Friday, 26 February 2010

Rest and the Long Hours Culture

So why do we work so hard? What drives us? Let’s look at that for a moment. Cary Cooper, Professor of Organizational Psychology and Health at Lancaster University says of the UK,

‘If you work constantly longer hours – over 45 hours every week – it will damage your health physically and psychologically.’‘

In the UK we have the second longest working hours in the developed world, second only to the USA. We have longer hours than Japan, so that’s l-o-n-g hours and that’s our culture. For some of us as church leaders this impacts us more than we admit since we have guys in our churches who are in business and we don’t want to be seen as slackers. We’re still shaped by the ‘Oh, you only work on Sundays’ attitude. I believe that church leadership is far more demanding than being in business!

Derek Simpson, the General Secretary of the union Amicus says, ‘It’s no co-incidence that the UK is the least regulated economy and is also the least productive in the industrial world.’ Amicus also did a survey where they found that almost 1 in 5 workers were put off sex because of the long working hours.

I want you to know that when I read that I was really concerned. I’ve honestly just never been there. This would worry me. I’d better continue. The union said that a third of people said they didn’t have enough time to spend with their partners, husbands, wives or children. Community work, socialising, personal fitness and hobbies all lost out to excessive working hours.