It has been interesting to track responses to the possible removal of the opt-out clause in the Working Time Directive.
Seasoned HR professionals should be well used to working with legislation that is geared to preventing bad practice rather than promoting good.
I work in the construction industry, which is linked not only to the highest suicide rate, but also burnout issues linked to working long hours.
Tackling burnout purely from a working time perspective misses the point. Looking at how we can work together more intelligently and ensuring that individual well-being is on the agenda will help us move away from ‘presenteeism’ – or the belief that just because your jacket is still over your chair at 9pm, you work harder than anyone else.
In an increasingly competitive industry such as construction, working collaboratively with our people to meet (and exceed) client expectations will ensure the demands of our work don’t override our responsibility to protect the health, safety and welfare of the people we employ.
Isn’t it about time that HR professionals moved this debate in the right direction? Surely our role is to support our organisations in challenging the norm when it comes to working practices which effectively hamper the well-being of our staff? By supporting our managers and teams to change the way we work, maybe we will be able to rely on respectful relationships rather than the ‘stick’ of the opt-out clause enabling us to tell people to work long hours when we feel it’s necessary?
Head of HR
ISG Interior Exterior.