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'Superheroes don't work 90-hour weeks'

'Superheroes don't work 90-hour weeks'
From BBC - January 16, 2018

One in eight employees works more than 48 hours a week, analysis by the TUC, seen by the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme, suggests. But some companies are experimenting to see if it is possible to achieve a better work-life balance.

"Some of the superheroes of our time, they are the guys who say, 'I work 90 hours, 100 hours, 120 hours,'" says design company director Marei Wollersberger.

"People read those figures and they say, 'That's what's going to make me successful, I am going to do the same,'... but that's not true."

Staff at her company, Normally Design, in London, work a four-day week but are paid as if they were doing the traditional five days. The days remain eight-hours long.

She says it's key to the company's success - they can be just as profitable in fewer hours, as employees work more efficiently.

In fact, working outside of business hours is not seen as a positive - managers check if there is anything wrong if it happens.

Other companies have found it difficult to meet clients' needs after moving to Swedish-style six-hour days.

But Normally Design employee Basil Safwat says the shorter weeks do not mean cramming five days of work into four and he has had to work longer hours only a couple of times in two years at the company

"There's a social encouragement to make sure you use that fifth day for yourself and not to do work," he says.

"You are not going to get Brownie points for replying to emails on the fifth day."

Ms Wollersberger says: "We have seen people wait for their whole life for the big moment when they retire and then have the luxury to do all of the things you really want to do and fulfil your dreams.

"But we have seen in a few cases that never happens as you get ill or you are older by then.

"Maybe we can just flip that round. Maybe we can take that time and move it forward and give it back to ourselves and our employees."

Mental health

Office for National Statistics labour market data analysed by the TUC found 3,337,000 employees were now working more than 48 hours a week, a rise of 250,000 since 2001.

Retention rates

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