New study reveals Kiwis feel under immense pressure to work long hours

It's no secret New Zealanders are hard workers - in fact figures show we work an average of 2.3 more hours a week than other OECD countries.

But a new study has revealed some Kiwis feel under immense pressure to work long hours and many are so swamped with work they can't complete all their tasks.

The working week has commenced yet again, and it's back to reality for many as they face their workload. 

Now a new study has lifted the lid on the pressure New Zealanders are under at work.

"We know they are working harder than other OECD countries but also the work we are doing, that we are working, is potentially harming us mentally and physically," said Umbrella CEO Dougal Sutherland.

The research was conducted by Umbrella, a company that partners with organisations to improve the mental health and resilience of staff.

Seven-thousand people took part in the research which found:

  • 14 percent feel pressured to work long hours
  • 43 percent have to neglect some of their work tasks because they have too much to do
  • 44 percent work very intensively to meet work deadlines

"People might say, 'Is that a problem really? Hard work is good isn't it?' But what we've found is that those people who are working really hard are twice as likely to report high levels of psychological distress and three times as likely to say they are going to leave their jobs in the next six months," Sutherland said.

"The increase in psycho-social risk to workplaces due to increase in workloads has become quite extreme," said New Zealand Institute of Safety Management CEO Selena Armstrong.

Armstrong said they've noticed increased workloads across a range of businesses since COVID-19.

"I think this report is a call for action for businesses to sit down and talk to their people and engage health and safety reps who can be a really big critical role in solving this problem."

It's a sentiment shared by Sutherland.

"You've got to know what's happening with your people. People often say, 'Oh I know my people, they're all good'," he said.

"Yet when they dig into it, when they actually dig into it they might find some different results."

To help employees thrive and businesses too.