Employees’ work and home lives becoming increasingly blurred, says TotalJobs

Our ‘always-on’ culture is causing our work and home lives to bleed further and further into each other, according to a survey of more than 6,700 UK workers. The TotalJobs research found that the average employee spends seven hours and 49 minutes doing extra work at home – equivalent to 51 days per year – plus six hours and four minutes performing personal tasks at work, such as life-related admin or trawling social media accounts.

Survey findings also showed that the average worker now spends five hours and 20 minutes per week communicating with colleagues outside business hours. Two-thirds (62%) of the sample said that they’ve been interrupted by their boss, and more than half (59%) disturbed by clients, during what they thought was their own time. In addition, 49% of workers have been interrupted while on holiday and 43% while in bed.

Worryingly, these problems are compounded by changing attitudes. Only a quarter (23%) of workers think it’s important to set hard boundaries between their work and home lives – and just 8% say that their employers actively encourage them to do so. TotalJobs group marketing director Martin Talbot says: “This study has highlighted the stresses the always-on culture has on employees’ work-life balance, revealing a new trend that the workforce is currently living a permanent blur between their professional and personal lives.”


Productivity ‘worst since 18th Century’, says Bank of England blogger

UK productivity since 2007 was at its lowest ebb since the late 18th Century, according to a Bank of England official. In a post on Bank Underground – a blog through which the central bank’s staff can share views that challenge or support prevailing orthodoxies – B of E research manager John Lewis outlines the results of a total factor productivity (TFP) test he carried out using the Bank’s Millennium of Macroeconomic Data resource.

He notes: “10-year productivity growth averaged 0.7% in the 19th century and 1.4% in the 20th. So after 20th-Century productivity dips, the economy recovered (on average) almost all the “lost ground” relative to the century average, and about half the ground [from] the 19th.” However, he points out, by 2017 productivity had barely moved on from its post-crisis trough.

Lewis adds that, while UK productivity growth had worse moments after two, massive dips in the 18th Century, the average productivity growth throughout that century was about zero. By contrast, 10-year average productivity growth since 2007 was negative for the first time in almost a century, and the worst decade overall since the late 18th Century. “Whatever the cause,” he said, “productivity growth over the past decade has been remarkably poor by most historical standards.”


Persimmon chief’s pay deal squeaks through in face of shareholder wrath

Shareholders of housebuilder Persimmon have narrowly approved a £75 million pay deal for the firm’s chief executive Jeff Fairburn, following a spell of fierce opposition. At an AGM this week, 48.5% of the firm’s investors voted against the deal – which had initially been set at £110m – with the company conceding that it was aware of a “sizeable number” of backers raising concerns over the package. Persimmon chairman Nigel Mill admitted at the meeting: “This could have all have been handled better.”

Fund manager Aberdeen Standard emerged as one of the deal’s staunchest critics, arguing that the package was not even “close to acceptable” despite its £35m reduction. In a written message to the AGM, Aberdeen Standard’s head of corporate governance Euan Stirling said that being a company director “requires a personal motivation that goes beyond simply amassing a fortune. It requires an understanding of where the company sits within the society within which it operates. Little of that is evident currently at Persimmon”.


Fallout from TSB IT chaos leaves staff in emotional distress

The human cost of a protracted IT failure at TSB has emerged from a BBC interview with an anonymous branch manager. Published on 26 April, the piece highlights the staff distress that has stemmed from the technical breakdown, which began on the evening of 20 April as the bank attempted to transfer 1.3 billion customer records from its former berth Lloyds Banking Group to new owner Banco Sabadell.

In the interview, the branch manager said: “I’m concerned for my staff. They were in all over the weekend and have all been expected to work from 7am until 8pm. I have spoken with many other branch managers and there have been multiple staff members breaking down, being sent home physically and emotionally exhausted … It is heartbreaking for me as a manager seeing my amazing team break down one by one.”

The manager scorned bank executives for failing to apologise to its ground troops. A TSB spokesman then thanked branch workers for going the extra mile.


Fraud against SMEs has cost 50,000 jobs, says Barclays

Digital fraud against the UK’s SME community has wiped out 50,000 jobs, with firms each losing £35,000 on average, according to a poll from Barclays and YouGov. Some 44% of the firms surveyed had been targeted by fraudsters, with one in four falling victim – yet only half of those victims reported the crimes to the police. More worryingly, 28% of the affected firms have not informed staff that their systems have been breached.

To help small firms tackle cybercrime and fraud, Barclays has launched a national campaign spearheaded by former England footballer – and current SME owner – Sol Campbell. He said: “Playing as a team and training are vital in business as well as sport. Managers should invest time letting staff know about the dangers of scams. As an owner of a small business that has fallen foul of cybercriminals, I’m particularly keen to raise awareness and show fraudsters the red card.”