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Weekend work piles up for execs

Executive stress
Executive stress ekes into weekends and destroys relationships, experts say  

LONDON, England (CNN) -- It is the weekend. But instead of relaxing with their families, top executives are spending hours hunched over their laptops working from home.

That is the conclusion from a study by Accountemps, a U.S. temporary work agency which specialises in financial staffing.

Researchers talked to 1,400 chief financial officers from companies all over the U.S. -- and the executives admitted that they work an average of eight hours each weekend.

A staggering 75 percent of CFOs surveyed said they spend at least some of their weekend fulfilling work duties.

"These days there is a huge demand on workers to perform better than before. To go the extra mile. And that means being prepared to go home with a bulging briefcase."
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Working weekends wrecks relationships

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And half of those questioned spend more than five hours pouring over their papers on Saturdays and Sundays.

Accountemps chairman Max Messmer said: "Technology is making it easier than ever for busy professionals to work around the clock.

"E-mail and remote access to company networks allow executives to remain in contact with the office from anywhere at any time."

But, Messmer added, "While a strong work ethic is certainly key to climbing the corporate ladder, allowing your job to monopolise too much of your personal and family time can lead to increased stress and risk of burnout."

His view was supported by Vanessa Lloyd Platt, a divorce lawyer and the author of the book Secrets of Relationship Success.

She told CNN's Richard Quest that relationship problems caused by executives taking work home with them are ones she encounters regularly among her clients.

"As a divorce lawyer I see this every day of the week. Women are complaining that they don't see their men any more.

"This is a particular problem when a woman has just had a baby. When they have been at home with the baby all day long they want their husbands to come home and be with them and talk to them and have adult conversation - and it is not happening.

"They are burying themselves in their work and their books.

She said contrary to what the survey says about less than half of executives taking work with them on holiday, she found this to be a major problem.

Executive stress
Happy people work better, divorce lawyer says  

"One of the biggest complaints I received last year was that men are spending half their holidays on their mobile phones and on their laptops which they take with them," she added.

She said that its not just men who take work home with them but women too. "Women are becoming what I call dragon women. They are being so overwhelming and overpowering it is coming into their relationship.

"My advice is, if you don't want to spend a lot of money on lawyers fees, you have got to set aside some time for yourself.

"Weekends have got to be sacrosanct and if they are not you are going to destroy your relationship.

"If it's negotiated that's fine. But it's not. Work is taking over all home life. It is interfering in arrangements and interfering in relationships with children.

"If a woman finds she is bringing the children up alone, almost as a single parent, it is going to cause a problem.

"There has got to be a balance in life. If there is too much work and no play it is going to get very boring."

And she said the ever-increasing threat of redundancy with the downturn in the economy is adding to the pressures on relationships.

She said; "It is no good being miserable all the time. If you are a more rounded person you will be happier and you will go further up the chain. Happy people work better."

That is a message that Neal Patterson, the CEO of U.S. a software company perhaps wishes he took on board before he dispatched an angry e-mail to his 400 staff.

Shares in his Cerner Corporation have slumped nearly 30 percent since he thumped out the threatening message, wiping $40 million of his own holding.

He accused them of being lazy, and told them "fix it or I will replace you."

He said the car park would be the barometer of hard work. It should be substantially full at seven-thirty each weekday morning and half full on Saturdays, he said.

The e-mail has now been circulated to tens of millions of people on the Internet, criticised in editorials throughout the U.S. and used in management schools as an example of how not to motivate staff.

Patterson said he now wishes he had not sent the e-mail.

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4:30pm ET, 4/16

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