This Is How Much Overtime You’re Actually Doing – And It’s Shocking

We need to make a change now.

So you’re meant to leave your desk and go home every day at 5.30, but things always end up happening – that meeting goes on an extra half hour, you forgot to finish that important spreadsheet for your manager or a client calls just when you’re packing up and you have to explain something time-sensitive to them that can’t wait till tomorrow.

It seems to happen more and more – and you’re probably just writing it off as necessary time. Either you really can’t finish your work in the allotted time, or you’re happy your boss will see how keen you are by working late every day.

However, new figures from the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) show that the amount of overtime we’re working is truly shocking.

In fact, the excess hours we work actually add up to cancel out – or even exceed – our annual holiday entitlement.


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The Quality of Working Life study surveyed 1,574 managers and found that the majority – 77% – work at least one hour extra each day, adding up to 29 extra days over the course of the year.

With most people in the country receiving an average holiday entitlement of 28 days, that means that all those extra ‘I’m leaving in a minute’ hours in the office actually cancels out – and even exceeds – your annual leave.

The study also found that up to 10% of people put in more than three extra hours a day, which is the equivalent of working a 15-month year.

While it’s great that we can log in to mobile technology from anywhere in the world, this was found to be a major cause of the problem, with 61% of managers blaming technology for their inability to switch off, reporting that they constantly check emails.

Those suffering from this ‘always on’ phenomenon also reported higher levels of stress – but lower personal productivity levels.


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39% even said that they would like the company they work for to restrict out-of-hours access to email systems, to allow employees to escape the pressures of work and switch off.

‘Most of us are comfortable with the idea that a modern workplace requires us to occasionally pitch in out of hours,’ said Ann Francke, CEO of CMI.

‘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.’

So next time you’re sitting at your desk doing something that really could wait till tomorrow – just think about it. You’re eating into your summer beach time. Go home, get into your PJs and watch some Netflix. It’ll be OK. Really.

Do you regularly work overtime? Let us know @marieclaireuk

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