Intended for healthcare professionals

Career Focus


BMJ 1999; 319 doi: (Published 06 November 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:S3a-7219
  • The long hours culture is firmly established in much of the UK workforce, but the causes for such attitudes are not as simple as we might think. A survey of 823 British people who worked more than 48 hours each week found that almost half did so voluntarily—because they love their work and do it as a hobby. Earning more money was a motivating factor in about a quarter of respondents. (IRS Employment Trends 1999;689:3). Very few worked long hours because their employer expected it, or for fear of the sack. And working long hours seemed not to have an adverse effect on self reported family life, though friendships may suffer, and work performance be undermined. The finding has implications for the implementation of the Working Time Directive: the government is currently “simplifying” the regulations to mean that working time is only calculated from the portion of work that is “measured or pre-determined by the employer.” Still, there doesn”t seem to be any reason why you can't both enjoy your work and bill for it.

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