Irish professionals are faking the extent of their workloads to impress management, according to new research from global technology company, Ricoh, conducted by YouGov. The study shows that some 80% of Irish professionals have faked their workloads by staying late in the office beyond their contracted hours, while 37% stay late regularly – solely to appear hard working.
The findings are outlined in a new report ‘Overhauling a culture of presenteeism at work’, which surveyed more than 1,000 adults in Ireland. While ‘presenteeism’ traditionally refers to those who turn up for work while unwell, this research reveals a growing trend of workers doing overtime in order to get ahead.
Meanwhile, over one-third (36%) of respondents said they feel under pressure to stay late in the office because they see their colleagues do it.
More than half (52%) of those surveyed said that being able to work away from the office would help them manage childcare arrangements more easily. A further 45% believe working away from the office would help them meet clients more easily. However, despite advances in communication technology, some 30% of Irish professionals believe that out of sight is out of mind and working away from the office on a regular basis will harm their career progression.
There is currently no specific legislation regarding flexible working in Ireland, despite employees having statutory rights in this area in the UK and other European countries. Some 56% of respondents believe that the Irish Government is not performing well in enabling flexible working in Irish organisations.
Almost two-thirds of respondents (63%) think that the Government should educate employers on the benefits of flexible working, while 35% believe the Irish Government should provide grants or funding for the provision of flexible working technology.
Gary Hopwood, general manager of Ricoh Ireland, said: “We were astonished to learn that 80% of professionals have felt the need to fake their workload to get ahead in their careers. It seems that Irish professionals believe the key to impressing management is staying late in the office, rather than producing the best results.
“These outdated work practices are holding many professionals back and could also be hindering business growth. Employees should not have to fear being punished for not being physically at their desk for 40 hours a week.”
“The digital age is more fluid than the rigid, outdated practice of presenteeism. Employers need to embrace flexible working practices for employees in a transparent, collaborative way with proper guidance from the Irish government. We need to put platforms in place which support flexible working so that both the employer and the employee can progress and thrive.”