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How many hours a week do you work? Be honest; don’t forget all those little extras such as ‘just’ checking emails over breakfast or flicking through that report before you go to bed. If the answer is more than you thought, or if you find you are putting in more hours than you really want to then you are not alone. In fact, in many business sectors the promise of a good work/life balance with enough leisure hours to enable you to recharge your batteries just isn’t translating into reality.
For example, a report at the beginning of this year revealed that law firm partners are working 263 more hours each year than they were even two years ago. Now a CABA (Chartered Accountants Benevolent Association) survey has revealed that 46% of chartered accountants work more than 40 hours a week, with 22% working 47 hours a week or longer. And even they aren’t alone, as ONS statistics suggest that more than 6 million people in Britain work in excess of 45 hour weeks.
It doesn’t matter that study after study indicate that long hours can equate to poor decision-making, stress, burnout and health problems in later life. It doesn’t even matter that other studies have shown how cutting down on hours can actually increase productivity. We can have all the studies and statistics and surveys that we like but if organisation’s culture includes an expectation of working long hours then the pressure to conform is intense.
How many hours a week do you work? More importantly, how many hours a week do your people work, and do they do so in response to a business culture which is less than ideal?