ANALYSIS: BIG QUESTION; How will the 48-hour week affect you?

PR executives consider the implications of a punch-in, punch-out working week

PR executives consider the implications of a punch-in, punch-out working


Simon Lewis British Gas Energy

‘In PR it is not so much the number of hours as the unpredictability.

Journalists and politicians do not work the same hours as the business

community and so both ends of the day must be stretched. It is also

important to be flexible and to accept that certain periods demand

longer hours. Having said that, we also need to accommodate people who

do not want to work full-time, particularly woman returning to work

after having children.’

Kleshna Handel Handel Communications

‘I think it would affect me, my business, and everyone in PR, very

badly. Clients expect you to be open all hours and if you are not

available, because you have already worked a 48-hour week, you would go

out of business. I think it’s very unlikely that any of the body of

people who considered these regulations are in PR.’

Alan Watson Burson-Marsteller

‘I do think sometimes in PR we could work less and think a bit longer.

If the answer to competitiveness was to work longer, our economy would

be ahead of everybody else’s and it’s not. But it’s not about directives

it’s about self-discipline and how you run your own life. My basic

feeling about this directive is that its importance is grotesquely


Alastair Eperon Boots plc

‘It’s an irrelevance. Long hours are a feature of our industry sector.

When necessary, my staff willingly put in the time required. That said,

no one should be required to work at a pace that is damaging to their

health. People who go into PR understand that long and flexible hours

are endemic. If they do have a problem. they should go into another


Chris Matthews Shandwick Consultants

‘The public relations industry here, and to some extent in North

America, is much more professional than elsewhere. Part of that is that

we aim to give our clients round-the-clock service. If someone rings us

up at 5.30pm on a Friday, you can’t say ‘Sorry, I’ve just finished my

48-hour week’. The fact is that the media is a 24-hour operation,

everyone has deadlines and we get calls from all over the world. That

said, allowing your staff to work themselves into the ground would be

totally counter-productive. If things are getting out of hand, we do

intervene and make sure staff take a break. That’s my job.’

Edited by Steve Bevan

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