How many days of unpaid overtime do Executives work?
Having held Senior Executive roles, I know that challenges include difficult deadlines, with your family time squeezed as a result. A Chief Executive told me recently that our coaching sessions were the only time she felt she was heard, on aspects important to her – the rest of her working life was spent listening to others about what’s important to them.
Last year, The Chartered Management Institute (CMI) surveyed over 1,000 managers on the Quality of Working Life. Their report painted a bleak picture.
Executives today are: working longer hours due to larger workloads; increasingly suffering from ill health, including stress and depression; and are more likely to come to work despite being ill. The report also showed the average manager works around 46 days unpaid overtime per year.
60% of those working overtime felt they had no choice because of the volume of work, and 29% worked long hours because job cuts had increased their workload. This is definitely typical for my executive coaching clients – almost without exception, and a goal through their coaching is to get a work/life balance.
As a psychometric tool, I often invite my time-starved executive coaching clients to draw how they slice up their “time pie”. In a circle, they slice up their time to reflect the proportion spent at work, with family, ‘me time’, sports, hobbies, and so on. Just doing this can be a powerful wake up call. As part of this psychometric testing we then create an ‘ideal’ life pie, which enables them to work out how to move towards an ideal balance and a happier, healthier life.
Another time-pressured executive coaching client feared his lack of time meant he was acquiring unhealthy habits, and that this would eventually affect his quality of life. At the same time, he saw no way to make the adjustments to his diet, drinking and exercise patterns. I invited this client to experiment with a variation of chair work – in which he talked from one chair as his older self to his current self.