Working 9 ‘til 5… or 6, 7, 8? – Your discussion on overtime

June 14, 2012, 2:32 PM GMT+0

Ever work longer hours than your contract stipulates?

In an interview with the Sunday Telegraph last month, the Foreign Secretary, William Hague remarked that for the UK, there was “only one growth strategy: work hard”.

Those of you who took part in our Labs discussion on overtime certainly thought they were doing just that, however.

We wanted to know how you felt about working longer hours all-in-all; whether you were usually paid for any extra hours you put in or not; whether you minded.

Unsurprisingly, most of you who discussed overtime in Labs, work overtime – and usually unpaid

As you can see below, it was the managers and teachers who took part in our discussion on overtime who said they regularly put in the extra hours.

  • Those participants who went unpaid for their overtime explained how they often felt the extra work was expected of them.
  • Others explained that they needed to work longer in order to finish certain projects, whilst others said they accepted it as they knew what they were signing up for with the job!
  • Participants who were paid for their overtime were slightly more accepting of the extra work, adding that is can be a nice way to raise cash for that special purchase. However, many participants also said that it can make them feel used and stressed.
  • Finally, participants who don’t work overtime thought about why others might. Pressure from companies and managers was a common explanation, as was the need to earn a little extra money.

How do you feel about working overtime?

Is it something you regularly, often, or never do? And why?

What kind of occupations were held by those who said they regularly put in extra hours at work?

See the Wordle below:

We asked participants who DID work overtime how they felt about putting in the extra hours.

You can see their reasoning and remarks below – either as a fact of working that they accept, or begrudge.

‘YES, I do UNPAID overtime’

Why? Sometimes, it’s necessary

“I have been recently promoted and feel I need to show my worth and ensure that tasks are completedAnon

“It's what I need to do to progress with the company” Anon

“The nature of my job means that you have to give and take a little” Debz, Newcastle

It's a pain but you have to do itAnon

“It does get overwhelming some weeks. However, I have only myself to blame usually!” Andrew, Surrey

“I have to do it to get work done – I wouldn't be able to keep up if I didn'tAnon

“Almost a necessity to prove your worth when competition for jobs is at its highest. I personally don't like it, but needs must” Elston, Derby

“If you are self-employed the work comes first regardless of timeKeith S, Kent

“I'm okay with working outside set hours as the work still needs doing and sometimes it is urgentPhil

Why? It is expected of me

“Sometimes it upsets me when the management take it for granted that the staff would stay back without getting paid overtime” George, Scotland

“I would like to be paid for the time I actually work as the company expect a lot from their staff but don't seem to be flexible in return” Anon

“I resent the unspoken expectation that I will put in whatever hours are required to complete work” Anon

“I am on an annualised hours contract and I am expected to work outside my set hours, this is becoming more and more normal. I also work part-time and am often expected to work on my non-working daysAnon

“It’s become the norm. If you don't do it you feel that you are letting your team or colleagues down or your managers/bosses make you feel like you are letting them down” Anon

“I'm a professional, paid a professional salary, and so expect to work more than my set hoursAnon

“There are occasions when I'm also expected to turn up to evening functions after a long week when all I want to do is put my feet up, and I'm beginning to resent that” Anon

It creates a lot of stress

“It makes me resentful and stressed. It is due to lack of resources that I have to work outside of hours. I could do with at least one more member in my team” Elizabeth, Birmingham

“It means I have less time to myself and time for a social life. Working extra hours is unpaid so I don’t feel in any way rewarded for itPeter, County Antrim

I resent it hugely. In the interest of patient care, I am always willing to work extra but the NHS takes the mickey by expecting its staff to work outside of their hours for nothing” Anon

I get frustrated but you can't just walk out on people and switch off” Anon, Scotland

“We never get paid any extra for this, or get the time back, not even a thank you”

“If I have too much work I can't tell my boss as it will be seen as my weakness. It is demotivating and means that I will not be staying long in this postAnon

“The business was deliberately turning a blind eye to my needs and saving money on extra overtime payment or in extra staff (two replaced me!)” Anon

“It makes me very resentful – especially when I read and hear people moaning about the public sector and how useless and overpaid we are” Anon

It is an acceptable part of my job

“Part of the job – but I am also comparatively well paid. It would be wrong to expect low paid workers to do thisRow, Staffordshire

“No problem as long as it's appreciated and not expectedMike U, SW London

“I accept working over my normal contracted hours as a part of my commitment to my employer” Geoff B, Croydon

“I take a real pride in my job and helping to provide the right equipment for staff. I work for a charity and I feel working some extra hours helps save the charity money” Mary M, High Wycombe

“I never thought of it as a problem. It’s the way it was, and no harm either. Too many folk nowadays are all take and no giveAH, West Yorkshire

“I feel I am paid a salary to do a job and if I need to work overtime that is up to meAnon

“I don't mind as it ensures I get more done, which reflects well on meAnon

“The nature of my job leads to fluctuation in the work load, so working outside set hours is a givenJC, Bishopbriggs

YES, I do PAID overtime

Why? It helps to pay for extra things...

“It’s good for the extra moneyAnon

“We have not had pay rises for several years the extra money is a necessity rather than an optionAnon

“It’s a good way of boosting finances to pay for something specialAnon

“I find it can be useful to fund the little extras in life, but do not need it to run my finances as I can easily manage on my basic salary” Dave L, Lincoln

“Don’t like doing it, but in the present economic climate it is a necessityAnon

Why? It is part of the job

“It is a necessary part of the job and goes with the territory. I would be unable to do my job efficiently if I did not accept the overtime. However, I am adequately paid for overtime and without any hassleA, North Yorkshire

“It is part of my job as I have to visit places that only open late. It is tiring and hard work but is expected of me and something I knew I would have to do when I took the job on” Sarah, North Lancaster

“I feel that in my industry it as an accepted part of the job, and the money I get is adequate for the time I work” Les W, Leeds

It makes my life difficult

“Although I know it is necessary because of the work I do, I would like to think that the burden could be shared by the whole work force in the office” Anon

“It is ruining my family as I am constantly at work or on call at all hours also. I am expected to do many shifts consecutively and usually without any noticeAnon

“I don't mind doing a reasonable amount of overtime, but due to staff shortages, the requests to work overtime are increasing considerablyDave R, Peterborough

“When I first entered the profession it was voluntarily. It is now expected of you to work well over 37 hours a week with an ever increasing work load. At the best it provides me with a bit of extra cash; at the worst times it totally ruins my lifeC, Lattimore

Q: Why might people work overtime?

We asked participants who didn’t work overtime why they thought other people might.

Common jobs for participants who didn’t work overtime included: civil servant, assistant, administrator, manager – and one sushi chef!

What participants said…

“They have been allocated too much work and feel pressured into finishing it” Anon

“To meet deadlinesAnon

“The culture in the organisation makes people feel they have no option if they want to stay in their job or get promoted” Eileen G, Birmingham

Too much work and not enough staffAnon

“Attending too many needless, pointless meetingsAnon

“For extra pay – the need to please their bosses may also be a factor” Steph, Wales

“’The culture of presenteeism’: having to be seen in the workplace to gain any credibility/advancement in the organisation” Mike H, Oxford

“To earn extra money to keep up with financial commitments, and in many cases, they may be under duress from management to fulfil targets or deadlinesAnon

“Some employers overload their existing workforce rather than employ the necessary number of people; however, there are occasions (emergencies, unexpected orders etc.) when overtime might be necessaryJenny P, London

How do you feel about working overtime?

Is it something you do regularly, often, or never? And why?

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