Employers must challenge long hours culture

UK
employees work the longest hours in Europe and half of them have no flexible
working arrangements in place, according to the TUC and Industrial Society.

The
report, called Changing Times, criticises the work culture of “presenteeism”
and urges UK employers to offer staff flexible alternatives that allow for
work-life balance.

The
UK’s labour market is among the least regulated in Europe and staff work an
average of 43.6 hours-per-week, nearly four hours more than their European
counterparts, claims the report.

“Although
we live in an age where high quality goods and services are demanded outside of
what we once considered to be normally working hours, employers will not be
able to deliver successfully on these unless they involve their staff in the
process of change,” said TUC general secretary John Monks.

“Too
many employees are expecting to work long hours and inflexibly for no return.”

Will
Hutton, chief executive of the Industrial Society, believes that flexible
working practices improve productivity.

He
said, “Balancing work and life is critical to 
better workplace performance and productivity. Traditionally UK
employers have found it difficult to reconcile flexible working with the
embedded culture of presenteeism. The irony is that this inflexible approach to
work life balance decreases employee motivation and results.”

By Paul Nelson

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