New BT Business* research has shown that overtime is becoming the norm for almost 50% of staff since the financial crisis began. More than a third of those Brits feel compelled to work over their contracted hours every week because of the current climate, with most working an average of 7 extra hours per week – the equivalent of an extra day – and collectively putting £200 million in extra hours into the British economy each week**.
The findings also show a clear gender split with men more likely to be putting in the extra hours, including 66% of men stating they are working over the recommended 48 hour week.
More than a third (37%) of the 4000 survey respondents put in extra hours to cope with growing workloads. Colleagues being made redundant (41%) and a renewed focus by companies on improving customer service (35%) were cited as the top two reasons for this. However, over 40% also cited that this situation was being exacerbated by time being wasted in the work place because staff are not equipped with the right tools to do the job.
“These findings reflect the length that employees are willing to go to, to keep Britain’s economy afloat”, said Bill Murphy, managing director, BT Business, “Employers should look to match these efforts by equipping staff with what they need to become more efficient. Financial incentives may not be an option, but companies should consider how working practices can eliminate wasted time and boost productivity. Using technology to support practices such as flexible working can help companies strip out the fat as well as helping their staff become more efficient with a better work life balance.”
The research also revealed a drastic change in the office atmosphere with 37% of workers stating there is less laughter in the workplace compared to over a year ago and greater pressure on staff to perform. 43% of respondents believe that the offer of flexitime would help to create a better working experience. Flexible working including the option to work from home and improved technology (33%) also equally factored highly in people’s aspirations on how they’d like their workplace to change.
Workers showed a clear willingness to go that extra mile to impress the boss. 43% of respondents admitted to being motivated to work harder to keep their jobs, with 60% feeling very lucky to have a job. 34% of those surveyed admitted to turning up earlier for work and a similar number (39%) admitted they are being more proactive and have generally pulled up their socks to keep in the bosses good books.
The research was launched at BT Business Experience, a free week-long event held recently in London. As well as leading entrepreneur Peter Jones, prominent business experts were on hand to offer one-to-one advice on key issues facing the SME (small and medium sized enterprise) community in these difficult times and how they may be able to use technology previously only available to large companies to help them succeed and thrive.
* Research conducted for BT Business in June 2009 and surveyed 4000 people.
* * Based on minimum wage of £5.73 per hour for workers aged 22 years and older. According to the Office of National Statistics there were 29,108,000 people employed (aged 16 and over February to April 2009
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