Research conducted by The Australia Institute recently found that more than 50 per cent of the workers surveyed were dissatisfied with their working hours.

According to the study workers are either unhappy with the number of hours they work or unhappy because of an inability to get work or working too few hours to be able to support themselves and families.

The study’s focus was on the experiences of the “overworked” and those who are “underworked” in July 2013.

Workers that are fully employed seem to often be unhappy with the number of hours they work which results in them feeling overworked and dissatisfied. According to Kate Carnell, CEO of beyondblue, the organisation co-conducting the study, there is something very wrong in Australian workplaces because employees are working longer and longer but productivity does not reflect this because it is not increasing.

The study also found that the number of workers unhappy with their working hours has increased this year as compared to last year. Unfortunately the current labour environment is creating high levels of stress, depression and poor sleep patterns for many Aussies. This also has serious, negative consequences on worker’s lives, health, family and relationships.

The study included 1400 respondents, 800 of which were involved in paid work. A quarter of those overworked workers who were interviewed also experienced anxiety. The research also showed that 3.3 million “overworked” Australians also experience loss of sleep. Half of all Australian workers also wish they had more free time to spend with their families.

Many employees are suffering from financial insecurity because of unpredictable working hours which is beyond their control. Insufficient working hours are another problem plaguing Australian workers who revealed that involuntary time out of work was demoralising.

This excerpt from an article on explains more about the research:

Early findings of the research paper Hard to get a break?, to be released in the lead-up to Go Home on Time Day on November 20, focus on the experiences of the “overworked” (those who would like to work fewer hours) and the “underworked” (for example, those struggling to enter the workforce or those who want to work more hours) and was based on an online survey conducted in July.

The findings revealed 50 per cent of Australians who are overworked would like to spend more time with their family.


Carnell, CEO of beyondblue also explained that workers who are constantly under pressure to produce and forced to work extra hours to do so, are stressed which leads to depression and anxiety.

Depression and anxiety are both serious issues which require attention, because while much attention is given to the physical health and wellbeing of workers, their mental wellbeing is just as important and also impacts on their overall health. Mental health issues affect workers, the employer and business, worker’s friends, family and community.

The post goes on to explain:

“Depression costs Australian businesses $12.3 billion every year through absenteeism, reduced productivity and staff turnover. So business owners need to wake up to the fact that poor work/life balance takes its toll on both their employees and their businesses.”

Dr Richard Denniss, Executive Director of The Australia Institute, said Go Home on Time Day was a light-hearted way to start a serious conversation.

“When so many people say work – either too much or not enough – is making them anxious then it’s clearly a conversation that needs to be had,” he said.

“Managers see first-hand how productivity is affected when workers feel stressed or anxious. That’s why we’re encouraging businesses to participate.”

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