A study has found that younger employees regularly stay late at work in order to improve job security, but believe that flexible working could hurt them in the long term.

The study, carried out by technology company Ricoh, has shown that just over two-thirds of employees who fall into the 18-26 age range have exaggerated their workload in the hope of getting praised by a manager. The study also shows that 41% of those who took part in the survey believe that management looks favourably upon those who are prepared to work more hours than are laid out in their contracts, and these employees regularly do so to impress.

The definition of “presenteeism” has changed over the last few years. It usually refers to the event of people going to work when they are ill because they are concerned about their job, but other factors are now part of the definition. These factors, which drive people into work when they are ill or have other problems, include worrying about unemployment, any economic uncertainty, and pressure from management; all of which help to create a culture of fear.

The report from the study is entitled Overhauling a culture of ‘presenteeism’ at work, and it shows that flexible working could be a solution that would suit many younger employees. However, 39% believe that spending time working away from the office could actually be damaging to their prospects, even though more and more organisations have the facility to accommodate flexible working.

A third of participants in the survey said that the Government should be doing more to encourage businesses to adopt flexible working solutions. Half of those who took part in the survey said that the Government should also be ensuring that businesses are clearer on the regulations regarding flexible working. Additionally, 39% of workers also want companies to have a better understanding on employee rights with regard to tech-enabled working solutions.

The chief executive of Ricoh UK and Ireland, Phil Keoghan, has said that companies are still promoting the idea that the more time spent at desks the better, rather than favouring the employees who produce the best work. However, it is legislation that employees have the right to request a flexible working system after they have been employed for 26 weeks. Many companies prefer not to promote this idea, as they would rather have employees in the office at their desks.

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