English title: Are we working harder than ever?
Author(s): Mark Beatson -
Type: Report, working paper
This fourth publication in the Megatrends series asks whether we are working harder than ever. Employees seem to think they are. This is not because they are working longer hours. Rather it seems to be a sense of work becoming a more intense experience with greater workloads and pressures to meet deadlines, customer demands and performance targets. Our analysis suggests that the recession has played a part in increasing work intensity with greater job insecurity creating extra pressures for some employees. However, longer term forces are also at work. Technological change and the expectations of customers and service users have made work more demanding. How people are managed makes a huge difference. Where jobs are poorly designed, give employees little control over their work and offer little or no support for employees, the feeling of pressure can result in poor work performance, discontent and, in some cases, poor health. In contrast, the right combination of management practices, line management behaviour and organisational culture can unleash the enthusiasm, energy and creativity of committed employees. Our purpose at CIPD is to champion better work and working lives. We all need to recognise that the increases in productivity that we rely on to improve our standard of living arise in part because technology finds ways of making us work harder as well as smarter. The challenge to employees, employers and policy makers is to manage this in a way that enhances, rather than diminishes, our lives in and out of work.
Number of pages: 39