British employees work 6.5 extra hours to cover for colleagues’ absence

A survey of 1,000 UK full-time workers has revealed that 88% are taking on additional work to cover for absent colleagues, some of them clocking up an average 6.5 extra working hours each week.

British employees work 6.5 extra hours to cover for colleagues’ absence image 1

Research commissioned by online marketplace Elance-Odesk also suggests that 49% of employers admit that they’re forced to take work home and/or work over the weekend in order to be able to cope with the extra workload.

Naturally, the increase in workload is leading to higher levels of job dissatisfaction amongst employees, close to 25% saying they are feeling stressed and unappreciated.

Hayley Conick, Country Manager of Elance-oDesk, commented on these findings, saying: “Holidays are essential to give employees the chance to recharge their batteries. Yet, businesses are failing to plan for the summer strain leaving those left behind to pick up the slack.”

HR executives should make sure their organizations have contingent plans for absence and they should try to manage absence carefully.

Some organizations have labor pools of floaters who can fill in as needed during absences. Some large departments, such as call centers, deliberately tend to overstaff a little bit so managers are assured that the work can get done. Some depend on overtime or temporary services.

Also helpful are absence-management tools that allow organizations to track absence and look for patterns, as well as educating HR and managers to ensure workers are offered assistance or intervention, when needed.

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