No Downtime for SA's Top Executives

Cape Times (South Africa), January 6, 2014 | Go to article overview

No Downtime for SA's Top Executives


The door to the C-Suite never closes and its occupants must be available virtually 24/7, top employers say.

In line with international trends, South Africa's senior executives are expected to be available around the clock, even on their days off or outside working hours, a survey by executive search firm Jack Hammer Executive Headhunters has found.

In the survey, the country's leading employers were asked five questions relating to executive accessibility.

The results show that although 24-hour access is not explicitly required in employment contracts or service agreements, it is implicitly expected by almost all the organisations.

Asked whether top executives were expected to be accessible after hours, 80 percent of companies responded with an unequivocal "Yes" or "Yes, of course".

Only two companies said "No", with the caveat "unless there is an emergency".

Asked whether senior managers were expected to be available to the business at weekends and on public holidays, 60 percent of companies said "Yes", with one company asserting that "senior executives should be available at all times".

The remaining respondents said top staff should be available in case of emergencies and that "although it is not a clear-cut expectation... it happens as part of everyone's normal work routine".

The executive search company's managing director, Debbie Goodman-Bhyat, said Jack Hammer had assessed a number of executive trends over the year. Among them was the expectation that executives and senior management should be accessible around the clock to employers, customers and clients.

"An interesting survey conducted by a US firm found that more than 80 percent of respondents continued to work after leaving the office, 69 percent could not go to bed without checking their inbox, and 38 percent routinely checked their work e-mails at the dinner table.

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