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What is the cause of long hours?

 
#1 What is the cause of long hours?
14/03/2006 22:02

PA-er

The consultancies' cultures?

Client expectations?

Our own perfectionism?

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#2 Re: What is the cause of long hours?
15/03/2006 07:27

Anastasia

PA-er i saw ur post lower in the page. Interesting questions indeed, glad u poped the topic.

(First sorry to everybody for my english, don't be very strict:)).

If i were to choose whose "fault" is it, the consultancies or the clients i d definitely say the consultancies. Even when clients put pressure on, we set the pace, the workhours, etc....

Now, we definitely don't refer to the causes in times of projects delivered, we refer to an average day to day client. The causes for me may be, from the top of my head,:

1. As u said projects undersold,(obvious cause, should be a new topic on its own, needs attention, at the end of the day it reflects the profile and culture of the consultancy firm),

2. The nature of our job, meaning many tasks involved like communicating, meetings,technical-purely operational work, etc. Add to this the time for u for "research"- (find out and acknolwedge the crucial-sometimes not obvious- points, plan, ask around, "research" around, add ur value to them, all that mind work) in every project.

3. Most important, common "trap", is to be involved when u shouldn't. Mostly u re paid to consult the firm not do the "project management"-unless u re hired additionally for it. Of course u ll help the client but in general u don't do his tasks, for example doing his "communication", etc things, instead of him.

ps just to Pa-er: Consumming time to apologize for the clients staff, was a wrong dealing of the project. (purely on a constructive note:))

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#3 Re: What is the cause of long hours?
15/03/2006 09:02

barry

You would not find a lawyer working extra hours for free. Every minute spent on a client is charged to the client. This means the client values the time. On my last visit to a lawyer she offered me a coffee and I declined because I knew her time was expensive.

On the other hand clients ask consultants to attend a meeting that starts at 6pm on a Friday; or to finish off some work at 8pm before heading up to Manchester; or to take a 6am flight out and a 11pm flight back rather than spreading it over two days. If you charge by the day then the client wants his 24 hours.

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#4 What is the working time culture at PA?
15/03/2006 09:19

PA-offer-girl

Hi PA-er - sorry to change the topic of this thread slightly.

I've got an offer to join PA's project management practice in London, and since I am weighing this up against offers elsewhere I'd really appreciate an insider's view of the working hours culture at PA. Is there a 'face time' situation, or can you leave when the work is done?

Thanks

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#5 Re: What is the working time culture any place
15/03/2006 09:29

Atos employee

My experience is that every consultancy works on this basis. You are charged out on a daily rate, and the client expects you to be there for a full day. If you finish your work early and leave, this is likely to irk them.

Irrespective of how efficient you are, they are likely to feel short changed. The client may suspect that the job has been overstaffed.

If you want to join any consultancy, expect the client facing day to be 8 –6 minimum.

If you’re not happy with this, try the civil service

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#6 Re: What is the working time culture any place
15/03/2006 16:18

fanny adams

The only way to keep the hours sensible is to manage your project effectively. If you can do that there is no reason for you to work ridiculous hours.

8-6 is about right if your half decent at managing projects, clients and the work you need to complete in order to reach the quality you expect.

If you find yourself working longer, you need to consider the possibility that you have been oversold, or that you arent managing that project workload well.

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#7 Re: What is the working time culture any place
15/03/2006 17:17

anon

Is this based on your personal experience and if so then please advise which consultancies you have experienced this in action?

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#8 Re: What is the working time culture any place
16/03/2006 09:26

fanny adams

surely thats how everyone works?!

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#9 Re: What is the working time culture any place
16/03/2006 10:00

anon

I agree that in an ideal world the person who manages their time effectively and hence finishes early would go home early. From other posts on this topic this is not how it works in practice. There can be huge pressure from the consultancy, client or specific managers to make you put in the hours regardless of output.

Would be interested to know if you personally have experience of consultancies that value output more than input? And if so then which?

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#10 Re: What is the working time culture any place
16/03/2006 10:34

fanny adams

if you are working for a company that sells you per hour then fine....stay late. Run up some billing. All good stuff.

If the client is happy for you to work up a bill do it.

The projects i run have specified objectives and targets which i have agreed with my client in advance. I deliver that product / service / objective no matter what. If i have sold the project long i will end up working late. But if i havent and i am capable of managing my time and the project effectively there is no need to stay late. And the client will be happy because the objective is met.

Output is not irrelevant, and neither is input. But i think we need to focus more on the deliverable rather than how long we need to stay in the office to impress the client. If the client is managed correctly he / she wont care, aslong as we meet the objective

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#11 Re: What is the working time culture any place
16/03/2006 11:49

Anastasia

The same conditions with funny adams exist in my case too.

Although i ve worked in projects where the charges are per day in clients site, where definitely u are available 24 hours a day, 90% of the projects i am working at are charged by objectives met. The contract we sign with the client defines the objectives and targets that should be met, the work to be done,(and definitely there is a time frame) but the charges are after each target is delivered. In that case we definitely set the hours and days we work ("we are free-scheduled as long as the work is done"). And in that case the only thing that will define the hours worked in indeed the management (of personell, time, client, and 3rd parties (external associates of the client)).

A

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#12 Re: What is the working time culture any place
16/03/2006 11:56

Fanny Adams

Hurrah!

Someone speaks my language. Manage your client, manage your work, and dont work all the hours god sends. Simple.

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#13 Re: What is the working time culture any place
16/03/2006 12:13

Anastasia

Fanny adams, may be this is simple for us in our case given our working environment. For others the case may be different and a different approach is needed.(we are open to opinions anyway:)).

Regarding my case as i said above in this post the management of parts of the project that has to do with in-house (the consultant) is usually the easy part. The thing that needs attendion is the mgt of outer parts (client, 3rd parties, unexpected outer parts). These for me maybe proven more time-consuming. It needs diplomacy and as i said, definitely to be next to the client, but never do or be involved to things u shouldn't to. Do things for others but NOT INSTEAD of others (when not signed of course).

A

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#14 Re: What is the working time culture any place
16/03/2006 14:44

PA-er

Interesting that you find it so simple... I'd be interested to know what sector your clients are in. Mine are all FS, and long hours really are part of the culture, especially when you're working internationally- you're expected to be around as late as possible in the UK so you can do some work with the US etc... and while they are obsessed with outputs, they do demand face-time too- and get very aggreessive when they feel they aren't getting it.

Anastasia- completely agree with you, I didn't do the right thing running round apologising for the client- but faced with a tight deadline and a bunch of offended people I needed to placate to meet it, I took the short term view. I know, not perfect...

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#15 Re: What is the working time culture any place
17/03/2006 11:57

Anastasia

Pa-er, i hope i wasn't misunderstood, i said that my case as fanny adams' is simply to identify the cause of the long hours. Regarding the relevance of the client to our time: Mostly the the cause of long hours, in my opinion, has to do with the way the work is agreed to be done,(and our firm philoshophy of working) and less with the client. I ve worked with all sized-firms, and the type of the deal defines the type of work. (Definiltely face -time is always demanded and definitely when u work at client's site u mostly happen to work more).

My opinion was purely based on my experience and mostly my environment. I am mostly in favour that there is definitely not a panacea....Whoever turns his/her experience to absolute rules that fit in every case is definitely out of the game....Our greatest assets (and difficulties as well) should be the open mind and the ability to adjust in any case.....This is the speciality (and difficulty) of our job and this is why we should be paid more...9than others)

A

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