Excess hours worked cancel out holiday entitlement

According to the latest Quality of Working Life study from the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), Managers are working longer than ever and suffering rising levels of stress.

Based on the survey of 1,574 individuals, the results found that 77% of managers work at least 1 hour extra per day, adding up to a total of 29 extra working days per year and therefore cancelling out the average holiday entitlement of 28 days. The results also concluded that 10% worked at least an extra 3 hours per day, this is equivalent to working a 15 month year.

It has become the culture amongst business whereby management are expected to work hours over and beyond that which they are expected. To some extent small doses of stress can help raise motivation and meet deadlines in the short term, however over prolonged periods it can be extremely damaging. Striking the right balance is crucial as well as finding support within the company, managers who lack the professional skills to deal with causes of burnout and stress are a threat to not only their own but also other colleagues health.

CMI’s report, carried out with Sir Professor Cary Cooper and Professor Les Worrall, has catalogued the changing face of working life in the UK since 1977. The findings revealed that the proportion of managers working over their contracted hours has risen steadily since the recession, reaching 92% in 2015.

The report also highlighted mobile technology as another factor in the rise of stress levels. 61% of the people that took part in the study stated that the technology made it hard to switch off from work, with half of them admitting that they frequently check their emails outside of normal working hours. Those struggling to switch off report lower personal productivity levels and experience more stress.

One of the less surprising findings to come from the study was that those working long hours are more than three times as likely to report they feel stressed, compared to those working no additional hours. 54% of managers agree that long working hours are leading to elevated levels of stress.

The report shows that working long hours eats into the time available to relax, exercise and socialise, therefore preventing managers from being able to unwind. Managers surveyed for the study reported a link between working longer hours and suffering from increased headaches, irritability and insomnia, early symptoms of mental health problems and potential burn out.

These findings can only cement the fact that effective management is a key factor in handling stress in the work place. Poor management styles can generate up to four times more stress than the best with 28 per cent of those studied that reported that their line managers are “secretive” or “suspicious” also admitted to feeling stressed, compared to just 7 per cent of those who believe their managers empower them to take their own decisions.

Stress is a natural reaction to challenging conditions, striking the right balance of stress in the work place is crucial, requiring managers to act equitably and with empathy.

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