Can I leave at 6pm please? (I have a life)

Kim Simpson, 28 July 2012

Called by: Kim Simpson
Attended by: Sara Harrison, Agnieszka Shida, Janis Hart

We started by voicing a few concerns:

In the cultural sector we are often judged on, and in turn, hired as a result of, several criteria which include capability, understanding, capacity to learn and commitment. Commitment is often measured by how long we are willing to work, and how hard.

The expectation set by our colleagues (and probably by us too) is that passion and commitment equates to ‘extra work’ often for free.

This is the norm in our working environment in the cultural sector.

If we work for an organisation, we measure ourselves against each other, often leaving no room for varying working styles and schedules.

If we are freelance, there is a fear that if we don't commit to working extra, we are not committed. This is a scary thing when we are “only as good as our last job”!

We don't value our human resources.

We don't value ourselves and our own time.

If we don't become better at working to a normal timetable we stand to lose a great deal in terms of our creativity, wider experience, health and wellbeing and in turn, our ability to do a good job.

This is all accepted as normal when we are a collective, even though as individuals we know we need to take control and spend LESS time not working.

We have lives and should be free and encouraged to live them without this threatening how we are perceived in the workplace (whether your life involves children, hobbies, holidies, or more work!)

The arts should be spearheading innovative practice and acting as an example of what is possible. This issue is no different and yet in this area, technology and science are leading the way. There are even examples of healthier working environments in the commercial sector (yee gods!)
(google, itison both good examples).

The resources are not there to support us to do our jobs properly...BUT the resources will NEVER be there while we accept the current working environments.

From our conversations we realised that Scotland has a PARTICULARLY unhealthy approach to work.

We need to understand our rights and position as employees better. Download an equity contract which relates to your position (artist/tech/admin etc) as it offers

guidelines of what you should ask to be paid. Refer to it every time you accept work.

We must accept responsibility for our own working hours whilst empowering our sector and employers to take action on the current culture.

Lets use our energy more wisely, lets work less and do more. Lets examine the health and wellness of ourselves, our colleagues and our organisations.

What can we do?

Step one
Garner support for a ‘Work less, do more, day’ when we encourage everyone who wants to address the working hours issue will leave work at 5pm. We will get all of these people to share online what they spent their free time doing.

Step two
Plan projects taking better account of your human resources!

Step three
Employers - trust your employees! They know their responsibilities. No more raised eyebrows in the workplace, please :)


smart, finish, 6pm, extra, WORK, Work, work