Working hours Qestion

Discussion in 'OT (OFF Topic) Forums' started by Swiss Toni, Dec 9, 2008.

  1. Swiss Toni

    Swiss Toni Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I have just taken over additional responsibility for a team of four men.

    They have worked together for some time and are pretty effective at what they do.

    It has very quickly become clear to me that they are working long hours (55+) on average and I can actually see the effect this is having on their home life and families.

    Truth is, if they worked smarter and less than 48 hours per week, then they would still perform as well as they are doing currently.

    I understand that under the working time directive, I should bring them back down to under 48 hours per week (averaged over 16 weeks).

    Their contracted hours are 40 per week and they do not get paid overtime.

    I'm happy with my role in doing that, although I know they will not appear happy about it (theirs is a long-hours culture, mine is not). Does anyone have experience of this kind of action who might offer advice?

    The team generate most of their own work and do it to a very high standard. Theirs is a difficult job by anyones standards and Teamwork is core to their commitment (ie they are highly motivated).

    Cheers:eek:
     
  2. nigel cross

    nigel cross Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    The question is why are they working 15 extra unpaid hours per week, and if you are managing them, you are breaking the law by letting them work more than the European directive.They can opt out but that is not going to be an option in a couple of years.
    In answer to the question tell them to stop at 40 hours whether the work is finished or not, unless they haven't got a life or a home to go to
     
  3. franey

    franey Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    if they are so good, reward them by paying overtime at time and one third or something like that.
     
  4. OP
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    Swiss Toni

    Swiss Toni Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I have just taken over responsibility for them - they are working the extra hours because they enjoy what they do, generate their own work and are good at it too (and they know it).

    They are not motivated by money/overtime, just doing a job they really enjoy.

    I know I need to bring them down to a max of 48 hours average, stopping at 40 is often not possible as leaving a job half-done isn't an option. It is about managing the peaks and troughs.
     
  5. Will

    Will MB Club Veteran

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    Seems like an obvious question, but if there's so much work that it's taking four men 55 hours per week (permanently), why not look at recruiting more staff to tackle the problem.

    In essence, by four guys working an extra 15 hours a week, they're doing another persons job all the time.

    What happens when one of them goes off sick or on holiday?!

    Will
     
  6. A210AMG

    A210AMG MB Club Veteran

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    Hello

    If they are as good as you say then surely they don't want to be their working these extras hours (for no extra pay) and missing out on the Family?

    Maybe a little friendy chat to them all and the New year could see their hours back to 40 and all will be happy.

    Are the things you have spotted in order for them to work smarter (reduce hrs) easily implemented?

    Are there things that will require buying in order for their job to be easier and if so have you got the ok to purchase and have in place.

    A correctly timed chat with evidence that your helping them and can implement these changed with NO adverse effect to them has to be a winner. They should appreciate your actually helping them?

    Remember NO one likes change (who moved my cheese...), but you need to sell it that they will be more productive, spend more time at home and not at work.

    Get them all round the table with a dozen mince pies.


    Good luck
     
  7. OP
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    Swiss Toni

    Swiss Toni Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    More staff is not an option - in fact less staff is why I have taken them on...:(

    A210AMG is, I guess, closest. Who moved my cheese is a fair example, but these folks are highly motivated and good at what they do.

    It is exactly your comment about this season of good will that makes it all the more urgent for me.

    Allowing them to work more than 48 hours on average is me breaking the law, but more importantly to me is the toll I see on their home life (and I come from having averaged 55+ hours a week for long periods myself...).

    Theirs isn't a 9-5 desk job, it is unpredictable and so difficult to manage by forward planning.

    To top it off, one of the team does something akin to being a retained fire-fighter ie they can get called out at any time of the night to deal with a life threatening situation - this guy once didn't tell my predecessor and tried to work through 24 hours :crazy:
     
  8. Dieselman

    Dieselman Banned

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    I suspect this person and probably the others feel under pressure to achieve and be seen to be there working. They won't say that but it looks that way to me.
    This is possibly brought about by a long term cuture of being seen to be working all hours is good.

