Guest Blog by Felicity Sheilds of TotallyMoney
TotallyMoney’s recent survey of 2,000 British workers found that, on average, we are putting in 8.4 hours of overtime each week, adding up to a whopping 68 days of unpaid work each year. This is the equivalent of each of us working from 25 October for free!
Furthermore, almost 65% of people surveyed weren’t paid for overtime worked and in this the staff at TotallyMoney are no exception. As a start-up without a timesheet or TOIL culture, it would be impossible for us to pay people for every minute of overtime worked. So how can we as employers make sure that staff don’t feel they are being short-changed?
Whilst a recent survey by Viking found 67% of respondents worked through their lunch break, our survey suggests the figure could be even higher, with four out of five workers reporting they work through their lunch break every day! Instead, at TotallyMoney, we try to encourage staff to take the full hour and get away from their desks: by providing a large communal kitchen where people can eat lunch together and laying on activities like badminton and football every week. While these activities may well take employees over the contracted lunch hour, the associated benefits to staff wellbeing and productivity are invaluable, as well as helping us send a message to staff that while they may not count every minute of overtime, we don’t clock-watch either.
That Friday feeling
In a company of this size, while we can do our best to make sure staff aren’t often asked to work late, invariably situations will arise which might require our team to stay later than planned: to diagnose an issue, or to set it right. However, we’d like to think this is off-set by the additional hour and a half staff win back every Friday when we down tools at 4.30pm to build epic company Spotify playlists, play table tennis or Tekken 7, and catch up over a few beers.
We have also defined our core hours in order to allow staff a bit of wriggle-room to take responsibility for their working day, so that early birds can start at 8.00am if they wish while night owls can start later and leave later. However, we know there is still more to do and we are always trying to improve our flexible working provisions, so that staff feel that the balance is there.
Getting the balance right
And balance would seem to be the key to providing a culture in which staff don’t feel short-changed by their working hours. Almost 60% of people surveyed for the Overtime Calculator responded that they don’t currently have a good work/ life balance, a worrying figure given that the recent WHO report has acknowledged inflexible working hours can be a key risk-factor in work-related mental health issues.
So while you may be tempted to calculate how much your overtime is worth, the monetary impact of overtime can potentially go way beyond what is failing to go in to the average worker’s pocket. The estimated cost to the global economy of depression and anxiety in the workplace is $1 trillion in lost productivity (WHO 2017 report, above), so it is fair to say that businesses will be paying eventually if we fail to find the right balance.
About the Author:
Felicity Shields is HR Manager at TotallyMoney, a private equity backed fintech startup in East London’s Tech City. TotallyMoney helps thousands of people take control of their finances, protect their credit rating and unlock their best credit match options, every day. Felicity has a PhD from UCL and a background in delivering outreach in museums and engaging new audiences; skills she now enjoys using to promote employee engagement and staff well-being, with the aim of creating a fantastic workplace culture.