Breaking the Long Hours Culture

Kodz J, Kersley B, Strebler M T, O'Regan S | Report 352 | Institute for Employment Studies | Nov 1998

A high proportion of UK employees work more than ten hours over and above their contracted hours. This is not an occasional effort to cope with emergencies or peak periods, but rather a regular event.

The European Community's Working Time Directive has focused our attention on the matter of long hours. The fundamental business issue is not how best to circumvent the directive. Rather, it is to understand the causes of long hours, note their consequences, and devise policies to ameliorate them.

At heart, long hours working is a cultural attitude and the example is often set by senior management.This timely report, supported by the IES Research Club of leading UK employers, includes case studies from five major organisations.