Employers and employees alike have been pondering this dilemma ever since mobile phones came about. However, with technology integrating all of life's aspects, and business operating not only around the world, but also around the clock, boundaries between private and professional time are blurring.

Several risks are associated with the mismanagement of this emerging phenomenon of the ubiquitous workplace:

Mental health risk, and more specifically preventing burnout and its tangible and intangible costs.
  • Companies have a responsibility for their employees' wellbeing, and legal liability for mental health issues is on the rise across the world.
From a legal perspective: australian legislation places mental health on equal footing with all other aspects of workplace safety, and imposes a duty of care on employers (Source: Australian Human Rights Commission). There are many aspects that are critical to mitigating mental health risk in the workplace including a corporate culture of awareness and prevention, compliance with regulation concerning sexual harassment, bullying and discrimination, as well as a process of reporting, analysing and responding to incidents. It is important to keep a detailed record of incidents in order to design an escalation process which complements the official policies and mitigates risk effectively. Integrated risk management and compliance training systems such as ecomply enable companies to deliver the necessary compliance training, monitor results, and ultimately protect their people and brand.
Overtime and its impact on profitability
  • Overtime typically delivers less bang for more buck. Not only does it have a tangible effect upon company budgets in terms of higher dollar rates per hour in certain circumstances, it also has intangible consequences including drops in productivity, increased rates of absenteeism and burnout where significant rates of overtime have led to overwork (Source: Harvard Business Review).
From a legal perspective: in order to properly manage overtime, policy and process must go hand-in-hand. Considered and pragmatic workforce scheduling is critical to minimising overtime required. Leave entitlements are a fundamental aspect of the employment relationship and companies can direct that leave be taken in some circumstances. Attention should be given to promoting work-life balance for employees, thereby prioritising their health and wellbeing and maximising productivity.