Wednesday 21 November is Australia’s official “Go Home On Time Day,” sponsored by the Centre for Future Work and the Australia Institute. This represents the 10th year of our initiative, to provide light-hearted encouragement to Australian workers to actually leave their jobs when they are supposed to. Instead of working late once again – and allowing your employer to “steal” even more of your time, without even paying for it – why not leave the job promptly. Spend a full evening with your family or friends, visit the gym, see a movie – do anything other than work.

Please visit our special Go Home On Time Day website for more information, tips on how to get away from work on time, and free posters and shareables. There’s also an online calculator where you can estimate the value of the time theft you experience, through unpaid overtime in all its forms.

In conjunction with Go Home On Time Day, The Centre for Future Work is releasing two new research reports on the time pressures facing Australian workers:

Our annual update on attitudes toward working hours, the incidence of unpaid overtime and its aggregate value: Excessive Hours and Unpaid Overtime: 2018 Update, by Troy Henderson and Tom Swann. On the basis of a survey of 880 employed Australians, we estimate that the typical worker puts in 6.0 hours of unpaid overtime per week – ranging from going in early, staying late, working through lunch and tea breaks, taking work home in the evenings and weekends, responding to calls or emails out of hours, and more. That amounts to 3.25 billion hours of unpaid overtime across the whole labour market this year, worth a total of $106 billion.

This year, our Go Home On Time Day survey also included a special section focusing on the forms, prevalence, impacts and implications of electronic and digital monitoring and surveillance in Australian workplaces. Our goal was to investigate a secondary dimension of the time pressure facing Australian workers. It is not just that work is being extended into greater portions of our days (through unpaid overtime, the use of mobile phones and computers to reach workers at any time, pressure to not fully utilise annual leave, and similar trends). In addition, even within the work day, time pressure is intensified with the expectation that every moment of work time must be used for productive purposes – an expectation that is increasingly reinforced through omnipresent systems of monitoring, performance measurement, and surveillance. The result of these twin forces is an overall inability for people to escape from the demands of work: neither at the workplace (even for short periods), nor away from it.

Please see our companion report, Under the Employer’s Eye: Electronic Monitoring & Surveillance in Australian Workplaces, by Troy Henderson, Tom Swann and Jim Stanford.

Related research

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