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"Work less!" global companies tell top managers
March 20, 2007 - Chi-Won Yoon likes to leave his office by 6 pm - 7 pm at the latest.

A banker with Swiss investment bank UBS, his day is far from over, what with conference calls with London and New York that will keep him busy until midnight. But he wants to send a message to his staff that it's okay to go home.

For many managers at global companies, 70-hour weeks are becoming the norm. Yet their firms would rather they took Yoon's approach.

A global study in the Harvard Business Review showed more than 50 percent of male executives and more than 80 percent of women executives working 60 hours a week or more said they would not be able to keep it up for more than a year.

Women tend to quit such jobs after a few years, the study shows. Men often stay but more than 40 percent who worked those hours experienced "brown-out" within five years and had lost their creative zeal.

Globalization, instant communication and the huge financial rewards on offer in many top jobs are leading to "extreme" working hours, says Sylvia Ann Hewlett of the New York-based Center for Work-Life Policy and a co-author of the study.

"These factors are not going to change so companies will have to create alternative work models," Hewlett said. "But for nimble companies at the cutting edge there's an opportunity to hang on to talent if they allow breathers and restorative time."

Source: ""Work less!" global companies tell top managers", Reuters, March 20, 2007