Culture of long hours puts staff at risk

A long working - hours culture at small and medium - sized firms could put staff at increased risk of ill health and 'burnout'

Research by insurer AXA PPP found that nearly half of those surveyed regularly worked four of more hours overtime a week, with nearly a third putting in seven or more extra hours.  for more than half of those who worked overtime, the extra hours were unpaid.

A fifth of respondents took less than 30 minutes for lunch and 12 percent did not have a lunch break at all.

 

The research also found that more than a quarter of employees at SME's had cancelled time with friends and family in the past three months, as a result of working overtime.

Nearly a fiftn had missed a childs event such as a parents' evening or school play, in the past three months and for those with younger children, more than half had continued to work after putting them to bed.

Nearly three - quarters of respondents who had been diagnosed with a mental health condition, such as stress, anxiety or depression, said they would not feel comfortable speaking to people at work about it, while 42 per cent of suffers said their employer had failed to give them adequate support to deal with their condition.

SME director Glen Parkinson, of AXA PPP, says:  'Our study shows that owners and bosses may be putting themselves and their employees at increased risk of burnout and ill health though protracted overwork.

A focus on wellbeing can help smaller and medium-sized firms to thrive.  Owners should prioritise their own health and that of their employees as much as they prioritise their pursuit of commercial success.'

By VICKI OWEN, FINANCIAL MAIL ON SUNDAY