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Hard to switch off work for many Australians working from home

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source. April 2019 – March 2020, n-5,756. Base: Employed Australians aged 14+.

A majority of employed Australians who do at least some work from home, whether paid or unpaid ‘find it difficult to switch off from work’ according to new research conducted by Roy Morgan in the lead-up to COVID-19 forced shutdowns.

The societal shutdowns enforced by Governments around Australia to stop the spread of COVID-19 over the last two months have caused an immense economic shock. Over 10.5 million Australians (68% of working Australians) report being forced into an employment change because of COVID-19 and a large number have been forced to ‘work from home’.

52% of those who do at least some paid work from home, and 55% who do some unpaid work from home say they ‘’find it difficult to switch off from work’.

However, not all Australians ‘find it difficult to switch off from work’. Under two-fifths (39%) of all employed Australians find it difficult’ and only around a third (35%) who do no work from home.

The self-employed are somewhere between with those who do some work from home (43%) more likely than those who do no work from home (38%) to agree they ‘find it difficult to switch off from work’.

These findings come from the Roy Morgan Single Source survey, Australia’s most comprehensive and trusted consumer survey.

Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine says even before COVID-19 forced many Australians to work from home, there were many Australians struggling to switch off from work even out of work hours:

“COVID-19 has led to employment changes for over 10.5 million Australians (68% of working Australians) and one of the most stunning is the requirement for many office workers around Australia to work from home during the pandemic.

“However in-depth research shows that Australians that do some work from home are far more likely to find it difficult to switch off from work than those that don’t – by up to 20% points. Over half of employed Australians who have done work from home find it difficult to switch off compared to only a third of those who do no work from home.

“These figures show that millions of Australians who have been forced to work from home over the last few months as Australia deals with the COVID-19 pandemic are likely keenly awaiting the lifting of the harshest restrictions which will allow a return to a more normal work-life balance.”

% of employed Australians agree they ‘find it difficult to switch off from work’

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source. April 2019 – March 2020, n-5,756. Base: Employed Australians aged 14+.

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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate

40%-60%

25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%

1,000

±3.0

±2.7

±1.9

±1.3

5,000

±1.4

±1.2

±0.8

±0.6

7,500

±1.1

±1.0

±0.7

±0.5

10,000

±1.0

±0.9

±0.6

±0.4

20,000

±0.7

±0.6

±0.4

±0.3

50,000

±0.4

±0.4

±0.3

±0.2