(s):Stress Management, Workplace Issues

Source material from British Psychological Society


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