Almost half of UK managers work an extra day per week with no additional pay, according to a study by the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM).

The study found that 90% of managers work outside of contracted hours due to work pressures and easy access to email through smartphone technology.

Around 13% of managers work two extra days per week and two thirds said they felt pressure from their superiors to work extra hours. The CBI said that UK firms are addressing the issue.

Charles Elvin, chief executive of ILM, told the BBC:

“When you add up all the skipped lunch breaks, early morning conference calls and after hours emails you see just how widespread the extra hours culture is within UK business.

“Of course, all organisations face busy periods when employees will feel motivated to work above and beyond their contractual hours. But excessive hours are not sustainable – there are only so many times you can burn the midnight oil before your performance, decision making and wellbeing begin to suffer.”

He added that smartphone technology has led to managers ‘obsessively’ checking their emails outside of work. Research body The Work Foundation said that this could lead to increased stress, depression and physical illness, ultimately undermining performance.

However, they also said that smartphone use could have a positive effect if used as a way to facilitate flexible working.

Photo by Phil Dokas