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Long hours and the ‘always on’ culture is leading to one in 10 managers taking an average of 12 days off sick a year due to stress, depression or another mental health issue, according to a survey by the Chartered Institute of Management.
It surveyed 1,037 managers and found the average boss puts in an extra 7.5 hours beyond their contracted weekly hours, equivalent to an extra day at work each week and up to an extra 43.8 days over the course of a year.
The CMI says 59% of managers now constantly check their emails outside of normal working hours. It calculates that sickness caused by stress could cost the UK economy as much as £3.3bn every year.
The CMI is calling on employers to do more in 2018 to manage the impact of rising hours and digital technology through giving employees more autonomy, encouraging staff to switch off, reduce unnecessary emails and set expectations about working hours, developing better line managers and prioritising wellbeing at work.
“Despite the jump in hours, we remain a lot less productive than our European counterparts in France and Germany, where they work shorter weeks,” says CMI director of strategy Petra Wilton. “Improving managers’ quality of working life should be every employer’s New Year’s resolution to boost productivity.
“This means encouraging managers to switch off, helping them to deal with the pressure and giving them the training and support they need to perform.”
The survey also reveals that the lead-up to Brexit is causing work-related headaches for a significant number of managers, with 25% reporting that it has decreased their sense of job security.
Similarly high numbers highlight a decrease in morale and overall psychological wellbeing (23% and 22% respectively), with 14% directly attributing a rise in working hours to Brexit and saying that it has reduced their motivation at work.