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On-demand lifestyle leaves Kiwis stressed

May 23 2016 by EAP Services Limited

A tsunami of technology appears to have left Kiwis increasingly stressed, with two-thirds of us now complaining there are "not enough hours in the day". Three-quarters of Kiwis have smartphones and nearly a quarter of us watch an internet television service such as Netflix, according to Roy Morgan's "state of the nation" survey. 

The research firm found that even half of people aged over 65 now had smartphones. Three-quarters of us now own smartphones but we feel more time-poor, according to a Roy Morgan poll. But while 61 per cent of people said they "needed" their smartphones to juggle their work and personal lives, few of us are succeeding.

Roy Morgan chief executive Michele Levine said 67 per cent of the 12,000 Kiwis it surveyed over the past year said there were not enough hours in the day. That figure was up from 59 per cent in 2012.

PEOPLE FEELING OVERWHELMED

"People are constantly feeling like they have just got too much to do and being overwhelmed," Levine said. That was true at home and at work, with employees feeling totally swamped by email and the need to respond to things quickly. That was compounded by the fact there was "not a logical order" to the demands people found themselves facing.

Heavy internet users were more likely to feel time-stressed, suggesting there was a connection with technology, Levine said. "We are in the new world; we are not looking at it thinking it is about to happen."

Roy Morgan also monitored people's health through other surveys and had seen "people's stress and anxiety just going up to an extraordinary degree", she said. "We know it's related to unemployment, but these things are all coming together."

IMPACT OF INTERNET TV

The impact of internet television on people's lives could also be mixed, Levine believed. Netflix was being watched in 264,000 households, while Spark's Lightbox had 128,000 free or paying subscribers and Sky's Neon service 22,000 customers, Roy Morgan's research estimated. More than 900,000 Kiwis had at least one of the services in their home. Levine put the rapid uptake of internet television down to its ease of use.

"These things have just taken off like crazy. They have very quickly moved 'mainstream' because they are so easy to use and they are what people want."

But Levine also believed the amount of content that was now available "on demand" might be generating unhealthy habits as it broke up people's natural evening routines.

"As a result we run the risk of starting to do kind of 'nutty' things. We are starting to see more 'binge viewing'. We hear people talking about staying up for 24 hours watching every Downton Abbey. I think there will come a point when we actually realise 'on-demand' itself is exhausting."

Levine forecast that would lead people to look for more 'curated' media experiences, akin to that traditionally provided by daily newspapers. People still tended to watch both television news and game shows live, Levine said. That supported Mediaworks' decision to run a game show, Family Feud, ahead of its main 6pm news bulletin, she said. 

Roy Morgan conducted its survey by phoning people and then inviting them to participate in a web survey. Only about 4 per cent declined on the basis they did not have easy access to the internet, so that would not greatly bias its results, Levine said.

EAP Services offers seminars and workshops along with Individual one-on-one counselling. We have a team of specialists available to assist with specific areas of stress concerns. For further information please contact EAP Services on  0800 327 669