Being an electrician can be a very demanding job, with fixed deadlines and so many unknown variables the amount of hours we work as electricians can vary greatly from week to week.
The purpose of this article is to give budding sparkys an overview of how many hours electricians work. As with any career it is hard to generalise but there are definite patterns that I have encountered during my time on the tools.
Electricians typically work 37-40 hours a week. However, we often find that the job requires overtime to be worked, in order to meet tight deadlines. In these circumstances we may have to work 60-70 hours a week over the course of 7 days.
Full time electricians tend to have similar contracts, hours wise, to other careers – around 40 hours a week. However, many people do not realise that most electricians have to sacrifice their evenings or weekends at short notice in order to complete a job on time. (Electricians and weekend work conditions)
Below we will take a look art the typical working hours of electricians and explore the variety of electrician roles that have an impact on worked hours.
Do Electricians Work Monday To Friday?
The majority of electricians will work their contacted hours predominantly between Monday to Friday each week. However, with a greater focus on flexibility and meeting customer demands, the working week is changing for us.
Consumer demand and expectations are rapidly changing. We all want more choice and greater flexibility in all areas of our lives.
No longer are we prepared to wait until the shops open during the day, we now have access to 24 hour supermarkets and online shopping.
This culture shift has ensured that workers in all sectors have had to adapt to a more flexible business model. A career as an electrician is no exception and our working hours have come under similar pressure.
More and more electricians are willing to work evenings and weekends in order to accommodate customers. This shift in attitude builds momentum and customer expectations. If we are not prepared to be flexible, we can be certain our competitors will be.
As an electrician, the majority of my shifts have been Monday to Friday during the day. I have also worked many night shifts and weekends, some based on my agreement but others at the request of my employer.
Whilst some trades people get disgruntled by the flexibility we now need to show, it is a vital part of an electrician career that everyone considering the trade should be open minded about.
Do Electricians Work Overtime?
As an electrician I have often worked overtime. In some cases my motivation has been to earn extra money, whilst other times it has been so that I can enjoy time off at a later date. There are also occasions when it has simply been due to needing to get a job finished on time.
Deadlines are an important part of being an electrician. If we say we are going to deliver on a certain date then it is vital that we meet that commitment.
Maintaining a good reputation is not the only reason for this. Financial penalties within the building industry can be very severe.
There are often contracts, particularly on larger projects, that include penalty clauses that run into hundreds (or some times even thousands) of pounds per day for delays!
Needless to say the financial penalties and reputation damage caused by delays need to be avoided at all costs. In order to ensure we complete projects on time we may find ourselves working late into the night and at weekends.
This is not a common problem, we hope that the job is planned correctly and run smoothly so we don’t have this problem. Inevitably though, problems arise. Delays can happen through no fault of our own and we must just grin and bear it.
Generally, if you are hourly paid (as most electricians are) we get paid for the overtime that we work, often at a multiple of our usual hourly rate. We are also generally compensated for travel outside of normal working hours.
Although sacrificing our weekend in order to work can be disappointing, the extra pay goes a long way to making up for the disruption!
Do Electricians Work Shifts?
As electricians we are sometimes required to work on a shift pattern. This is usually when cover is needed at all times of the day and night, for example, as a maintenance electrician in a factory that operates 24 hours a day.
Factories will often have a team of maintenance personnel that include one or more electricians. If the factory is operating 24 hours a day then it is important that the maintenance personnel are present 24 hours a day to deal with any breakdowns.
It wouldn’t be very profitable if the factory had to stop work in the middle of the night and wait until the following morning for the electricians to turn up to fix the problem!
As well as 24 hour operating venues, sometimes we are asked to work night shifts in places which are closed.
If the electrical work we need to do is disruptive, we may have to work shifts in order to fit in around the customer’s needs.
A great example of this is testing the electrical safety of a business. The business does not want us electricians in there during the day, turning the power off and generally getting in the way whilst they are trying to work!
Instead the business would much prefer that we go in at night to work, after their customers and staff have gone home. The HSE is aware that shift work presents its own unique dangers so they issue guidance to help minimise the dangers.
Do Electricians Work A Lot Of Night Shifts?
Night shift working for electricians is far more common than people may realise. With a higher than ever emphasis placed on safety the decision is often taken to carry out works at night when the general public are safely out of the way.
Sometimes a job will last a long time and we find ourselves working night shifts for quite a while. I have personally spent 6 months working on one project during the hours of 8pm to 4am.
In my experience, some people really enjoy working nights whilst others hate it. I personally always struggle at night, I find my body clock does not take to the change very well!
The benefit to shift work is that similar to when we are asked to work weekends, being called in to work at unsociable hours often attracts an enhanced rate of pay.
Electricians are often paid a shift allowance in addition to their usual salary in order to make the idea of working varied shifts a little more appealing.
I’ve wrote a whole article regarding night shifts as it is an in depth topic in itself which is linked here.
To Sum Up
Many industries are moving away from the rigid Monday to Friday working routine and are expecting a more flexible approach from their employees.
Being an electrician is no exception. Whilst it’s fair to say that we spend the majority of our time working the usual office hours, anyone entering the trade must be willing to be flexible and make allowances from time to time.
The job role we pick can have a large bearing on how adaptable we must be. If we don’t want to work night shifts or weekends, then an honest discussion with potential employers saves a lot of hassle and wasted time in the long run.
As there are so many different roles available for electricians, finding the one that suits our personal goals and desired work/life balance can be easily achieved.