EDITORIAL: PR work culture in need of a makeover

The campaign launched this week by the TUC, highlighting the unpaid overtime done by people in various business sectors, is a stark illustration of one of the major issues facing agency and in-house employers alike.

The TUC has launched Work Your Proper Hours Day, with a league table showing which workers do the longest unpaid overtime, and nominating a day in the year when PROs (notionally) stop working for free. For PROs, it turns out, the date is this Saturday.

This campaign is a stroke of PR genius, since an organisation with as diverse a membership base as the TUC has the potential to generate coverage in outlets aimed at every sector. Above all, it is a reminder that the long-hours culture of PR is unhealthy for all involved. PROs are not at the top end of the over-working range (that dubious honour goes to corporate CEOs and top civil servants) but the average figure of an extra working day spread over the week tells its own story.

As our feature on the possible ending of the EU working time directive opt-out underlines, PR has never been a nine-to-five career. But talent, creativity and skill are more important as creators of value than hours worked, and it is incumbent on all PR bosses to recognise that.

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