Managers at top-performing companies work only one hour a week longer than those at firms with poor financial results, according to a new study.
Unpublished research by strategy consultants McKinsey examined 135 manufacturing companies. The study uncovered a strong link between the quality of management methods and company performance.
But the study found there was no correlation between the number of hours worked by employees and whether their company had good financial results.
McKinsey analysts believe the best companies are working smarter not harder. Better financial returns are obtained by seeking out and deploying new ways of doing things, rather than squeezing more and more out of the frontline workforce, the research said.
UK staff work the longest hours in Europe, according to recent research carried out by office supply firm Esselte.
One in four works 50 hours a week and nearly 20% put in up to 59 hours, compared with 15% in Germany and France.