A recent report produced by the Chartered Institute of Managers (CIM) has revealed that managers are working an extra 44 days per year above their contracted hours. This is leading us towards a concerning management crisis.
In days where it is the normal expectation to never be “off duty” managers have a tendency to work unpaid overtime, and with continued advances in technological ways of communicating, there is an increasing culture of always being available. The report highlights that 59 per cent of managers admitted they check their emails outside working hours. The increased presenteeism combined with technology is having a detrimental impact upon managers’ health and wellbeing.
In short; the way we are working now, is simply not working at all.
As the CIM report demonstrates; being available at all hours and working around the clock comes at a price; it doesn’t increase productivity, it actually has the opposite effect. and this is actually costing the economy billions. Mental Health charity Mind has stated that a poor work-life balance can lead to poor mental heath in the workplace which is costing the economy approximately £100 billion per year.
Long working hours combined with constant “always available” expectation is significantly impacting on work life balance, leading to increased stress levels amongst managers. Therefore improving the working culture should be a high priority for organisations to combat the UK-wide productivity problem.
One in 10 of the 1,037 managers surveyed took time off work for mental health issues in the past year. They worked an average of 44 days beyond their contracted hours each year which equates to 7.5 hours of unpaid overtime each week, 5 per cent more than the survey conducted three years ago.
There are companies out there that are going against the grain and encouraging a shorter working week; by doing this they are reaping the benefits of increased productivity.
Pursuit Marketing, based in Glasgow are a great example of how this shorter working week can have a positive impact. In an interview with the BBC they advised that their 100 employees have worked a four-day week ever since a successful trial took place in 2016.
They have also said this is reflective in their productivity levels, stating an increase by approximately 38%; in turn, this has increased their turnover which has risen from £2.2m to £5m.
There is a distinct cultural impact too; it is well know that a happy workforce is a productive one, this drives better performance and has a positive effect upon the company’s results.
Other positives that may convince organisations to encourage managers to “switch off” could be the increased retention of talented employees which will reduce the costs of recruitment.
The major challenge for a better work-life balance lays within mind sets; organisations are less willing to change their working practices, the age old “that’s the way it’s always been done”. Others may not want to rock the apple cart in this time of uncertainty and with Brexit on the horizon, they’re more inclined to maintain the status quo through fear of job security. There are also challenges faced in certain industries that work 24/7 such as airport and transport operations, so this may not work in every scenario, but even despite these challenges I think it is within business’ interests to at least give it a try.
What measures does your business take to ensure a healthy work-life balance? Do you have any suggestions on how you think this may work better? What challenges would your business face? Feel free to share your comments and suggestions below.