Charlie Mullins: Employees shouldn’t be paid for time checking Facebook

According to a survey from The Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM), 47 per cent of managers said that they work at least an additional day, 7.5 hours or more, of overtime each week.

More than one in ten of the 1,000 people polled responded that they worked over 15 hours more than what their contracts specify.

They gave a variety of reasons for working extra hours, six in ten saying it was down to pressure from their company, while others admitted the pressure was self-inflicted. 53 per cent said that workload is the primary reason for working overtime.

What I’d like to know is do these workers ever consider all the time they waste on internet shopping, booking holidays, talking to their mums and friends, surfing social media, nipping out for an extra unscripted fag or loo break?

For me, it’s like those diet programmes you see on TV; people start off saying they don’t eat anything and can’t figure out why they’re still fat, and then the programme films them and they eat loads.

People think they’re working 50 hours, but if you filmed half of them, and subtracted all the personal stuff they do I reckon they’d be doing a whole lot less of this so-called ‘overtime’.

At Pimlico Plumbers we’ve banned personal Internet use and smartphones, and clamped down on people taking unscheduled breaks, and guess what? Yep, productivity went through the roof.

Don’t get me wrong, I ain’t running a prison camp.

And to those who want to accuse me of being some kind of monster employer, let me tell you that anybody who works overtime gets paid for every minute. I’m not kidding; we run an old fashion system here, but I believe it’s an honest one.

Everyone from me down has a clock card and they punch in and out, and pay is calculated accordingly. If anyone on my payroll puts in the time, then I’m happy to pay. That’s only fair.

Alongside that, everyone gets all the breaks they are supposed to – we insist on it as working too long without taking a break is unproductive and not good for people’s health.

I also have an onsite, subsidised canteen, with a chef and daily specials so people have access to good food and drinks throughout the day. We also have a chill out area with comfortable sofas and a big TV for staff to relax. As I’ve written here before we also have a professional massage therapist who comes into the business to offer a bit of relaxation in the workplace.

If a lot of other companies adopted a similar practice, maybe all these people who think they’re putting in 50 hours a week might realise that ten of them are spent checking Facebook, texting their friends and booking trips to Majorca for their families, and why should they get paid for that? 

And, not withstanding what I’ve said above, as far as I’m concerned if large corporates are genuinely expecting their workers to put in an extra day or more every week which they aren’t paying them for then they are a bunch of robbing criminals!

Charlie Mullins is CEO and founder of Pimlico Plumbers.

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