MAXIS GBN

79% of office-based employees work on average 20.4 hours beyond those specified in their contracts each month

'Desk time' culture new norm for office workers

London, 19 February 2019 Across the globe companies are increasingly operating with a ‘desk time’ culture where employees feel they need to be seen at their desk working significantly beyond their contracted hours, new research1 from MAXIS Global Benefits Network (MAXIS GBN) reveals.

Researchers found that 79% of office-based employees across international markets including the United Kingdom, United States, Russia and United Arab Emirates (UAE), work on average 20.4 hours (almost three full working days) beyond their contracted hours each month because they have a company culture where they feel they should be seen at their desk.

Across the international markets analysed, Mexico (87%) had the highest number of office employees working in an environment where they were expected to be seen at their desks, followed by India and South Africa. While the UK didn’t rank as highly, more than three quarters (79%) of employees still say they work in a ‘desk time’ office environment.

When it comes to additional time logged per employee, those in the UAE are putting in the most additional hours each month with 24. Workers in Hong Kong and the United States are also racking up the additional facetime hours with colleagues, averaging over 23 hours each month.     

 

Table one:  Prevalence and impact of a desk time culture

Country

Percentage of employees that work in an office environment with a desk time culture

Average number of hours worked each month beyond those contracted as a result of this culture

Mexico

87%

16

India

83%

21.2

South Africa

83%

14.8

Russia

82%

21.2

France

80%

22.4

United Kingdom

79%

17.2

Brazil

78%

18

Hong Kong

76%

23.2

United States

74%

23.2

UAE

71%

24

 

Source:  MAXIS GBN

 

While a ‘desk time’ culture may be seen as boosting productivity, the research indicates this could be an illusion and actually cost companies money as a result of increased illness and absenteeism. When asked what the main impact of a ‘desk time’ culture is in their organisation, more than a quarter (29%) of employees working in these environments say they simply spread out their workload to fill the extra time they are expected to be seen at their desk, generating no increase in productivity. A fifth (20%) of those expected to be seen at their desk say it is demotivating and 22% say it has a negative impact on their mental or physical health.

Despite the potential negative impact of this culture, in some firms it has a direct impact on progression and management’s perception of an someone’s ability. One in eight (12%) employees in a workplace with the desk time culture say that the primary outcome of the culture is that those who don’t work longer hours become marginalised.              

Dr. Leena Johns, Head of Health & Wellness, MAXIS Global Benefits Network, said “All organisations should look to create a nurturing and supportive environment that encourages productivity. It is important that managers distinguish between employees simply sitting at their desks and working harder. They need to measure real productivity and output.

“A strong workplace culture can help motivate employees and deliver improved financial performance, with a measurable increase in revenue. Unhealthy or stressed employees are a cost in terms of decreased productivity, rapid staff turnover, increased healthcare costs and absenteeism. There are a number of factors that impact workplace culture, from the physical environment of the office to the benefits and corporate wellness programmes offered by the employer, all of which have the potential to foster a healthier and more productive workforce.”

Long hours in the workplace contribute to some of the greatest anxieties felt by employees. When asked what their greatest source of stress is, 35% of employees said “maintaining a work life balance”, something which is made more difficult when they are expected to have longer facetime in the workplace. The second most common stress felt by employees was “personal or financial issues”, which a third (33%) of employees say is the greatest source of strain in their life. Other primary concerns for employees include the size of their workload and a lack of support (32%), job security (23%) and bullying and harassment in the workplace (13%).         

The importance of culture

The culture of an organisation has a huge impact on the ability of firms to attract and retain talent, particularly at a time when the growth of the gig economy can result in transient workers, hot desking and a less stable work environment. Across international markets, 82% of people consider it important to consider the culture of an organisation before accepting a job, with 58% ranking it as very important. However, not all firms are honest about their working environment, with more than a quarter (27%) of people believing they were misled about the culture of their workplace before joining the organisation.

Research has shown there is a strong correlation between poor workplace culture and staff turnover. When companies have a poor culture almost 50% of employees may start looking for a new job2 and unhealthy workplace culture contributes to 40% of turnover costs3. Not only is this expensive, it is potentially damaging to an employers’ brand.

