Technology causing longer working hours

Peter Thomson's picture

An interesting report has just been issued by the Institute of Leadership and Management in the UK based on a survey of 1300 managers. It concluded that the majority of UK bosses are working longer hours, have higher workloads and are more stressed compared with ten years ago.

Nearly half (49%) of respondents have seen an increase in remote working in the past decade but nearly two-fifths (39%) of managers now travel a lot more for business within the UK compared to 10 years ago, with only 26% travelling less. So technology has not delivered the reductions in travel that were promised.

The results show that nearly half (46%) are working longer hours compared to ten years ago. Just over half (51%) feel more stressed at work and younger managers under 35 are the most stressed, with three-fifths (71%) reporting an increase in stress over the last ten years as they have progressed up the career ladder. Two-thirds (67%) reported higher workloads today than ten years ago, and two-fifths (39%) felt their work life balance was worse now. As a result, a third (32%) stated they were less happy at work.

All this evidence points to the fact that technology has simply been overlaid on conventional working patterns and not used to make fundamental changes in the way we work. It reinforces our argument in 'Future Work' that we are ready for a revolution in working practices and that current flexible working schemes are just cosmetic changes to outdated modes of working.

The ILM report concludes: "For all the potential benefits of modern technology, we can see that the workplace has become much more challenging for managers. Far from revolutionising working practices, we can see today’s managers are actually working longer and travelling further than they did 10 years ago. Mobile technology brings with it a pressure to respond quickly and a temptation to work additional hours which is eroding work/life balance and increasing stress. There is a clear opportunity for managers and employers to leverage established technologies to enable smarter working – but from the evidence of this research at least, it appears we still have some way to go." We couldn't agree more!




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