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If you thought your young staff are always looking out for working holidays and are ready to burst out of the office at 6pm on the dot, think again.
Recent research by OfficeGenie in the UK found people aged 16 to 24 put in more hours than their older counterparts.
The survey, which questioned more than 1,000 UK office workers on how much overtime they do, found that 16-to 24-year-olds clock up an extra seven hours and 22 minutes each week.
This is two hours more than what office staff aged over 55 clock in every week.
The results also highlighted that 11% of 16- to 24-year-olds work more than 20 hours overtime each week.
“Younger people get a bad press, with many misconceptions about them being work shy with a sense of entitlement. Teens and those in their early to mid-twenties have plenty of get up and go and determination to put in the hours,” said Ciaron Dunne, chief executive of OfficeGenie.
Bev White, managing director of people management business Penna Consulting told the Guardian that in general it’s more competitive for young people to get jobs so people are trying to prove themselves with an ‘always on’ mentality.
“With employment opportunities for young people still thin on the ground, employees might be tempted to make themselves available 24/7, but this is not necessarily good for business. In order for us to be productive in our free time, not just in our working lives, we need to have time off. It makes good business sense if you have mentally and physically healthier people working in your organisation,” added White.
The younger generation are very comfortable slipping between private and work life throughout their day, they can work anywhere as long as they have a smart phone or tablet.
While this makes it difficult for businesses to accurately measure how much overtime employees are working, it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t take steps to ensure they have a happy, healthy workforce.
White suggested smaller businesses that lack the resources to for wellness programmes to take measures like encouraging people to go for a walk during their lunch break, or offering a discounted gym membership.
“This will support employees’ physical and mental well-being, and encourage them to take time away from their desks,” she said.