    If this is the case the first thing you need to do is remove that pressure, in fact make it clear that you don't want them there long hours and that they can do the same work in less.
    Set a challenge to clear up the work and work less hours. Everyone likes a challenge. :)
     
  9. OP
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    Swiss Toni

    Swiss Toni Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    The only issue I have is that the pressure is all self-induced.

    I guess breaking the culture is what I know will be difficult.
     
  10. raymont

    raymont Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    You cannot impose change on your team without demotivating them and making them less efficient and negatively affecting whatever it is that they do.

    You need to find a way to enable them to recognise the problem themselves and to agree that it really is a problem that needs to be solved. It helps if they can see personal benefit in finding a solution. If you can do this they themselves are probably best placed to come up with a solution., after all, they are the experts in what they do.

    Your role is, firstly, to create the environment in which they can identify and agree upon the problem, secondly to work with them to define a solution which meets your requirements and theirs and, thirdly, to remove any obstacles within the organisation which would prevent the solution being implemented.

    Sorry if this is a bit generic, but without knowledge of the actual situation it's difficult to be specific.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2008
  11. Dieselman

    Dieselman Banned

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    Is it, or is there a chance a previous boss was pushing them in that direction. People have long memories and continue with old working practices if new ones are not spelled out clearly.
    You mentioned your role was maybe to have less in the team. does that mean that maybe they are not as efficient as they could be, in which case that is where to start and they may be aware of that so determined to show their worth by working long hours.
    If you think they could work more quickly then it's time for close management and deadlines until you have control.

    Just tell them you will be chucking them out at xx time...and do it...:devil:
     
  12. OP
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    Swiss Toni

    Swiss Toni Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I don't believe their previous boss pushed them but simply set a bad example - I say that with a fair degree of humility as I have also worked long hours in the past (and set a poor example)...

    Chucking them out is a nice idea, but theirs is not an office based job and we work different hours (they might be due to finish at 5pm but not get done 'til 3am for example - this is the degree of flexibility their role requires, it is the overall hours that make it difficult - and that it just isn't possible to forward plan their work!).

    :eek:
     
  13. imadoofus

    imadoofus Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    This and that.
    I don't understand. If they want to work the extra hours, then they are entitled to, and surely the Working Time Directive says as much. If that means they're not as efficient as they could be, then so what? You're not paying them for their overtime.

    The way I see it is they represent a risk to your business in that if they leave (or burn out or whatever) then you have to replace them. But you don't have to replace them with somebody who is obliged to work 55 hours a week, because the job can be done in less.

    My position would be that (unless I am seriously missing the point) all you can do is to point out that they are working longer hours than they need, and offer them the tools to improve their efficiency and reduce their hours. Make that efficiency improvement measurable, and make it part of their written objectives if you like, but they are grown ups, and if this is how they want to order their priorities, then more fool them.
     
  14. scumbag

    scumbag Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    why are you talking about work?

    You have said you see it affecting life outside of work. Thats the area you need to tackle. If its having no effect on work, why would working smarter create a problem at work? Surely they can see this?

    Its not a work problem. You will need to get them to understand that work is just an element of their overall life. Stopping them working longer hours at work, if they enjoy their work, will mean they will take it home and thats really going to help you with your problem!!!!

    If they are not claiming overtime, or time off in lieu, and enjoy their work, and are good employees, then all you need to do is tell them that you have a duty of care to them at work (Which you do) and you are not allowed to let them work more than 48hrs a week on average over whatever time limits have been set by some button in an office somewhere who only works 4 mins a year.

    They also have a duty of care to you. They need to understand that if they have to work beyond normal time, be it an 8 hour day, or a 10 hour day, then they must ensure they have the same time away from work before they come back.

