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Distinctions between work and leisure 'blurring'
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The distinctions between work and free time are becoming less rigidly defined, it has been claimed.
Dr Clare Kelliher, senior lecturer in strategic human resource management at Cranfield School of Management, said an increasing number of people are working non-standard hours.
She claimed that managerial and professional people in particular are working in different ways, with work interspersed with different activities.
Some people choose to work during evenings and weekends to free up time during the day, while some continue with employment duties during their daily commute.
The latest Labour Force Survey from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) recently found that British employees are now putting in fewer hours on average per week at work than they were in 1992.
Between April and June 2011, the average working time for all in employment stood at 36.3 hours a week, a fall of 4.7 per cent on the 1992 level of 38.1 hours a week.
The ONS said this has been affected by changes in the structure of the economy, with a higher proportion of employment being in services where hours tend to be shortest.
However, Dr Kelliher questioned the statistics, claiming that UK employees typically spend more hours working 'off the record' than they did 20 years ago.
"There is in some sense a difficulty associated with measuring hours, particularly when you talk about managerial and professional workers," she said.
"With various communication technologies, work doesn't tend to start at the workplace and finish when they leave. With iPhones, BlackBerries et cetera, people are often working outside of regular working hours, and that is quite difficult to capture in some senses."
Dr Kelliher said that if people answer emails over the weekend or take calls outside of normal working hours, this time spent working is not necessarily measured.
Also, she claimed that many employees work harder today than was perhaps the case in previous decades.
With constant access to technology, employees can work from any location, including planes, trains and hotel rooms, meaning there is less 'dead time' during the working week.
Posted by John Lynes
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