Firms urged to tackle long-hours culture

Businesses were urged to tackle the long-hours culture at a masterclass on working time and productivity in London last week.

Businesses were urged to tackle the long-hours culture at a masterclass on working time and productivity in London last week.

The seminar, part of a series run by the Department of Trade & Industry in conjunction with the Confederation of British Industry, the TUC and the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC), heard presentations on working practices from BT and management consultancy Accenture.

Jenny Watson, deputy chairwoman at the EOC, said, “Many companies find they are more productive if they measure the work that gets done, not the hours their staff work.”

Ben Booth, chairman of the British Computer Society’s Elite directors’ group, said long hours in the IT industry needed to be tackled.

“Technology and IT is now very ingrained in business, and it has to work, all the time. Some businesses have not woken up to the need to have systems and staff in place for 24-hour cover,” he said. “Also, people in the industry are very committed to the service. If something goes wrong, they stay all night to put it right.”

Booth said firms would put systems and staff in place to avoid the need for long working hours as the industry matured. “It is coming, but it is not there yet,” he said.

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