New research from the Institute of Leadership and Management has found that 47 per cent of SME managers are working an additional day’s worth of overtime each week, with 13 per cent working an additional 15 hours.
Their report revealed that almost two-thirds (65 per cent) of managers feel under pressure to work extra hours and 94 per cent work over and above their contracted hours each week.
Charles Elvin, chief executive of the Institute of Leadership and Management, said: “When you add up all the skipped lunch breaks, early morning conference calls and after hours emails you see just how widespread the extra hours culture is within UK business.”
Some of the key factors encouraging managers to work overtime included managing workloads (53 per cent), catching up with emails (78 per cent) and reading documents (32 per cent).
“Of course, all organisations face busy periods when employees will feel motivated to work above and beyond their contractual hours,” added Mr Elvin.
“But excessive hours are not sustainable – there are only so many times you can burn the midnight oil before your performance, decision making and wellbeing begin to suffer.”
One cause of these excessive hours would appear to be the influx of smartphones. Almost two-thirds (60 per cent) of SME managers use their personal phone for work-related issues, while 86 per cent regularly check their emails on evenings and weekends.
“Smartphones are a fantastic enabler of flexible working, but we see here that they can also lead to some rather unhealthy behaviours, such as the obsessive checking and sending of out-of-hours emails,” Elvin continued.
“We all know how stressful it can be to receive an urgent late night email when you feel compelled to respond immediately. Organisations can help address this with some clear guidelines on email etiquette, including when best to send and reply to important messages.”
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