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Employees Spend 29 Days Per Year Working Additional Hours On Average, Which Cancels Out Annual Leave

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If you’re in the habit of clearing your emails outside of office hours you could be effectively cancelling out your annual leave.

A new survey has found that the majority of managers (77%) work for at least an additional hour each day.

Over the course of the year, this adds up to a whopping 29 days. The average holiday entitlement for UK employees is just 28 days per year.

Although the report, carried out by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), focusses on employees in managerial positions, its findings also offer an insight into the potential over-working of the overall British workforce.

While the report found that the majority of managers worked for an hour outside of their contracted hours per day, the researchers also discovered that 10% put in more than three extra hours each day, the equivalent of working a 15-month year.

Unsurprisingly, the researchers noted that working extra hours was likely to have a negative impact on employees’ health.

Those surveyed for the study reported a link between working longer hours and suffering from increased headaches, irritability and insomnia, early symptoms of mental health issues and potential burn out.

Those working additional hours regularly were found to be more than three times as likely to report feeling stressed than those working no additional hours.

More than half (54%) of the participants surveyed agreed that long working hours were leading to them experiencing elevated levels of stress.

A total of 61% of managers blamed technology for their increased hours as they find it difficult to switch off, with one in five managers reporting that they are ‘always on’ and check emails all the time.

Ann Francke, CEO of CMI, commented: “There’s nothing wrong with hard graft, but only if you’re well supported.

“Managers who lack the professional skills to deal with the causes of burnout are a threat to their health and others’ at work. Productivity will also continue to suffer unless employers train their managers to prevent overwork and strike the necessary work/life balance.

“Most of us are comfortable with the idea that a modern workplace requires us to occasionally pitch in out of hours. But the ‘always on’ culture must be switched off, with line managers encouraged to support an ‘always willing’ mindset that reflects the give and take necessary for a higher quality of working life.”

Sir Cary Cooper, professor of organisational psychology and health at Manchester Business School said the results show that “businesses should be on alert for signs of burnout”.

“Stress is a natural reaction to challenging conditions, and while it can raise motivation and help individuals meet deadlines in the short-term over longer periods is extremely damaging,” he commented.

“Festering resentment at our long-hours culture risks boiling over and hurting UK productivity. Striking the right balance is crucial, requiring managers to act equitably and with empathy.”

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