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Sep 28

Should employees be expected to work outside of work hours?

The days of the 9-5 clock in and out are becoming increasingly out-dated. Thanks to the introduction of technology such as e-mail and social media, it’s more difficult than ever to switch off from work when you can contact a client, and vice-versa, through your phone whether you’re at home, the gym, or even on holiday. The Independent reported that 40% of people check work emails five times a day outside office hours.

On one hand, it is important to have a healthy work-life balance. Emailing outside of work disrupts this by bringing work home with you, risking you feeling stressed and run-down if you are not getting proper breaks from your workload. On the other hand, many employers and company’s now expect employees to ‘go the extra mile’ if they are to succeed in their careers, and this expectation extends to working outside of office hours.

The UK law states that a majority of workers should not exceed a 48-hour working week, including overtime unless they opt otherwise. However, your employer cannot tell their employee that they have to do this. Many workers feel obliged to continue their work at home for fear of being seen as demotivated or lazy, and falling behind in their career progression.

There is no clear stance on this issue, as each company and individual employee is unique, with some industries requiring more out-of-office response time than others.

Ask yourself this; will it really make a significant difference if you don’t respond to your client’s email until when you are back in the office in the morning?

Are you getting the right amount of time you need to relax and refresh yourself outside of work?

Or, alternatively, does your role require you to show initiative and motivation through quick, around the clock, responses?

The bottom line is that there is no right or wrong way to work outside of hours; it is entirely dependent on the individual and their satisfaction with the workload.

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