The research found that, across the globe, people believe their employers are under performing when it comes to benefits and support. Less than a third (29%) of companies were ranked as performing well in the provision of private healthcare and they are also underperforming when it comes to mental health support (23%). In addition, only a quarter of firms were seen to perform well when it came to not contacting employees when they are on leave. 

Table two:  Importance of workplace culture and benefits

Country

Importance of the workplace culture when deciding to accept a job

Percentage of employees that think their workplace performs well in its private healthcare offering

Percentage of employees that think their workplace performs well in offering mental health support

Percentage of employees that think their workplace performs well in not contacting staff when they are on leave

Mexico

85%

18%

16%

21%

India

63%

26%

23%

17%

South Africa

83%

36%

34%

32%

Russia

88%

14%

13%

12%

France

84%

24%

15%

35%

United Kingdom

80%

34%

34%

39%

Brazil

86%

29%

25%

15%

Hong Kong

92%

33%

23%

22%

United States

79%

37%

31%

35%

UAE

84%

40%

20%

25%

Source:  MAXIS GBN

To download a copy of the MAXIS GBN whitepaper “Workplace culture: helping or hurting your business?”, which features additional insights on this topic and practical guidance on developing a positive workplace culture, please use the following link: Visit https://maxis-gbn.com/Maxis-GBN/files/d2/d263409c-79b3-4d31-ade6-6ce0ff3f02e6.pdf

 

Ends

Notes to editors

1 MAXIS GBN commissioned research amongst 1,000 workers across 10 global markets between 2nd – 8th January 2019. The research was undertaken online by an independent third party.  Global markets researched:

 

Ø  Brazil

Ø  France

Ø  Hong Kong

Ø  India

Ø  Mexico

Ø  Russia

Ø  South Africa

Ø  UAE

Ø  United Kingdom

Ø  United States

2 Columbia University, Job Satisfaction and Employee Turnover Intention: What does Organizational Culture Have To Do With It

3 PricewaterhouseCoopers, Driving the bottom line: improving retention

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Citigate Dewe Rogerson – +44 (0)20 7638 9571; [email protected]

This document has been prepared by MAXIS GBN and is for informational purposes only – it does not constitute advice.  MAXIS GBN has made every effort to ensure that the information contained in this document has been obtained from reliable sources, but cannot guarantee accuracy or completeness.  The information contained in this document may be subject to change at any time without notice.  Any reliance you place on this information is therefore strictly at your own risk. 

About MAXIS GBN MAXIS Global Benefits Network (MAXIS GBN), co-founded by MetLife and AXA in 1998 is one of the leading international employee benefits networks providing global service capabilities and delivering world-class employee benefits perspectives and solutions to clients in over 120 markets around the world. In February 2016, MetLife and AXA further strengthened their relationship by combining all of its MAXIS GBN existing operations under a joint venture company. This transformation helps leverage the existing strength of the network and its two parent companies while further enhancing the client experience, focusing on product innovation and providing data analytics. For more information, please visit www.maxis-gbn.co

The MAXIS Global Benefits Network (“Network”) is a network of locally licensed MAXIS member insurance companies (“Members”) founded by AXA France Vie, Paris, France (AXA) and Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, New York, NY (MLIC). MAXIS GBN, registered with ORIAS under number 16000513, and with its registered office at 313, Terrasses de l’Arche – 92 727 Nanterre Cedex, France, is an insurance and reinsurance intermediary that promotes the Network. MAXIS GBN is jointly owned by affiliates of AXA and MLIC and does not issue policies or provide insurance; such activities are carried out by the Members. MAXIS GBN operates in the UK through UK establishment with its registered address at 1st Floor, The Monument Building, 11 Monument Street, London EC3R 8AF, Establishment Number BR018216 and in other European countries on a services basis. MAXIS GBN operates in the U.S. through MetLife Insurance Brokerage, Inc., with its address at 1095 Avenue of the Americas, NY, NY, 10036, a NY licensed insurance broker. MLIC is the only Member licensed to transact insurance business in NY. The other Members are not licensed or authorised to do business in NY and the policies and contracts they issue have not been approved by the NY Superintendent of Financial Services, are not protected by the NY state guaranty fund, and are not subject to all of the laws of NY.