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Thursday, 13 July, 2000, 10:35 GMT 11:35 UK
Work hard, play optional
Vodafone Airtouch chief executive Chris Gent
Technology is said to be harming quality of life by making bosses available anytime, anywhere
The UK's business chiefs are among the hardest working in Europe, according to a survey.

The findings also show that the smaller the company, the longer the hours.


Creating a decent balance between work and personal life is getting harder to achieve

Magnus Nicolin, Esselte
British bosses apparently work on average 60 hours a week. Only German executives do more, at 70 hours a week.

The poll of 550 managers of small and medium sized businesses in the US and Europe was conducted by office equipment suppliers Esselte.

Grindstone

Almost half of those polled (42%) said that red tape, skills shortages and the pressure to succeed meant they were working harder than they had five years ago.

Among bosses leading companies with fewer than 10 staff, more than 60% said they worked in the evenings and at weekends.

The survey found that the younger the executive, the more likely they were to work in their own time, with 38% of 18 to 35-year-olds taking work home, compared with 26% of those over 56.

The amount of working now done at home is dramatically cutting down on leisure time, according to Esselte's executive vice president, Magnus Nicolin.

He said: "Creating a decent balance between work and personal life is getting harder to achieve because of the pressures placed on people by technology such as e-mail, Wap and so on.

"This results in people being - or expected to be - available any time and anywhere."

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