The TUC’s ‘bossagram’ e-mail campaign [in which workers were encouraged to send anonymous e-mails to their bosses pointing out how many hours of unpaid overtime they work] makes an important point on an important issue. However, I wonder whether raising the debate in an anonymous manner is the best way to tackle the problem (PersonnelToday.com, 21 February)?
One of the most important factors that will make acceptable working hours a reality is open and honest two-way communication. Managers need to be able to delegate in such a way that staff feel challenged, but not overwhelmed. Similarly, workers need to speak up if they are struggling to get through the work in normal hours.
In addition, a long-hours culture usually originates from over-ambitious objectives set by business leaders, which are then cascaded from management tier to management tier.
Many middle managers (who may be working long hours themselves) may not feel empowered to speak up. The TUC might suggest that these are the people who should be sending the e-mails. But again, unless such issues are raised in an appropriate manner, I fear the debate will focus on guessing who sent what to whom, rather than the problem.
Director of training