Many of my clients seem, through no fault of their own, to work in a culture of “busy-ness” where there is high pressure to work long hours. The TUC estimates that nearly 20% of UK employees do 48-hour weeks with around 1.5 million notching up 55 hours a week. Since most contracts are for 37 ½ hours…. and most aren’t paid overtime …… think about it! Also, just because you’re present in your work place does not necessarily mean you or your team are being effective.
Everyone would agree that staff commitment means working extra hours when the need arises, to finish an important project or meet deadlines. But it falls to good managers to make sure that this practice doesn’t become the norm, to thank the employees for their extra time and effort and to ensure that they take the relevant ‘time off in lieu’ (TOIL). However, despite working endless hours’ overtime, some of my clients “daren’t” leave the office at the end of their working day because of the claustrophobic atmosphere and numerous pairs of eyes following them out that seem to be criticising their time-keeping.
This of course encourages a vicious circle of long hours leading to tiredness and frustration, has a detrimental effect on the working environment and is bad for the organisation. The problems are often intensified if the boss is a workaholic. The end result can be absenteeism, difficulties in recruiting and retaining staff, a poor company image and low morale all round. This piles on the stress of holding down a job and trying to balance home and working lives, so people might be tempted by the self-employed route. Truth to tell, self-employeds have to be their own managers, and many are pretty poor at managing their own time. Even if they’re good at being focused and strict with themselves, they are ironically quite poor at recognising that TOIL is also vital for them, their health, family life and their businesses.
At CLE Consulting & Training we help companies and individuals analyse their work stressors, time management and work-life balance to achieve vastly improved satisfaction and free up productive time for work and play!
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