Senior managers put in an average of one day of unpaid overtime every week, shows CMI survey

One in ten managers have taken time off for mental health in the last year

Josie Co
Business Editor
Wednesday 17 January 2018 01:18
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Brexit has proved a particular source of stress for many managers
Brexit has proved a particular source of stress for many managers

Every week, the average boss works a day more than what he or she is paid to, a new survey by the Chartered Management Institute has revealed, providing further evidence that a culture of presenteeism is growing across the UK.

The CMI questioned over 1,000 managers and found that the average respondent worked 7.5 hours more than they were contracted to every week. That adds up to 43.8 days of overtime over the course of a year. A similar CMI survey conducted back in 2015 put annual overtime hours at 39.6 days.

The institute said that the rising gap between contracted and actual hours of work is made worse by the dominance of an "always on" digital culture across many industries, with 59 per cent of managers saying they “frequently” check their emails outside of work – an increase from the 54 per cent who admitted as much in 2015.

"The UK's long hours culture is detrimental to the wellbeing of managers, and it's bashing national productivity. The lean and mean structure of business means there are too few workers to deal with mounting workloads,” said Sir Cary Cooper, professor of organisational psychology and health at Manchester Business School.

“Long office hours combined with the always-on expectation to answer emails is eating into home life, leaving managers with little chance of respite and increasing stress levels. Improving the quality of working life for managers will be a major step forward to solving our productivity crisis,” he added.

The CMI survey also found that one in ten managers had taken time off for mental health in the last year. Those who did take time off work did so for an average of twelve days.

And the research also found that Brexit was increased stress for many managers. One in four of those questioned said that the UK’s vote to quit the EU had slashed their sense of job security. A total of 14 per cent said that they work more hours as a direct result of the Brexit vote.

“The impact of Brexit and the continuing political uncertainty is clearly contributing to managers’ workplace woes,” said Petra Wilton, director of strategy at the CMI.

“Not only are they facing longer working weeks and the ‘always-on’ culture that new technologies enable, but the uncertainties of Brexit are clearly starting to undermine their job security and sense of well-being,” she said.

“It’s hardly surprising that mental health problems and workplace stress is rising as a consequence.”

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