‘Out of office’ but always on: New survey shows Millennials desperate to switch-off from work

Do you switch off or still work?

As the great summer getaway begins, a national survey of small business owners found those in the millennial generation are most likely to want more time offline. 73 per cent of 25-34-year olds would like more time unconnected, compared with 53 per cent of 45-54-year olds and 40 per cent of over 55s who would like time switched-off from devices. 

  • 73 per cent of 25-34-year olds would like more time from phones and email
  • 40 per cent of over 55-year olds would like more time away from phones and email
  • A quarter of all 25-34s are very concerned about the amount of time spent with phone and email access
  • Only 18 per cent of 35-44s and only 9 per cent of 45-54s thought they spent too much time ‘switched-on’
  • 38 per cent of 25-34 and 21 per cent of 45-54-year olds actively spend time switched-off from devices
  • 56 per cent of business owners ignore calls from friends and family
  • 28 per cent of business owners ignore calls from existing clients
  • Fears of switching-off included; missing customers (22 per cent) admin piling up (21 per cent) be responsible if something goes wrong (11 per cent)

Similarly, a quarter of all 25-34s are very concerned about the amount of time spent with phone and email access, compared with 18 per cent of 35-44s and only nine per cent of 45-54s.

The survey by Moneypenny, the UK’s leading outsourced communications provider, suggested that millennials are more proactive than their older work colleagues in trying to spend time unconnected from work: 38 per cent of 25-34s compared with 21 per cent of 45-54s. 

However, they are also more likely than older business owners to worry about possible consequences of switching-off: only nine per cent of 25-34s said they had no worries about disconnecting, compared with 40 per cent of 45-54s who said they weren’t worried about switching-off.

The survey showed some interesting trends emerging across all age groups.  In a bid to take control of communications, the survey showed that across the board business owners frequently ignore certain calls, with 28 per cent ignoring calls from clients and 56 per cent ignoring calls from friends and family.

The survey also showed business owners worry that by switching-off they might miss customers (22 per cent), admin will pile up (21 per cent) and they might be responsible if something goes wrong while they are unconnected (11 per cent). 

The survey also revealed some interesting differences across different industry sectors, with those in the legal sector being more likely to deliberately spend time unconnected: 67 per cent of legal professionals, compared to 30 per cent of those in sales and marketing for example.

Commenting on the survey results, Joanna Swash, Managing Director of Moneypenny, said: “It’s really interesting to see those who grew up with the digital revolution are more likely to want to release themselves from the ‘always on’ work culture. But at the same time worry about what might happen if they do disconnect.”

Joanna added: “Fortunately there is a wealth of solutions available to ensure business keeps working during the holidays, from virtual PAs to automated answering systems, so there’s no reason to be taking calls from the sun lounger.”

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