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Staying after hours in healthcare is absolutely not needed, insists expert

‘Working more than 40 hours a week is unproductive’

Working more than 40 hours a week is not productive, and presenteeism – staying at work longer than required – does not help healthcare organisations, a workforce expert said.

The charity Skills for Care's programme head for workforce innovation Jim Thomas said that for every hour worked over 40 hours, on average only 15 minutes will be productive work.

He told the NHS Staff: Skills, Retention and Recruitment conference in Manchester: ‘I often say to people, if you are working more than 40 hours a week you are not being a productive worker.

‘You’re working 45 minutes where you’re doing nothing really valuable at all and around 15 minutes where you’re being really productive.

‘A culture of presenteeism is extremely unhelpful in any organisation but I would


Picture: iStock

Working more than 40 hours a week is not productive, and presenteeism – staying at work longer than required – does not help healthcare organisations, a workforce expert said. 

The charity Skills for Care's programme head for workforce innovation Jim Thomas said that for every hour worked over 40 hours, on average only 15 minutes will be productive work. 

He told the NHS Staff: Skills, Retention and Recruitment conference in Manchester: ‘I often say to people, if you are working more than 40 hours a week you are not being a productive worker.

‘You’re working 45 minutes where you’re doing nothing really valuable at all and around 15 minutes where you’re being really productive.

‘A culture of presenteeism is extremely unhelpful in any organisation but I would say particularly in health and social care organisations. There’s absolutely and utterly no need for it.

‘Your time at home with your family doing whatever you want to do outside of work is just as important as being at work.’

Judge productivity on outcomes

He said productivity in health and social care should not be measured by shorter care visits or patient stays in hospital but by patient outcomes. 

He told the conference that the factors dictating workforce productivity are:

  • Culture.
  • Leadership.
  • Employee well-being.
  • Learning and development.
  • Digital technology.

Mr Thomas said many social care organisations do not think about employee well-being and most do not have training teams or human resources support. ‘They just can’t afford it. It’s just something that you would not have any access to.’


Further information

Skills for Care  


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