Industry

Four in 10 workers are taking on significant extra duties on top of their usual work


Four in 10 have taken on significant extra jobs

Four in 10 have taken on a significant extra workload outside of their usual remit (Image: Tetra Images/Getty Images)

Four in 10 employees are taking on significant extra responsibility in the workplace – averaging an additional five tasks, on top of their day-to-day duties. The toll of this added workload equates to an average of 104 hours of effort on top of workers’ contracted time each year.

And a poll, of 2,000 UK workers, found almost a quarter (23 percent) said they were assigned these additional tasks within their first three months in a role.

Top responsibilities workers find themselves taking on include supporting and guiding newer colleagues (47 percent), leading on projects outside of their job description (40 percent), and providing cover for long-term absentees (30 percent).

However, 69 percent said they haven’t received an increase in their pay packet, despite their boosted workload and additional time investment.

Doug Rode, managing director UK&I at recruiter Michael Page, part of FTSE 250 PageGroup, said: “Our research has revealed a growing trend of workers accepting additional responsibilities above and beyond their contracted remit.

“This “boundary-blurring” highlights a growing norm within the modern workforce – where workers find their previously agreed remits expanded across teams and tasks, to fit the needs of the business.

“In an era of increased scrutiny around work/life balance, and a growing skills gap, top talent is more valuable than ever.

“Businesses need to invest time and resources into finding the right talent solutions, both for now and the future – rather than trying to stretch existing workers to fit an evolving remit.

Half say this helps them to learn new skills

Half say this helps them learn new skills – which in turn helps with their career progression (Image: SWNS)

Our research has revealed a sizable demographic of workers who are happy to “muck in” and help out

Doug Rode, Michael Page managing director UK&I

“That comes with a need to respect workers’ boundaries, too, and to play to their strengths.

“Whilst some workers thrive on taking on additional responsibilities, others may find the pressure overwhelming, making it essential that bosses understand their staff as well as their business needs.”

In addition to those not receiving a pay rise in recognition of their additional efforts, almost half (49 percent) go the extra mile without receiving a one-off bonus, or extra holiday allowance (51 percent).

The research found 79 percent said they would actively seek out additional tasks, while 69 percent praised the “all hands on deck” attitude in their workplace.

However, 78 percent also agreed that management should bring in the extra resources they need, rather than continuously loading extra work on existing staff.

In fact, when given the choice by their employer, one in three workers (32 percent) have actively turned down the chance to pick up additional responsibilities.

Nearly half (48 percent) admitted they already had too much work on – and similarly, 45 percent were concerned it would disrupt their work/life balance if they had more responsibility.

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But one in three have turned down extra duties

But one in three have turned down extra duties – as half want to preserve their work/life balance (Image: Brian A Jackson/Getty Images)

Four in 10 (39 percent) said they declined due to a lack of financial incentive, while a quarter felt they didn’t have the right set of skills to carry out the additional task properly.

However, for some, being given additional responsibilities comes with a valuable confidence boost – as 46 percent said their expanded work remit shows the level of belief their employer has in them.

And half of those surveyed said that adopting additional responsibilities has helped them learn new skills, according to the research, conducted by OnePoll.

Looking to long-term career goals, a significant 86 percent of workers agreed it is important to continuously learn new skills to progress in their career.

Nearly three in 10 (28 percent) went on to say they believe it helps them achieve their career goals in the long run.

Yet, whether or not workers see the potential value of taking on additional responsibilities, the survey provides a caution to business leaders – support for workers taking on extra work is limited.

Six in 10 (59 percent) claim they have not received any additional training before getting stuck into their additional responsibilities.

The top extra job is guiding newer colleagues

One of the most common extra responsibilities is guiding newer colleagues (Image: Johnny Greig/Getty Images)

However, of those who did receive training support, two-thirds (65 percent) were upskilled in-house, while 48 percent received mentoring from senior leadership.

It also emerged that, given the current economic landscape, half of respondents have felt pressure to take on additional responsibilities, to remain secure in their jobs.

Doug Rode, from Michael Page, added: “With news stories highlighting layoffs and the impact of an economic downturn, it is understandable that employees are concerned about job security.

“Whilst this may increase their willingness to take on more work, overburdening staff can have damaging consequences on team morale, and ultimately jeopardise business performance.

“Our research has revealed a sizable demographic of workers who are happy to “muck in” and help out.

“But it has also shed light on the fact that workers hope for something in return for their time and energy invested – whether that’s recognition for going above and beyond, or financial incentives such as bonuses or salary increases.

“If financial incentives are not possible in the short-term, employers should be investing in their workforce in other ways, such as improving upskilling opportunities to help workers futureproof their careers.”



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