Some 59% of working mums say they work over their contracted hours, with almost a third regularly working more than five hours above their contracted hours a week, according to a poll by workingmums.co.uk.
Some 34% work their contracted hours, but 31% regularly work more than five hours a week over their contracted hours every week. Some 10% regularly work up to five hours a week over their contracted hours and 18% occasionally work more than their contracted hours. Some 8% do not have set hours.
The poll comes amid growing concern of the impact of workload on employees. A US survey by Kronos Inc. and Future Workplace found the always on nature of workplaces today was creating retention problems for HR, reducing engagement, increasing absenteeism and affecting productivity.
“Employee burnout has reached epidemic proportions,” said Charlie DeWitt, vice president for business development at Kronos. He added that employers were failing to proactively tackle burnout.
In addition to the always-on tendency, staff face the pressure to constantly keep up with ever-changing technology.
The survey called for greater investment in the kind of technology that aims to ease workloads, such as tools that reduce manual or administrative work.
Sarah Tottle, a business psychologist at Lancaster University, says employers need to manage workplace stress better. In a recent article in The Conversation she says: “The annual cost of burnout to the global economy has been estimated to be £255 billion. Such costs have led to the World Health Organisation predicting a global pandemic within a decade.
“Organisations have focused on burnout to protect their profits, placing blame for lowered performance on individual employees, rather than making adequate adjustments to safeguard against stress. This emphasis on the employee has led to psychometrically profiling those that may be at risk of burnout due to their psychological make-up, rather than organisations taking responsibility and making systematic changes to reduce stress caused by structural level problems.”
A growing number of progressive employers are leading initiatives to tackle mental health issues, including workplace stress.
They include WH Smith which recently launched an initiative to train volunteer mental health first aiders to spot the symptoms of mental health problems; and M & G which held the first meeting of its mental health network Mind Matters in January.