Insight & Analysis

Press release: Banking and financial services professionals consistently overworked despite high levels of flexible working

Published: Dec 2019

9th December 2019 – Banking and financial service professionals are having to work harder to pay the bills, with the vast majority (94%) working beyond their contracted hours on a weekly basis and almost half (47%) either not leaving the office or taking a break at lunchtime according to Morgan McKinley’s Working Hours and Flexibility reports.

Press release news paper

20% of professionals employed in the banking and financial services sector claim to work beyond their contracted hours by ten hours or more on a weekly basis in order to meet deadlines and cope with workloads. 31% of employees feel it is expected of them to work overtime, yet they are not rewarded, with only 8% stating they receive compensation for the extra hours.

62% of respondents outlined that they are available on mobile devices outside working hours, checking emails first thing in the morning, as well as staying online commuting home and in the evening. 56% of the UK banking workforce expect flexible working when looking for a new job. 71% are offered flexible working by their current employer, with 79% of that proportion making use of the opportunity.

David Leithead, Chief Operations Officer at Morgan McKinley UK, commented: “The way in which we all work has changed dramatically. Employees have increased access to flexible working but end up working a greater number of hours every week. It is becoming a widespread dilemma.”

David continued: “Employees often don’t take any kind of lunch break but feel obligated to work beyond their contracted hours. When they finally leave the office, they feel they should be available on mobile devices. This feeling of ‘not being able to down tools’ can negatively affect an employee’s wellbeing, causing mental burnout. The Labour Party believes introducing a four day working week could restore balance in our lives whilst maintaining productivity levels – our survey findings suggest professional workers would support such a policy. Unsurprisingly, business groups are skeptical. Whilst this may not be the best solution, it is crucial that employers recognise the issue of overworking and manage it appropriately.”

The survey showed that 75% of respondents believe flexible working has had a positive impact on their company’s performance and profitability, as well as highlighting how it is beneficial for the employees with improved staff wellbeing. These well recognised benefits to both business performance and employee wellbeing make it doubly important that companies manage the flexible proportion of their workforce effectively. When asked what they thought was the biggest downside to flexible working, a ‘less engaged workforce’ was the most frequent response (44%) and 41% felt chances of career progression are reduced if they work flexibly.

David Leithead added, “Businesses need to ensure they overcome the hurdle of engaging the remote proportion of their workforce and closely monitor whether they are working excessive hours. It’s vital to deploy tools for chat, video and virtual meetings, as well as regularly hosting team time so those flexible workers aren’t forgotten. Strategies have to be put in place that are aimed at both employees and their management in order to harness the benefits of flexible working patterns.”

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