Go Home On Time Day!
26 October 2012 at 11:33 am
Australians are being encouraged to go home from work on time on November 21. Photo: Go Home On Time Day
With Australians working more than two billion hours of unpaid overtime each year, workers are being encouraged to say ‘no’ to last-minute meetings, avoid out-of-hours emails and calls, and claim back some work/life balance on November 21.
Now in its fourth year, Go Home On Time Day is an initiative of The Australia Institute, a public policy think tank based in Canberra. This year it is being supported by national mental health charity, beyondblue.
The Australia Institute’s executive director Dr Richard Denniss said for many Australians leaving work on time is actually harder than it seems.
“Whether it’s not knowing what time you’re supposed to finish work, or feeling guilty if you’re the first to leave the office, getting out the door can be a daily battle for many Australians,” he said. “National Go Home On Time Day provides at least one day of the year on which people can achieve a better work and life balance.”
beyondblue chief executive Kate Carnell said she was delighted the initiative was participating in Go Home On Time Day and highlighting what business could do to improve employees’ well-being.
Carnell said overwhelming evidence showed a direct link between mental health and working conditions.
“Ensuring employees are not overloaded and have a good work life balance is one thing that business can do to improve mental health,” she said.
“It’s important employees see that good mental health is as important as physical safety in the workplace and that good mental health in the workplace relies on good leadership, communication, support and balance.”
To coincide with Go Home On Time Day the Australia Institute releases a research paper each year. Highlights from previous reports include:
- The number of unpaid overtime hours Australians work each year is equivalent to a $72 billion ‘gift’ to employers
- One in two Australians reports spending less time with family than they would like to because of work, as well as doing less physical activity
- Work prevents one in three of us from eating healthy meals
- Australians work three times more hours of unpaid overtime than they volunteer to community organisations
- Only one in five Australian workers are working the hours they want to work, with one in two preferring to work fewer hours even if that means a pay cut.
“Employees should leave work on time on Go Home On Time Day to highlight the link between overwork and stress with depression and anxiety in the workplace,” Carnell said. “Employees and employers alike benefit from a happy and healthy workplace.”