    So, if they roll in at 7am, and do whatever is felt right before 9pm, they can't return to work before 11am the following day.

    That ensures they get a break from work equal to the day they worked. Seems reasonable! They will probably start to adjust work patterns naturally.

    I would suggest you get them all together, throw the problem into the room and see what they come up with. These laws have been generated by others not you, but you have to work within them. They will provide a way round. Maybe you need to point out that you can see it effecting outside of work issues. They may not have seen that. Blinkered.

    But if the problem is not work, then tackle the problem! Don't create one!

    You may find it a good idea to have a few solutions available. Something along the lines of an "away day" where you all toddle off to a hotel and have a day of making paper bridges or something. During that day, generate a work related problem for them to solve as a team. Of course, the problem they are given is that they find themselves in charge of a team, whose work hours affect their lives outside of work, and they have to provide a solution!

    Be armed with the relevant laws, and one or two torpedoes to throw in to add something to it.

    Best idea of the day wins a free meal or something. If you have 4 on your team, you might need about 6 different challenges and 6 different prizes so as they all get a chance to win something.

    You can send people home if you wish to manage it that way.

    As far as the person who works outside of your employment, they need to understand that the duty of care they show relates to the main employer first. So they need to be off duty a reasonable time before work. A caring employer may however say, if thats not that practicle, in the case of Life Boat people as an example, then they must only turn up for work at least 6 hours after they have finished doing whatever it is they do. Thus ensuring a break.

    Imagine someone driving to work, knackered, having an accident, and you knew they did this work, and did nothing to prevent them doing daft hours!


    I think a guy drove a car off a bridge which resulted in a train crash! There is a lesson in there somewhere.

    Health and Safety regulations say something about looking after yourself. It may be useful for you to dig out the whole paragraph and see what it refers to. Thing is, I can't remember the HSE regulation number that I am referring to.

    thats my effort anyway.
     
  15. Ade B

    Ade B Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    What does the team do (if its not classified? ;))

    I regularly happily work more than 48 hours a week and provided I get to spend an hour each evening with Junior B before bedtime and time at the weekend I don't think its really having an adverse affect on my family life.

    If I didn't enjoy my job, it certainly would.

    Are they making you hang around too to supervise?


    Ade
     
  16. scumbag

    scumbag Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    In fact, just show them this quote.

    They will work it out for thesmeselves.
     
  17. scumbag

    scumbag Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    My lot tried that. I slung them a key and bade farewell in a cloud of smoke from the car exhaust. Last one out, knock the lights off. They beat me out of the door now. They didn't like the responsibility of locking up.:D
     
  18. OP
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    Swiss Toni

    Swiss Toni Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Thanks for your suggestions.

    My motivation is that I have moved from doing a very similar job to theirs in the past (during which I loved every waking minute and worked very long hours) to a more balanced life.
    I have a legal responsibility to bring them under the 48 hour average (which I can do very easily but do not want to "break" the team as I change the culture).

    I am not particularly well read on changing team and organisational culture - can you suggest where I might look?

    Team Building days where we do fun things together are fine, in truth I actually need to break the team a little to bring them into line with my standards.

    And to top it off, I feel that it is no coincidence that the team is male - long hours (I fear) will put off a number of female potential future team members.
     
  19. Dieselman

    Dieselman Banned

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    There you go. So by you demonstrating that you didn't want to work work long hours and didn't want them to either, they soon changed their culture.

    If SwissT clearly gets that message across they will change, it's just a culture that has been passed on from previous Managers..
     
  20. Ade B

    Ade B Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    In my limited experience of managing 3 others I work with very closely, transparency and mutual respect will go a long way to address perceived issues without any 'management'. I found it best not to raise contentious issues in the pub on a Friday, but the drinks/food afterwards often made for a happier Monday. :D

    I'm sure if you discuss it openly whilst setting out the desired outcomes, it'll sort itself out.

    Ade
     

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