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75% of employees feel obligated to work over their contracted hours, reveals Morgan McKinley

Research by Morgan McKinley has revealed that UK employees are going the extra mile with the vast majority (81%) of employees working beyond their contracted hours. Those that worked in high level positions were most likely to work more than ten hours over their contracted hours (42%) compared to 21% of entry level respondents.


The Morgan McKinley Working Hours survey of 2,600 professionals in sectors such as banking and finance, found that 75% of employees felt obligated to work beyond their contracted hours, yet businesses are not rewarding these staff, with only 13% stating that they are compensated for working extra hours.


The figures revealed that only 32% of professionals believe that they are productive during the extra hours that they work. A third (34%) don't take their lunch break at all, with millennials (21%) being the largest group to have a working day without their lunch break. When they do finally leave the office, three in four are sometimes/always working from a mobile device after they leave the office - 46% of C-level professionals work out from their mobile, however, only 9% of entry level do this.


David Leithead, UK chief operations officer at Morgan McKinley, said, “Many people work more hours than they are paid for, often because they feel obligated to, rather than because of a belief that it’s a productive exercise.


“Businesses are facing an alarming burnout and need to evolve work practices. During the day, many employees don’t take any kind of lunch break. Then three quarters of them feel obligated to work beyond their contracted hours, yet they don't feel that is productive. And when they do finally leave the office, they are always on-call. If not managed carefully, these factors can cause employee stress and burnout, and poor business performance.”


Many businesses have a widening gap between modern business philosophy around smart working, and the reality of old fashioned noses to the grindstone. Over half of respondents said that they believe more flexibility would add to their productivity, showing the demand for flexible work arrangements. Although more employees do have the option to work from home and flexible start/finish times, the findings suggest a culture of flexible working is not yet embedded. The majority indicated flexible and remote working arrangements are offered on a discretionary basis or in extenuating circumstances rather than as part of an overall package.


Leithead added, “Employers may have good intentions but many have a long way to go in finding a solution, helping their employees to find the right balance and re-educating old school management to ensure that they attract and retain talent.


“Not least because the new millennial generation won't embrace this, they simply won't put up with it - which spells longer term problems that big companies can't afford to ignore.”


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